By John Schaffner
Stacey Elgin stands in the middle of the first floor of Unit B-9, Building 120 of the Arborgate condominiums on Biscayne Drive in Buckhead and stares at three three-foot square holes that have been cut in her concrete floor and piles of dirt.
“The place was uninhabitable before,” Elgin said. “Now it is a dump…a dirt pile…one huge dirt pile.”
Elgin explained, “We had no idea it was going to be this extensive. That wasn’t really disclosed and suddenly we have all these holes in our building. We were told everybody is going to have them,” she adds.
Elgin said one of the holes in her condo goes down 19 feet and the other two several feet each.
“When we asked the engineers, they said all the homeowners (in Building 120-B) are going to have these huge holes in their condos as well.”
In addition to Elgin, that means Karen O’Brien in Unit B-8, Andrea Nardello in Unit B-10 and Kimanne Allen, Unit B-7, can all expect to be treated equally with big holes in their first-floor concrete floors.
Elgin and Allen don’t live in their units and haven’t been able to for almost two years now.
But O’Brien and Nardello have been living through sinking floors, borings in their floors, replacement of gas lines, cracked walls and much more for over 18 months.
As we have been reporting for months now, the four women have been in a dispute with their condominium owners association for over 18 months over who is responsible for damage caused to their four units by a water main break that undermined the foundation flooring of their building and units.
The city of Atlanta even took the association to court to force it to pay for rerouting of gas lines—which were deemed to pose a hazard because they ran under the sinking concrete foundation flooring. The city also is trying to force the association to put pilings under the foundation flooring to stabilize the units.
The purpose of the holes in the condo floors is so that the engineering firm can recreate “as built” construction plans that the association claims it cannot find. The city will not issue a building permit to fix the foundation until they have such a plan submitted with the permit request.
According to O’Brien, the association and condo management are finally beginning to communicate a little better with the homeowners. However, that may be because the attorney for three of the women—Elgin, O’Brien and Nardello—filed suit against the association at the end of June.
The suit essentially asks that the association make the three women whole by buying their condominiums from them and paying their expenses over the past two years. According to attorney John Weintraub, he is asking for about $225,000 to $250,000 for each of the women. But Weintraub told the Buckhead Reporter that suit probably won’t be settled for another year.
By the end of July, the association had filed countersuits against Elgin and O’Brien. In Elgin’s case, the association is claiming she hasn’t paid some of her association fees and they are seeking to foreclose on her unit.
“Well, shoot, they can have it. I don’t need it. I don’t want it,” Elgin said when told of the counter suit by the Reporter. “I should have stopped making the mortgage payments and let the bank take it a year ago,” she added. “At this point I just want to get out of it, cut my losses and move on.”