German Engineering Company Seele Inc. Files $6.9 Million Suit Against Eli Broad

The fallout over construction delays still haunts The Broad.

Eli Broad.
Photo: patrickmcmullan.com
The Broad. Photo: Iwan Baan.

The Broad.
Photo: Iwan Baan.

The Broad may have recently opened its doors in Los Angeles, showcasing the impressive art collection of mega-philanthropist and art collecting power couple Eli and Edythe Broad, but the institution remains embroiled in legal disputes. A German engineering company is moving to foreclose on the museum because of $6.9 million in outstanding fees, according to Curbed Los Angeles.

This is just the latest sally in the ongoing conflict between Broad and Seele Inc. This past summer, Broad sued Seele for $19.8 million over construction issues that delayed the museum’s opening date to September 20, 2015.

The trouble stemmed from the museum’s unusual cheese grater-esque facade, which Seele Inc. was hired to design and construct, with an original contract for $29.3 million, according to court documents. Broad’s lawsuit claimed that in 2011 “Seele represented that, if hired, Seele would deliver a product that was not ‘mere Tiffany’ but ‘Cartier’ quality.”

Eli Broad. Photo: patrickmcmullan.com

Eli Broad.
Photo: patrickmcmullan.com

However, difficulties soon arose with the planned design. The fiber-reinforced concrete veil, facade, and curtain wall in the original vision turned out to be cost-prohibitive. Seele completed the project in steel and glass-fiber instead, after considerable delay, for a final cost of $34.8 million.

The company is now seeking to recoup $6.9 million in expenses from the Broad Collection. Broad’s original case against the German company is still pending in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The restaurant is adjacent to the Broad museum. Photo: Cheryl A. Guerrero via Los Angeles Times

The Broad museum.
Photo: Cheryl A. Guerrero via Los Angeles Times

In total, construction costs for the Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed building topped out at $140 million.

Despite lingering legal troubles, the museum is already being counted among the country’s top private contemporary art museums. The Broad opened this past month to lavish festivities, widely documented on social media and attended by such bold-faced names as Owen Wilson, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, and painter Julian Schnabel.


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