Courtesy of The Pelican
By Judy Wilson
Published April 19, 2016
Deerfield Beach - Eleven years after fire destroyed her
condominium in Century Village and Faye Adam became the face of her dozen
homeless neighbors, she may go home again to Ventnor B, Unit 36.
Permits to repair the 10 homes damaged in 2005 by the fire are being
reviewed by the city. Contractor Joe Marone is hopeful he can begin work
later this month.
But nothing is certain. The delay in restoring the
condominium units has been the result of a “perfect storm” of disasters.
First, a fire roared through holes left by cable TV installers in the attic
Then, three months later, Hurricane Wilma wrecked havoc resulting in
construction delays, insurance company failures and stringent new building
codes. And finally, seeking reimbursement, Ventnor B homeowners filed
lawsuits which moved slowly through the courts.
Adam, now 85, president of the Ventnor B condo board, along with board
treasurer Ross Gilson, has been involved every step of the way .
Says Marone, “I never, ever worked for an
older individual representing acondo association who is so
astute about construction. Her energy and intellect are
Faye Adam stands at the door of her condo where she
hopes repairs will be made this summer. She has spent 11 years
fighting for fairer insurance payouts and questioning the management
at Century Village East.
Ventnor B’s Attorney Joe Garrity who won a $1 million lawsuit against
Century Village East Master Management, praises Adam for “keeping the drums
beating” and for her resilience. “Many residents didn’t make it to the
finish line,” he said.
And Adam herself says, “I don’t have time to grow old. . . but lessons
learned at my age should never have to be learned.”
Only four of the 10 unitowners are still present. Four let their homes go
into foreclosure and the others have died. For most, the fire added
financial burdens hard to overcome as they had to find other housing while
still paying mortgages and homeowners’ fees on the damaged units.
The first lawsuit against Adelphi Cable Company [which by then had been
acquired by Comcast] was settled for an amount far less than the cost of
repairs. Also named in the lawsuit, Master Management refused to settle and
took the case to court. Last summer it was found guilty of negligence, fraud
and breach of fiduciary duty.
Adam says the governing boards of Century
Village East [CVE] allowed the cable work to be done without
permits. The fire occurred one year after the cable was
installed. The other major issue was that the governing
board under insured Ventnor’s gardenstyle buildings. The
insurance company – since defunct - offered only $173,000 to
repair the 10 units. “The policy was for $725,000 but there
were fine print clauses that mitigated the payout,” Adam
She eventually appealed to then State Senator Ted Deutch and
United States Rep. Bob Wexler for compensation through the
Florida Insurance Guarantee Association and Adam was
successful. But by then costs for repairing the units had
soared. A complication was the rewrite of the South Florida
Building Code which required roofs, doors, windows, etc. to
meet a much higher – and more costly - standard.
Faye Adam sits inside her condo which was destroyed
in a 2005 fire.
Gilson says the repairs could have been done under the
old code for the money offered by the insurance company and later by the
state insurance fund. But at the end of the day, he too lays blame on The
Village corporation that purchased the insurance. “The inadequacy of the
insurance caused the shortfall in the ability to make repairs. The refusal
of the corporation to accept responsibility caused the delays,“ he said.
Attorney Garrity is not quite finished with his efforts to improve
management practices at CVE. One more lawsuit is pending. It claims the 252
homeowner associations in The Village should control the common areas
[easements] around each building. Master Management disagrees. The case
could be argued next month. “There is a lot of personal satisfaction in
completing this,” he said of his long journey through five complicated
The $1 million award from the CVE Master Management lawsuit paid for
restoration of the common elements in Ventnor B and gave every unit owner in
the other garden apartments money to repair their firewalls.
Now the Ventnor B interiors will be reconstructed at the homeowner’s expense
after Marone installs electric, plumbing and drywall. Adam is planning her
color scheme and flooring: something bolder than the pastels she used to
favor, and wood for the living room and bedroom. She will re-install her
mirrored walls because, she says, she had them in the home where her
children grew up so she could see them from almost every room. “They are my
signature décor,” she said with a chuckle.
She is most eager to see her balcony enclosed again so she can recreate her
office and library. She will bring back to Number 36 only her old bedroom
set. The rest of her furnishings were destroyed in the fire.
Adam is effusive in her praise for Gilson who has spent years researching
condo documents and building plans. “Without Ross this building would have
been a parking lot,” she said this week. “He is instrumental in getting us
For all the players in this saga, their attorney Garrity has a positive
thought. “I can’t wait to go to the ribbon cutting for Ventnor B. I’ll bring
the champagne,” he said.