Shreveport steel mill subcontractors file liens for unpaid work

Shreveport steel mill subcontractors file liens for unpaid work

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - Documents filed by several contractors claim they have not been paid up to millions of dollars for work they've done to help build the massive Benteler Steel and tube plant in Shreveport.

Nearly 25 liens have been filed by contractors, claiming they haven't received payment for their work. But a spokesman with Benteler says whatever the problem is, it isn't starting with them.

The $975 million Benteler Steel and tube mill is now open for business with 315 employees. Construction wrapped this summer, but some contractors like Eric Odom say they are still waiting to get paid.

"I'm not stirring the pot, I'm just trying to get what's mine," said Odom.

He said his business received payments for their work regularly until May.

"Everything was going fairly well then it was like someone turned the faucet, it just quit," said Odom and explained his company is owed $189,000.

"That is a considerable amount of money that has pushed me behind," said Odom.

Turns out, Odom isn't the only one having issues. During a visit to the Caddo Clerk of Court's record room, KSLA News 12 uncovered nearly 25 liens filed by contractors who claim they haven't been paid for their work on the mill either.

Some of the money owed runs up into the millions.

"It comes down to protecting yourself, you have no choice, you try everything before that, it's a last resort," explained Odom.

KSLA News 12 reached out to Benteler Steel about the payment problems. Spokesman John Kyle said Benteler Steel is only listed on the liens because they're the property owner. He said their company has paid or are negotiating to pay all of the contractors they work with directly and any issues are between the contractors and sub-contractors.

In the meantime, for Odom, the payment issues are hurting his business and the others waiting for their money.

"You are trying to get your bills paid and you're not getting paid," said Odom.

KSLA News 12 did reach out to one of the main general contractors, Walbridge Company, who is named in a majority of the liens.

We asked for a comment about the payment problems from Walbridge Company, and here's what they told us:

"We are not at liberty to discuss the project due to our confidentiality obligations to Benteler and refer you to the Benteler organization for further information."

There are also two lawsuits pending from contractors wanting their money from this project.

A Benteler Steel spokesman said the steel mill won't be complete until they finish phase 2 of the project, which includes building a furnace that will allow them to produce steel on site. For now, they are shipping in material to produce the steel tubes.

Construction for that phase will happen within the next 4 years.

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