LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Being billed as the largest sphere in the world, MSG Sphere is expected to open in late September with band U2 as its first act. Yet, two construction companies have filed lawsuits claiming they aren’t being paid for work done on the more than $2 billion venue.
Both lawsuits shed light on problems during MSG Sphere’s construction. One lawsuit filed by Rider Levett Bucknall in September of 2021 claims it’s owed $3.1 million.
In arguments before District Court Judge Nancy Allf, attorneys for Rider Levett said, “This project is the brainchild of Jim Dolan.”
James Dolan is the chief executive officer of MSG, which owns the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, and Madison Square Garden. 8 News Now obtained a court transcript from a hearing that took place in January of 2023 between attorneys for MSG and Rider Levett Bucknall.
Rider Levett’s lawyers told Judge Allf they blame James Dolan for not getting paid, saying “Mr. Dolan was critically involved in the payment of everyone, most importantly, Rider Levett, my client. And he absolutely was involved in stopping the payments to my client.”
Moreover, they stated to Judge Allf where the issue stems from:
“There was supposed to be the world’s longest bar in this project. And they built it and then he came through and deleted it and wanted to take it out. He increased the project cost. Mr. Dolan’s decision against advice increased the project cost and now he’s blaming us for increasing the project costs.”
MSG’s attorney responded to those claims in court saying there’s no proof Dolan had knowledge.
“None of those documents lead to the conclusion that it is Mr. Dolan who has this unique, personal knowledge that can’t be obtained through other people,” MSG’s attorney said.
Lawyers for both Rider Levett and MSG are scheduled to be in court next week on June 13th.
In its most recent financial earnings report, MSG shows it has paid $2 billion in construction costs already, and the project is expected to cost the company $2.3 billion.
Sphere Entertainment, a subsidiary of MSG, sent 8 News Now a statement that reads, “This story has no merit. The filings clearly show RIB was fired for cause, and neither MSG nor Sphere are named parties in the Harris Rebar complaint.”
Another lawsuit submitted in December of 2020 from the contractor Harris Rebar claims it’s owed $3.3 million for work it did on the MSG Sphere.
That suit is against the former general contractor working at the sphere. Yet, records show the outstanding amount due to Harris Rebar may be less as it filed a lien in February of 2023, claiming it’s owed nearly $2 million after the developer made some payments.