Insurance Journal, July 7, 2023
Florida’s attorney general has taken extraordinary measures against a Tampa-based pool company, shutting down the company and securing a lifetime business ban against the owner, who left hundreds of swimming pools unfinished around the area.
In a consent judgment in Hillsborough County signed last week, James Staten Jr. and his Olympus Pools have agreed to never apply for a contractor or business license again or face more than $1.4 million in fines. Olympus Pools acknowledged in the order that it had engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices, although Staten did not admit to the practices.
“Olympus misrepresented the timeline of projects, accepted upfront payments and then left jobs incomplete,” the release said.
Staten has filed for bankruptcy and is unable to pay full restitution to homeowners, and has surrendered his contractor licenses, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office said in a news release.
Moody filed suit against Staten and his company in late 2021, after local news reports and multiple complaints about the unfinished work, all across the Tampa area. The attorney general had asked for a $10 million judgment but settled on $1 million that will be paid through the bankruptcy proceedings.
Some homeowners said the settlement means they’ve lost tens of thousands of dollars while Staten received a mere “slap on the wrist,” according to a report by WFLA TV news.
Moody said that some homeowners have filed claims and may be able to recover some funds through Florida’s Homeowner Construction Recovery Fund. It was not reported if Olympus Pools had maintained liability, builders’ risk or directors and officers insurance.