Article Courtesy of Orlando Sentinel
By Stephen Hudak
Published January 9, 2017
The family of a widow who owns the last standing condo in
a development owned by Westgate Resorts, has sued the time-share giant, the
latest twist in a long-running saga over her small vacation home.
The family had no choice, said their lawyer Brent Siegel, who is not related
to David Siegel, founder of the time-share company based in Orlando.
"It is very
unfortunate that these actions by Westgate entities and
others on David Siegel's behalf have forced Mrs. Corredor to
file lawsuits to protect her property rights," the
Gainesville lawyer said in an email.
Julieta Mejia de Corredor, 83, and her sons, who live in
South Florida, have sparred with the company, which is
building a eight-story condominium tower on the grounds of
the former Sand Lake Village.
The company acquired all of the units in the former
condominium complex except the one owned by the widow, who
refused to sell. Westgate Resorts then began demolishing the
units one by one.
But her two-bedroom condo, which has been used for family
getaways, a honeymoon and college housing, was damaged by a
bulldozer driven by a contractor hired by Westgate to clear
the site for the time-share project, once estimated to cost
about $24 million.
Construction continues on Westgate Resorts tower
which looms behind the remains of Julieta Mejia de Corredor's
condominum near the Orange County Convention Center.
The lawsuit says Westgate and its holding company,
Central Florida Investments Inc., and the bulldozer driver are responsible
for the damage.
The two sides were urged by Orange County planning
administrator John Smogor to negotiate a resolution to their dispute, but
The family has said the county should halt Westgate's project.
Westgate accused the family of being greedy, demanding far more than the
weathered unit was worth. The family has called Westgate bullies.
Mark Waltrip, Westgate's chief operating officer, said the company
previously offered to rebuild the unit at the same or a new location and
provide $50,000 in furnishings. The company also presented the family with
an alternative offer of a $150,000 cash buyout.
He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
The widow and her late husband bought the unit about 30 years ago for
$154,000 and are current on all local taxes.