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One of Boston’s most prominent, Black-owned construction companies has accused a well-known affordable housing developer of unfairly dismissing it from a public housing renovation project in Boston.

John B. Cruz Construction Co. filed suit against Boston-based Beacon Communities in Suffolk Superior Court Wednesday, asking for unspecified damages.

In court filings, Cruz’s attorneys claim that Beacon had hired Cruz as the general contractor for the first phase of a two-phase renovation of the Boston Housing Authority’s Lenox/Camden Apartments complex, located just off Massachusetts Avenue in Lower Roxbury. Beacon also allegedly promised it would hire Cruz for the second, much larger portion of the combined 367-unit project, the lawsuit claims, with BHA and city of Boston officials allegedly pressuring Beacon to hire a 100 percent Black-owned construction firm for the job.

But Beacon staff, the lawsuit claims, “made it clear that Beacon resented Cruz’s involvement and was unhappy at having been – from Beacon’s perspective – pressured to include a minority-owned business as a member of the Project Team.”

The suit alleges that Beacon forced Cruz to hire a white consultant to rectify unspecified “communication issues” between the two companies, and “falsley accused Cruz of wrongdoing, blamed Cruz regarding matters for which Cruz was not at fault” and accused a Cruz staffer working on the project of “being a thief” and called another “a fucking wormy bastard,” treatment the lawsuit claims was not given to workers at white-owned companies on the Lenox/Camden renovations.

Following these alleged incidents, the lawsuit says Beacon’s then-CEO Pam Goodman removed Cruz from the Lenox/Camden project’s general contractor role in September 2019 and barred it from working on any aspect of the project, allegedly without justification, and hired a white-owned construction company to replace Cruz despite what the lawsuit claims was Cruz’s “successful” completion of its general contractor responsibilities on the Lenox/Camden project’s 72-unit first phase.

The Cruz lawsuit claims the company was “wrongly deprived” of the ability to bid on the Lenox/Camden project’s second phase and was not paid for the general contractor work it provided during planning for the second phase as it was working on the project’s first phase.

In a statement provided to Banker & Tradesman, Beacon Communities denied Cruz’s allegations.

“Beacon Communities’ long history serving diverse communities and working with diverse businesses speaks for itself.  The record will show that the allegations brought by Cruz Construction have no basis in fact,” Beacon CEO Dara Kovel said.

Cruz Construction Sues Beacon Communities Alleging Racist Treatment

by James Sanna time to read: 2 min