FAMILIES WHO LOST DEPOSITS WHEN DEVELOPER ABANDONED THEIR PROJECT FILE SUIT AGAINST STATE’S CONSTRUCTION LICENSING BOARD
State Sets Aside Recovery Fund To Compensate Families
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – The law firm of Oppenheim Pilelsky has filed a lawsuit against the State of Florida Construction Licensing Board and the Florida Construction Industries Recovery Fund on behalf of 12 Broward families who lost tens of thousands of dollars when their dream homes were never built.
The families lost a total of $236, 682 in down payments when Treasured Spaces, the builder of their homes, in La Costa Development shut its doors. The company abandoned the project in 1995 after completing only 30 of the 70 planned homes. In addition, 22 homes were left unfinished and 18 lots were never developed.
The families sued and obtained a Judgment against the defunct developer for $250,000 last year. That’s when they resorted to the State’s Construction Recovery Fund, which was established to reimburse home buyers who were exploited by defunct builders. In fact, it was the largest amount ever awarded to a group of claimants at one time.
They received $100,000 in payment, which was the Construction Recovery Fund’s cap at the time. That’s when Oppenheim Pilelsky got State Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Senator Howard Forman to sponsor legislation beefing up the recovery fund, and increasing the total aggregate cap from $100,000 to $250,000, with a retroactive provision taking these 12 claimants into account. As a result, the families requested in January of this year that they receive the payments under the new Statute.
A recent agreed order has been approved by the state of Florida and will be signed by Judge Green. By this order, the state agrees to set aside $134,682, the amount for which Oppenheim and Pilelsky was suing, in a segregated account thereby ensuring the families will be paid, if indeed the new statute requires such payment.
“They lost their dream homes, and in many cases, their life’s savings and they thought things were looking up when we had the new law passed to get them paid in full,” said Oppenheim, a partner at the law firm of Oppenheim Pilelsky in Weston. “Now things seem to be headed in the right direction with this new agree order by the state,” he added.
“The lawsuit is also going to prevent the Fund from continuing to dole out money to other claimants who have a lower priority than our clients,” said Oppenheim.
“The irony of it is that the Recovery Fund has already depleted its resources for the 1999 fiscal year, and now doesn’t have a pot to piss in.”
“The real purpose of this lawsuit, is to make sure that come the fiscal year 2000, that our clients are the first to get paid, since they should have been paid before the Fund was depleted,” added Oppenheim.
/CONTACT: Julie Silver or Christine Manna at Boardroom Communications (954) 321-6334, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, both for Oppenheim Pilelsky.