Action 9 investigates how builders can legally cut corners



ST. CLOUD,Fla. - Action 9 investigates how builders can legally cut corners, and stick homeowners with huge bills years later. It happened in St. Cloud, where owners discovered, the developer's sewage system can't pass city codes.


When Sandy Allen bought her townhouse, she assumed, like most buyers would, that the Town Center development met all city codes. She was dead wrong. “Why do I have to pay for something that should have been signed off and done with,” said Allen.


Allen and several owners say they've just been slammed with $7,000 special assessments because the developer, Gross Investments, built a sewage lift station that fails to pass city codes.


“Did the developer hide that from you?” asked Ulrich.


Home buyer Bonnie Gregory,” yes they did.”


The lift station does pass state codes as a private system, but Florida codes are less restrictive, so the developer could built it for far less money.


The Town Center HOA claims the builder never disclosed any of that and since it cut corners the city of St Cloud has refused to take over the system because it failed their standards. Upgrades to correct that cost more than a quarter million dollars.


“You thought you were buying something that was already done,” said Allen.


Todd Ulrich contacted the developer last week without any responses. He went to the office and was told management was out of the country.


St. Cloud officials say they're trying to help and several owners agreed to the assessments, thinking it’s the only way out.


Not townhouse owner Bonnie Gregory who feels misled, “we've been bamboozled, definitely.”


In a written response to the HOA, Gross Investments said the private sewage station was disclosed in association documents and it’s working properly.


St. Cloud’s city council will take a final vote on the assessments next month.