Recuerdos of The Mickey Mouse Club, “Today is a Day That Is FILLED With Surprises!-NOBODY KNOWS What’s Gonna Happen…”
Town Center residents have lived in alternating states of ennui, anger and frustration, trying to cobble thousands of documentation shards together into a story which can be tracked and comprehended by many, if not all or even MOST. Frustration on the part of our intermittent audience has resulted in our group being pegged as top-seeded whiners,unwilling to take action, only willing to drone on about issues and not TA-DA! the SOLUTION.
We feel your pain. We SHARE your pain.
In our defense the problems in Town Center are SO complex and AMORPHOUS that a Venn diagram requires an endless roll of paper. (At this point I will mention that a future post will be nothing BUT a Venn Diagram)
Yet today is a benchmark in our quest, a day for celebrating a First Step as we toddle towards Mother Justice, who is living in Kissimmee at the Osceola County Circuit Court.
For Immediate Release
New York Real Estate Firm Turns Disney’s Dream Town Into Nightmare For Owners
Celebration, Florida’s Town Center Condominium Association (The Association) today filed suit in Osceola County Circuit Court against Lexin Capital,LLC and the Town Center Foundation (TCF), alleging that the 12 condominium buildings containing 105 units are in a “colossal state of disrepair” and have suffered from “pervasive sustained moisture intrusion with resulting rot of structural components and of interior components with related termite infestation.” The Association contends that TCF has breached its contractual and fiduciary obligations to unit owners to properly maintain the Condominium Component Facilities and Unit Exteriors and seeks to prosecute for negligent maintenance.
The Condominiums are located in Town Center, the heart of the new urban community of Celebration, Florida and were constructed by the Walt Disney Company in 1995.
The Association contends that years of neglect and lack of maintenance have allowed the buildings to deteriorate, and conditions now represent a danger to the residents. As Celebration approaches its 20th anniversary this November the state of decay has reached a crisis level. Owners cite years of water intrusion damage to the interiors of their units, mold,wood rot, sagging floors and bubbling stucco.
Residents in 16 Units on Bloom Street have been living in an opaque tarp cocoon since January, owner Sheila Slutsky moved to temporary housing after tests showed dangerous levels of mold. 91 year-old Ruth Uffelmann remains a virtual captive. Expanding wall cracks and shaking balconies on 660 Celebration Avenue are of great concern to Emily and Frank Cooper, who first reported leaning floors to Lexin in 2008, their requests for assistance were ignored. On April 12 Osceola County Building Inspectors filed a complaint against Lexin, citing unsafe structural issues.
In 2004 Disney/The Celebration Company sold Town Center to Lexin Capital, a New York Real Estate Investment Firm. Lexin converted the residential apartments in 12 of Town Center’s 21 buildings to a condominium and formed The Association, as well as TCF, a master association with control over all 21 buildings. The governing documents of TCF provide “all maintenance, repair and replacement of the Component Facilities and the exteriors of all buildings will be performed by the Foundation and the cost thereof will be included in the assessments made pursuant to the Foundation Declaration.” Lexin Capital LLC has retained control of the TCF Board of Directors at all times since conversion.
In January of 2015 TCF hired Dan Dixon, Architect LLC, to inspect and analyze Town Center building problems and create a detailed report. Following this TCF commenced construction repair on Association buildings. TCF has refused to provide The Association with Dixon’s detailed engineering study and to allow experts hired by the Association access to the construction site. The Association believes it has a potential legal claim against Lexin for its failure to timely file a lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company for negligent construction of the 12 buildings which contained the condominiums, and instead is attempting to pass off the costs to the unit owners. They contend that critical evidence to these claims is being destroyed or discarded without the Association’s experts being able to shadow the process.
- In July of 2015 owners in 709 Bloom Street were advised to stay off their balconies, citing unsafe conditions.
- In October, 2015 the Osceola County Building Inspector closed a stairwell at 611 Campus Street for emergency structural repairs.
- Temporary structural support beams have been installed along the entire back wall of 660 Celebration Avenue after structural cracks appeared in existing beams and walls, and floors on the third story slanted.
- At 600 Market St. continuous roof leaks and water intrusion have been documented since 2008 with water pouring down inside the walls and through ceilings of third floor units. After inspection by mold experts the entire roof was covered by tarps, yet despite the reports and inspections by experts Lexin/TCF has taken no action.
- 709 Bloom Street demolition began in January of 2016, and other than necessary shoring up to prevent collapse, Lexin’s only activity has been to remove debris and cover nearly the entire building exterior, including the windows, with tarps.
In February, 2016 TCF Director and Lexin Capital Manager Metin Negrin informed Association that an assessment in excess of $4,000,000 was to be imposed on the unit owners for repairs, the first in a series to be levied over coming years.
As shown in Public Documents Lexin Capital has twice refinanced Town Center since its 2004 purchase, the last time in May of 2015, the timing coincidental to the Dixon’s Engineers report. Both times it has removed significant equity without any evidence of capital being reinvested in the town.