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Cullen reaches settlement over Milwaukee City Hall facade work

Janesville-based J.P. Cullen & Sons Inc. signed a settlement deal Friday with the city of Milwaukee over facade work on City Hall.

After approval from the Milwaukee Common Council and mayor, the city attorney’s office offered Cullen a settlement deal that includes a contract for the company to repair City Hall’s damaged façade.

Under the settlement, city attorneys will drop a lawsuit against Cullen, its subcontractors and suppliers for their work on the façade of City Hall from 2005 to 2008.

The charges against the design team, which includes Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger; Massachusetts; Bloom Cos. LLC, Milwaukee; and Engberg Anderson Inc., Milwaukee; still stand.

In exchange for the lawsuit being dropped, Cullen will be the general contractor in charge of repairing the damaged façade. It will perform the repairs for $6.7 million, less than half the estimated $14.6 million cost of the repairs.

Diana Pisciotta, a spokesperson for Simpson Gumpertz & Heger, said the company has filed a motion for a change of venue, but had no comment on that or the settlement.

Miriam Horwitz, Milwaukee assistant city attorney, said the request cited “pre-trial publication.” The company wants the trial moved to Waukesha County, she said. The request is awaiting a judge’s approval, and the city opposes it, Horwitz said.

Bloom and Engberg representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The city will now ask a judge dismiss Cullen from the lawsuit, which included it as contractors and the façade design team.

Pending the approval of a judge and the other defendants, the settlement will be final.

According to a news release from Cullen, the work will start in early 2014 and will use a different method of attaching the terra cotta units that cracked and fell from the façade in 2011, leading to the lawsuit.

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