KB Home sues 41 Willowbrook subcontractors

HERALD STAFF REPORTApril 30, 2013 

MANATEE -- KB Home, the developer of the Willowbrook condominium subdivision, is suing 41 subcontactors involved in the original construction, court records show.

The complex of 270 condo units in 51 buildings just outside the western boundary of Lakewood Ranch, has been plagued with serious construction deficiencies linked to water intrusion and sinking floors on the second and third floor decks and interior floors, along with signs of mold.

The suit, filed April 23 in the 12th Circuit Court in Manatee County, seeks damages claiming all 41 subcontractors performed substandard work, requiring KB Home "to incur significant damages to investigate, repair and remediate the Project and to resolve claims with the individual unit owners."

The sut also claims special damages, "including damage to KB Home's goodwill and business reputation."

The suit demands a jury trial.

The contractors include builders, air conditioning companies, roofers, painters and plasterers, flooring companies and landscapers.

Since 2012, more than 70 balconies have been inspected by Manatee County building inspectors at the request of residents. More than 30 have been ruled unsafe. KB Home began selling homes in Willowbrook in 2006. Over the past few months, Willowbrook residents have taken their case to Manatee County and state government officials. Former state Sen. Mike Bennett requested the Florida attorney general investigate possible fraudulent practices by KB Home.

In February, KB Home agreed to pay for relocating Willowbrook homeowners whose properties require invasive repairs, after state Sen. Bill Galvano's office became involved.

KB Home also agreed to pay for mold assessments for any homeowner that wants one and to pay for remediation if needed.

The Willowbrook Condo Association, which owns all property outside the drywall, signed an agreement with KB Home to hire a third-party contractor to make repairs. KB Home has deposited $2 million in an escrow account that will not go below $500,000, company officials have said.

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