Meeting in closed session on Thursday, the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority board agreed to pay a settlement to resolve a long-running dispute with the rail project's contractor.

Sources said the board agreed to pay something in the range of $25-30 million to the Flatiron/Fluor/Parsons joint venture to compensate the firm for the project's delays.

Before it becomes final, the settlement must first be approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board. The board is expected to discuss the settlement in closed session on Dec. 9.

The L.A. Weekly detailed the dispute between the Expo Authority and FFP in this week's cover story, “L.A.'s Light-Rail Fiasco.”

As detailed in the story, FFP filed a claim against Expo for delays caused by the L.A. Department of Water and Power, which was slow to relocate power lines at La Cienega Boulevard. That was one of many reasons the project is behind schedule.

Expo Authority CEO Rick Thorpe maintained that FFP was responsible for coordinating with DWP, and should be held liable for the delay. But a three-member Dispute Review Board found in May that Expo had never shifted the risk of delays to FFP under its contract, and thus Expo was responsible.

That delay alone was worth about $20 million. FFP filed two more claims for other delays, but Thorpe dissolved the DRB before it could rule on those. Expo and FFP have been negotiating for the last several months in an effort to reach a global settlement and avoid litigation.

If the MTA board does not approve the settlement, FFP would have no recourse except to sue.

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