Disney and ex-contractor for Saratoga Springs Resort ready for showdown

Orlando, Florida, USA - February 9, 2022:  A Walt Disney World entrance arch gate in Orlando, Florida, USA. Walt Disney World is an entertainment resort complex.
“Trial is always a tough fight."

Disney and its former general contractor for a Walt Disney World hotel renovation are ready to go to a head-to-head trial this month in what’s been a nasty, drawn-out legal fight.

The battle pits a multi-billion dollar entertainment company versus a small, locally and female-owned business.

A trial date is tentatively scheduled for April 22 over the ill-fated construction at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort after the two sides attended a recent hearing in Orange Circuit Court.

Winter Haven-based Validus Construction Services sued Disney first in 2020 then Disney countersued six weeks later with about a half-dozen subcontractors who didn’t get paid also suing Validus.

The heart of the case is a contract dispute with both sides accusing the other of breach of contract.

The fallout between the two began when Disney hired Validus to renovate the Disney Vacation Club resort’s rooms and bathrooms for a $48 million project in 2019. Validus said a fire code violation caused major delays as it was supposed to be renovating 1,260 hotel rooms.

​​“The project which should have netted Validus millions of dollars in construction management profits, deteriorated into a dysfunctional construction mess brought about by a multitude of contract breaches by Disney, which fatally interfered with the project,” Validus said in the 2020 lawsuit.

By the end, Disney fired Validus and hired one of the subcontractors to finish the job on the Victorian style hotel.

“There were issues that were uncovered, but kind of the simple way to think about it was that Disney asked for work that they were not willing to pay for,” said Validus’ attorney Thomas Allison on Friday. “They wanted the rooms to be completed in such a way and then the scope changed … Disney was not willing to pay for that work, and it caused trouble for my client, a small business.”

Disney’s attorney John Dannecker did not return a message for comment this week.

In her lawsuit, Validus owner Nicole Wickens also accused Disney’s construction team of making sexist comments and sending her a text of a hot sauce packet as a message: Disney was putting the heat on her.

Meanwhile, Disney countersued Validus, accusing its ex-general contractor of failing to deliver on the work and doing a poor job. Disney sent Validus 23 deficiency notices, according to the counterclaim.

“Despite Disney’s notice and demands, Validus failed to cure these defaults,” Disney’s lawsuit said.

Heading into the two-week bench trial in front of Judge John E. Jordan, Disney said it could call nearly 90 witnesses including Wickens, Disney executives, former Validus employees, subcontractors and others.

“Trial is always a tough fight,” Allison said. “You’re putting the case and the claims in the hands, in our case, the judge. You hope for the best outcome.”

He added Wickens is eager to end the litigation after four years.

“This dispute is existential for our client who is a small general contractor who was doing their best,” Allison said.

Gabrielle Russon

Gabrielle Russon is an award-winning journalist based in Orlando. She covered the business of theme parks for the Orlando Sentinel. Her previous newspaper stops include the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Toledo Blade, Kalamazoo Gazette and Elkhart Truth as well as an internship covering the nation’s capital for the Chicago Tribune. For fun, she runs marathons. She gets her training from chasing a toddler around. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter @GabrielleRusson .



    April 13, 2024 at 8:37 am

    Good Morn ‘Ting America,
    I, Earl Pitts American, advised this “Female Owned Business” to get her case in court ASAP due to the July Release of EVERYONE on The Epstein Pleasure (Pervert) Island list.
    While I, Earl Pitts American, can not confirm or deny who is or is not on The List. I did inform the Female Owned Business that there may not be any money left in the “BIG “D’s” bank accounts if she drags her feet and gets her case in line AFTER the Perve List Release in early July.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “EARL DONT LIKE PERVES” American

    • S. Wabbit

      April 13, 2024 at 12:26 pm



        April 13, 2024 at 12:31 pm

        Earl’s just a bit pervey for The Wabbit.
        Lovr, Earl

    • rick whitaker

      April 15, 2024 at 6:31 am

      EARL, if there is a perv list out there, you earl are on it. this feigned disgust on your part is to hide your own record, we all know this about you earl. you are hated and despised. you got what you want, fame, but for being a slimeball, not glory.

Comments are closed.


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