KETCHUM, Idaho A protracted fight between Tom Hanks and a contractor who built the Hollywood actor's sprawling compound north of this Idaho resort has gone to court, with the star of "Charlie Wilson's War" claiming $2.5 million in poor construction and the builder countering Hanks is just out for revenge.
A previous conflict over what's believed to be one of the largest home complexes in the tony Sun Valley area was resolved in January 2004. That's when Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, paid Storey Construction Inc. $1.85 million for their contract balance, interest and legal fees, according to court documents that outline a portion of the dispute.
In this latest development, Hanks and Wilson on Nov. 12 filed a request for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. In it, they claim Storey's work, starting in 2001 on the couple's 11-acre home, tennis court, swimming pool and three surrounding guest cottages, was undermined by "defective construction and/or design."
Just over a month later, on Dec. 21, Storey countered with a lawsuit in 5th District Court in Idaho asking a judge to end Hanks' arbitration.
Hanks and Wilson "abused the arbitration process by using the process to seek revenge" over the settlement in the earlier arbitration, according to court documents.
Storey's lawsuit also provides details of a previous 2003 arbitration hearing, describing how
Wilson during cross-examination "leaped from the witness stand and started screaming hysterically."
"Rita Wilson then started to exit the hearing room at which point she stopped and screamed some more, this time even more hysterically," according to the documents. "Rita Wilson then stormed out of the hearing room."
Hanks and Wilson's arbitration filing contends their home had faulty snow dams, roof failures, improper roof ventilation, improper chimney ventilation, underground water leakage, surface drainage problems, improper structural connections and shear wall failures.
"This arbitration has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on any prior legal actions and is a totally separate issue," Leslee Dart, a spokeswoman for Hanks and Wilson in New York, told the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper. "For anyone to call this 'revenge' is inaccurate and scurrilous. Tom and Rita, like anyone in this position, are simply trying to recoup substantial expenditures caused by substandard workmanship."
Storey contends that Hanks' and Wilson's use of the arbitration process could damage the reputation of the contractor and its subcontractors who worked on the home.
It wants a civil trial to win compensation from the couple.
Miles Stanislaw, a Seattle-based attorney who represents Storey, said the construction company was shocked when it learned of Hanks' request for arbitration in November. The first case was dismissed and this latest one should get the same treatment, Stanislaw said.
"There's nothing to arbitrate," he said.