Legal dispute over $1.2M job at Bert Ogden Arena

Guests gather for a ribbon cutting to open Bert Ogden Arena on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018, in Edinburg. (The Monitor)

McALLEN — Attorneys for Panasonic filed a petition in federal court here last week asking a judge to appoint an arbitrator to resolve a payment dispute between the media entertainment company and Alonzo Cantu Construction Inc. regarding Bert Ogden Arena.

The Feb. 26 petition alleges the construction company “failed to pay for substantial work performed on the construction of” the arena in the amount of $1.2 million.

Opened in August 2018, Bert Ogden Arena was borne of a public-private partnership between the city of Edinburg and Viper Arena LLC, which is owned by local businessman and Cantu Construction owner, Alonzo Cantu, the arena’s contractor. The project’s cost: $88 million.

Neither attorneys for Panasonic or Cantu Construction were able to provide comment at this time.

Cantu Construction had yet to file a response to Panasonic’s filing as of Thursday.

The construction company subcontracted with Panasonic in November 2017 to “furnish the labor, materials and equipment necessary” to install the arena’s audio and video components and the exterior marquee, according to the complaint. Panasonic sent the company an invoice for $1.2 million in September 2018 to cover the remaining balance of the approximately $2.9 million scope of work.

“Cantu failed and refused and continues to fail and refuse to tender the remaining balance to Panasonic,” the complaint alleges, noting both companies have attempted to resolve the payment disagreement “informally through direct discussions” with and without attorneys.

If a disagreement cannot be resolved through direct discussions or mediation, the companies are contractually obligated to enter in arbitration. As the contract does not address the appointment of an arbitrator, Panasonic is asking a federal judge to appoint a third party to hear evidence from both sides and make a decision.

The attorneys for both parties are scheduled to appear in court May 8 for an initial pretrial and scheduling conference, according to the federal docket.

Federal court records indicate this is the only federal complaint filed against Cantu Construction regarding Bert Ogden Arena.