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Condo owners blame developer, county for construction woes | News

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Condo owners blame developer, county for construction woes
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Bradenton, Florida - Questions and tensions spilled outside Manatee County commission chambers Tuesday as frustrated Willowbrook homeowners confronted the head of the county's Building and Development Services Department John Barnott.

"We continue to live in unsafe conditions. How is that right?" questioned resident Armando Oyola-Delgado.

For the fourth time Willowbrook residents came before county commissioners. For years, they've been dealing with crumbling condos built by KB Home. They blame the giant builder, but they also wonder how code inspectors could allow such terrible construction.

"There are two possible answers from my perspective: either a mind-blowing and unprecedented level of incompetence or blatant corruption," condo owner Brandon Crimson told commissioners.

However, in a prepared statement, Barnott defended his department to commissioners. "I repeat, the problems we see today are the result of water intrusion, because of weatherproofing and quality of construction issues that are not subject to the Florida building code," he said.

And county attorney Mickey Palmer repeatedly warned commissioners that this was not their fight. "This is a private dispute," he said.

Still, questions linger about whether actions by the building department contributed to problems at Willowbrook and residents continue to demand action.

"Get in your Suburban, drive out to Willowbrook and I will personally show you material violations," challenged Oyola-Delgado. And late Tuesday, Barnott did come out to Willowbrook to view some of the condo conditions.

However, it remains unclear, if there is anything the county can do to help the Willowbrook condo owners.

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