When the Aftermath is Worse than the Fire!!!

Guest Blog by Nila Ridings

Where is Uncle Billy Bob? Sounds like he was hired to restore the Heritage Landing Condos in Saint Charles, Missouri but has headed off to….fishing trip? Guadalajara? Elsewhere? Residents are living in hotel rooms but the contractor is MIA. Who hires these losers, anyway?

Ten months ago, the Jahnke family and Scott Collins were told they would be back in their condos by the end of 2012 after a fire in July. Collins is reduced to tears because the restoration left his place in worse condition than pre-fire. And poor Debra Jahnke is so stressed out she’s on blood pressure medication and anxiety drugs. She says a new home could be built from the dirt up faster. And ten months in a hotel is, well, miserable. 
Ahhh, but the big question is: Why the shoddy work? Who IS the contractor that is showing up on a sometime”ish” basis? And the biggest question of all is…”Where’s the insurance money?” “And the property manager?” Oh my! Imagine this, NOT AVAILABLE for comment on camera!
In emergencies, condo dwellers are left at the mercy of property managers who hire the cheapest labor and produce the shoddiest work. That means owners are zapped with future expensive repairs. And, of course there’s no “go to” source for answers.


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

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