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Builder, Hulk Hogan wrestle over contract

Just a year and a half ago, they might have been tag-team partners. Now they are butting heads.

Pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and his wife wanted a custom-built home on his new property backing up to Clearwater Harbor. Robert Myers moved his California construction firm and family to Clearwater in November 1992 and committed 18 to 24 months to building the dream house of Linda and Terry Bollea (Hulk Hogan's given name).

Last August, the Bolleas fired Myers _ who rang in the new year with them in 1993 _ for making insufficient progress on construction of the Normandy chateau-type mansion. They also said Myers did not adequately monitor workers and the budget.

The Bolleas asked for a declaratory judgment against R. S. Myers Co. in Los Angeles, saying they did not breach the contract by firing Myers. Now R. S. Myers Co. is suing the Bolleas, claiming they did breach the contract.

According to the suit filed June 14 in Pinellas County, the Bolleas hired Myers as construction manager at $12,500 a month. R. S. Myers Co. is suing for back pay and damages.

Myers contends he would have completed the home on schedule despite Linda Bollea's many demands. He deferred all comments to his attorney.

"Linda couldn't make up her mind," said Matthew Marquardt, Myers' attorney. "She never got the plans in on time and she was constantly changing plans. She was always saying, "I don't like this. I don't like that. Tear it down.' "

The mansion at 130 Willadel Drive was expanded from its original size of 12,500 square feet to 17,500. The lawsuit says major structural supporting walls were deleted and replaced with complicated steel infrastructure, and major modifications were made to the roof, causing delays and $1-million in change orders.

"She did make changes like you would on any custom home," said Mrs. Bollea's brother, Joe Claridge, who now oversees construction. "To get the look she wants, to make it look 300 years old, takes some changes. She wants it very authentic."

The Bolleas would not return phone calls.

Claridge worked under Myers when the project began but says he has done all the work from the start.

"He'd disappear to his office in Clearwater and kick his feet up on the desk," Claridge said. "I was ordering the lumber, directing the workers. I built this house."