"Lennar Killed My Husband"
That was one of the first thingís I heard from a caller this morning, as I prepared to walk into the Florida Building Commission monthly meeting. I was there to make a presentation about Lennar Corporation building defective homes and submitting these homes for inspection approvals at the local level. At first, I thought it was a set up. I politely told the tearful caller I would call her back in 10 minutes. My next call was to one of my attorneys, to check out her story. It checked out 100%.
Below is the article that appeared last February about the electrocution of Lisaís husband when he tried to plus in a dryer he was delivering. Not only was her husband, Rafael, horribly electrocuted, but it was on his one year old daughterís birthday. Since the electrocution of Alexisís and Victoriaís Daddy, Lennar has not settled with the family. With the loss of the primary bread-winner, Lisa told me she has since lost her home. She also told me she has severe medical problems, and making ends meet is next to impossible. Lennarís response has been, per Lisa, to point a finger at the subcontractor. But didnít Lennar hire the subcontractor
In any event, my fight against Lennar for building defective homes, has just been cranked up a notch. For those naysayers that have criticized me for my passionate pursuit of builder reform, there is no more pressing story than that of Lisa, Alexis and Victoriaís.
Florida has a very serious problem. For that matter, the nation does. The housing boom has overwhelmed local building officials to the point where they cannot possibly competently inspect homes any longer. With the pressure from the building industry to close on homes, local officials are forced to issue Certificates of Occupancy, even when the local officials have not competently inspected these homes. The result is thousands upon thousands of defective homes throughout the country.
The 6000 home class action recently certified against Ryland is a classic example. And a quick search of the Internet will demonstrate how significant this problem is. We have taken on one builder, Lennar. And the result has been a massive lawsuit. Iíd like to take on the entire industry, but that would be financial ruin. Iíve already invested more than $200,000 of my own time and money. I must admit, recently I have asked myself why. Well, Iím here to tell you that Lisaís call today was a message from above. After hearing Lisaís story, I have decided to dedicate an additional million dollars of my time and money to this cause.
Weíre setting up a fund to help Lisa, Alexis and Victoria. They lost their home and Lisa is very ill.
Here is a link to the article and a video - http://www.local6.com/problemsolvers/7302637/detail.html
I will close with this thought for you. Victoria's Mom told me that five year old Alexis canít walk by a wishing well without asking for a quarter. She asks for a quarter because she has to make a "really big wish." She wishes the same thing with every quarter . . . "Please God, bring my Daddy back."
'Bizarre' Electrocution Prompts Home Builder Lawsuit
One of the nation's largest home builders, its electrical subcontractors and a Central Florida county have been named in a wrongful death lawsuit after an appliance deliveryman was electrocuted in a "bizarre accident," according to a Problem Solvers investigation.
Deliveryman Rafael Ugalde died while on the job at 2777 Shearwater St. in Lennar's Lost Lake Reserve in Clermont, Fla.
Ugalde was electrocuted even though power to the room had been turned off, the report said.
"Wires behind a hallway wall hold the key to the bizarre accident that killed Ugalde," Problem Solver Mike Holfeld said.
Attorney O.B. Samuel, who has documented the investigation into Ugalde's death, said a drywall screw had been fired through the yellow wire casing, piercing the hot wire inside and the metal stud. That created a giant power circuit that electrified the house, according to the report.
"When they tore down the wall, it was quite obvious what had happened," Samuel said.
An electrical subcontractor for the Lennar project found 110 volts flowing through the screws of the room's mirror, the report said.
"That discovery is important because Rafael Ugalde was electrocuted as he hooked the dryer hose to a vent," Holfeld said.
The medical examiner noted that the metal duct and vent tested positive for 110 volts, according to the report.
Under state code, the electric wires should have been bundled with a plastic strap or metal clip. However, there was no evidence the wires were ever bundled.
Local 6 News also learned that Ugalde's shoes were wet while he was in the structure yet he never touched an outlet.
"Five months later and no one has accepted responsibility for the fatal mistake," Holfeld said.
"Well, then this story changes because we're not talking about an accident, we're talking murder," Lisa Ugalde said.
The lawsuit's trail of blame includes the Lake County building inspector.
Documents obtained by Local 6 showed an inspector approved the electrical wiring on Sept. 6, 14 days before Ugalde was electrocuted.
"No denials were issued for the wiring," Holfeld said. "Ironically, the final approval was issued two weeks after Ugalde died."
The lawsuit is expected to be filed this week.
An attorney for Lennar Homes told Local 6 News that new safety protocols have been put in place since the accident. The company said it is confident that the rest of the homes in the subdivision are safe.
"Lake County and the electrical subcontractors are not talking," Holfeld said. "So, the question remains, who made the mistake? And, who will a jury hold accountable?"
Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.
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