Disney Being Sued for Fire Code Violation, Misogynistic Comments, and More in Construction Lawsuit Over Ongoing Saratoga Springs Resort Remodeling Project
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa has been undergoing an extensive remodeling project, and while work continues at the resort, a new lawsuit has surfaced shedding light on internal issues between Disney Vacation Club and Validus Construction Services, the contractor initially hired for the project.
Validus Construction Services owner Nicole Wickens has filed a lawsuit against Disney Vacation Club Management, citing unspecified damages for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation.
Validus, which has worked on other remodeling projects across Walt Disney World Resort, including the cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, was hired to oversee the Saratoga Springs project, which was set to begin in April 2019 and finish in November. However, a fire code violation was found, leading to major construction delays and inflated costs. The renovation was budgeted at 48 million dollars. According to the lawsuit, the fire code violation had been in place “for more than 15 years without having previously been corrected by Disney.” Rooms lacked proper fire protection in the cavities between floors, requiring numerous walls to be removed in order to make the necessary repairs. Disney denied extension requests so that the renovation would stay on schedule.
Disney eventually terminated the Validus contract without cause this past April, handing over the project to a Validus subcontractor for $13 million more than the original Validus deal.
However the issues go far beyond mere construction, as Validus Construction owner Nicole Wickens is also accusing Disney’s construction team of making misogynistic comments and belittling her with memes. Disney’s project manager, John Gavin, is accused of referring to Wickens as a “fat b—-“, among other instances of verbal harassment. Instances of the construction team texting her pictures of hot sauce packets to emphasize that Disney would “put the heat on Validus” are also cited in the lawsuit.
Disney honored Wickens during its 2019 International Women’s Day Conference. A meeting was called this past February to discuss Gavin’s behavior, however Disney did not respond with comment on the lawsuit when prompted by the Sentinel.