Big job at air base didn't soar for Pittsfield plumbers

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PITTSFIELD — A Pittsfield company in business for half a century is fighting to be paid for helping to build a hangar at Westover Air Force Base, arguing in federal court that it has been stiffed by a general contractor.

In a filing in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Pittsfield Pipers Inc. wants more than $1.3 million from a foreign company that has been awarded at least $92 million in Pentagon contracts since 2005.

The company, Kallidus Technologies Inc., has not yet responded to the civil lawsuit. Its attorney, Jeff D. Bernarducci of Boston, has until Nov. 27 to answer the Pittsfield Pipers complaint, filed by David E. Valicenti of the firm Cohen Kinne Valicenti Cook.

In a filing Oct. 26, Bernarducci said "direct discussions" to settle the dispute have come up short. He could not be reached for comment.

Valicenti said Friday the case is moving forward.

"Kallidus's actions were unfair, deceptive, willful, and in violation of laws and regulations," Valicenti said in the suit.

The company in question is owned by Divyana Patel, according to records kept in the corporations division of the Secretary of State's Office. Patel lives in Sunnyvale, Calif., but maintains an office in Lowell.

A federal database that tracks Pentagon spending lists Kallidus as a Asian-American business, entitling it to special status as a contractor.

On Feb. 20, 2015, in an internet bidding process, Kallidus landed a $7,487,000 "firm fixed-price" contract to build a hangar at Westover, paid for out of Army allocations.

Pittsfield Pipers won a subcontract that May to handle plumbing, as well as heating, ventilation and air conditioning work. But according to its complaint, the company wasn't paid in full for its work at the air base in Chicopee.

Further, the company alleges in its suit that the Army put Kallidus on notice for making false statements in connection with the hangar project, in claiming that it had paid the Pittsfield subcontractor.

The suit also claims Kallidus obtained added payments from the Army without honoring its contract with the Pittsfield company.

"Kallidus has not paid PPI in full and has unlawfully held payments it has received," the suit says. "Kallidus made false statements and certifications to [the Army] to obtain additional payments. Those false statements and payments included that subcontractors like PPI had been paid in full."

Pittsfield Pipers first registered as a Massachusetts corporation in 1969. Its current officers include city residents Floyd Passardi, its chief executive officer, and Jeffrey Hassett, its president. Board members include Heidi Gralla, of Worthington, and Michael Passardi, of Lanesborough.

The hangar project was handled by an office of the Army Corps of Engineers in Louisville, Ky.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-496-6214.


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