Freight House contractor indicted by Grand Jury

THE FREIGHT HOUSE on Moultonville Road is 99 percent complete, according to Public Works Director Brad Harriman. (Mellisa Seamans photo) (click for larger version)
November 14, 2013
OSSIPEE — An Ossipee contractor has been indicted, charged with pocketing money that should have been paid to subcontractors or vendors. Peter Lievi, 56, was indicted by Carroll County Grand Jury Nov. 1 on six counts of theft by unauthorized taking in connection with his contract to renovate the Town of Ossipee-owned Freight House on Moultonville Road.

Back in July 2012, Lievi's bid was the lowest of five received by selectmen. His bid came in at $216,262 and he promised to have the building renovated and open for business within 100 days. The bid amount came in above the amount voters had approved for the project so the board was able to make some cuts to the project and negotiate a contract with Lievi for $189,000.

Over the course of a year, as reported previously in this newspaper, the project stalled several times, with selectmen growing increasingly frustrated that, at times, there was no work being done at the building and Lievi had been unreachable. The board finally made the decision to fire Lievi from the project. And though he reportedly was paid nearly all of the $189,000 in his contract, he allegedly had not been paying the subcontractors who came to the town asking to be paid.

Rather than re-bid the remaining work to be done on the project, selectmen opted to have subcontractors and employees of the Town's public works department finish the project under the oversight of Ossipee Public Works Director Brad Harriman.

Selectmen have not released the total amount of money this project has cost, only to say it will cost more than the contract price but that they were able to move money from other budget lines to cover the overages. A right-to-know request has been sent to the selectmen's office seeking a full accounting of the Freight House project.

Carroll County Grand Jury agreed that sufficient evidence had been presented for them to reach an agreement to indict Lievi on six counts of theft by unauthorized taking. He is accused of allegedly pocketing money that should have been paid to subcontractors during the period of July 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013. The indictments do not give the exact dollar amount allegedly owed to these contractors but these are felony-level charges, with the total amount owed in excess of $8,500.

The affected contractors are Thursty Water Systems, Ultra Seal Insulation Company LLC, Fred E. Varney Company Inc., John Pratt Company, Winnepesaukee Lumber Company, and Knight Security Alarm Company.

According to Harriman, as of Nov. 12 the Freight House project is 99 percent complete with spray foam insulation in the floors and skirting around the outside of the building yet to be done.

The records of the planning and zoning boards as well as the conservation commission and all related files and office equipment have been moved out of the second floor of the town hall and into the Freight House. Meetings of these boards as well as the town's budget committee are now being held there.

Lievi is set to be arraigned in Third Circuit Court in Ossipee Nov. 20 at 8:45 a.m.

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