Florida’s attorney general has taken unprecedented action against a Tampa-based pool company, shutting down the company and securing a lifetime business ban against the owner, leaving hundreds of swimming pools in limbo. unfinished around the area.
In a Hillsborough County consent decree signed last week, James Staten Jr. and his Olympus Pools agreed not to reapply for a contractor or business license or face more than $1.4 million in fines. Olympus Pools acknowledged in the order that it engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices, although Staten did not admit to the practices.
“Olympus misrepresented the timeline of the projects, accepted payments in advance and then left the jobs incomplete,” the release said.
Staten filed for bankruptcy and was unable to make full restitution to the homeowners, and surrendered his contractor licenses, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office said in a news release.
Moody sued Staten and his company in late 2021, following local news reports and numerous complaints about unfinished work, throughout the Tampa area. The attorney general asked for a $10 million judgment but settled for $1 million to be paid through bankruptcy proceedings.
Some homeowners said the settlement meant they lost tens of thousands of dollars while Staten only received a “slap on the wrist,” according to a report by WFLA TV news.
Moody said some homeowners have filed claims and may be able to recover some funds through Florida’s Homeowner Construction Recovery Fund. It is not reported whether Olympus Pools retains liability, builders risk or directors and officers insurance.
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