Nizar Katbi, founder and president of FTR, defended his company's performance.
In an interview, he
met its obligations even though architectural plans were often vague and energy-conservation features posed difficult challenges.
"Every problem brought to our attention has been addressed and taken care of," Katbi
became embroiled in a dispute with an inspector who had documented numerous flaws, Eisenberg urged subordinates to consider transferring the inspector, records show.
Two years after construction began, and after inspectors and architects had cited the company for hundreds of instances of substandard work, Sohn sent Katbi
a letter thanking FTR for a "job well done.
Katbi, a Syrian immigrant, founded the company in 1984 after earning a master's degree in engineering at the University of Iowa.
Since then, FTR
has built school buildings, police stations and athletic facilities across Southern California.
But Payinda's frequent citations angered Katbi
, who regarded him as a nitpicker.
In a letter to one of the district's top construction supervisors, Katbi accused the inspector of "sabotaging the job and causing unnecessary cost and delays for the college."
took his case to Eisenberg and Sohn, who favored a gentler approach.
The district had paid a law firm nearly $18,000 to document FTR's
alleged deficiencies, but Eisenberg joined Katbi
in arguing that a lawsuit would be a waste of money.
"We understand that LACCD has an army of lawyers as you have indicated in our meeting," Katbi
told Sohn in an August 2007 letter.
asked project managers to stop the inspector's "harassment.
also complained that the architects who designed the complex were taking too long to respond to requests for design clarifications.
The latest delays, Katbi
wrote, were not FTR's
fault, and the contractor needed money.
While the inspector and architects cranked out reports demanding repairs, Sohn sent Katbi
the admiring letter that FTR
posted on its website.
blamed the latest delays on the district's change in its choice of carpeting and its slow pace in resolving troubles with water and gas lines, among other things.
"The settlement agreement does not require FTR
to perform miracles," he
"Your firm is not close to finishing the project," construction manager Jim Rogers of URS told Katbi in response to the contractor's latest request for money.