Article Courtesy of The Palm Beach Post
By Sarah Peters
Published November 8, 2017
PALM BEACH GARDENS — When the San Matera luxury condo
community settled a lawsuit with builder Kolter’s insurers over shoddy
construction, the board president was optimistic relief would come for both
soggy, frustrated residents and their leaky buildings.
That hasn’t happened yet for Rick and Anita Riggs, who
have mold growing in the garage and a spongy laminate wood
floor in the guest bedroom of the three-bedroom,
three-bathroom condo they’ve rented for about five years. A
wall in the bedroom is saturated with water. The condo’s
manager has told them her hands are tied because no repairs
will be done until the construction defects are fixed, Rick
The leak in the garage started last fall and got much worse
this spring. A heavy rain would fill a big plastic tub they
placed on the floor to catch the water, he said.
“This is something we can’t live with much longer,” Rick
Last September, the San Matera The Gardens Condominium
Association reached a $22.5 million settlement with insurers
for Kolter Homes and dozens of subcontractors who built the
676-unit community just north of The Gardens Mall.
The San Matera condo complex in Palm Beach Gardens.
Before the settlement, the condo owners board took money from reserves to
make repairs in the buildings where conditions were really bad, treasurer
Jon Markoulis said.
A few weeks ago, contractors started working on the buildings with the most
complaints, Markoulis said. Those contractors will be paid from the
“When you have 30 buildings, you have to start somewhere,” Markoulis said.
“It’s physically and financially impossible to do at the same time.”
San Matera is putting tarps over buildings with leaky roofs to prevent more
water from coming in. But in a lot of buildings, it’s coming in from other
places, he said.
“For those units, there’s nothing really we can do, short of doing the
repair,” Markoulis said.
Someone patched and put a tarp on the Riggs’ roof where it leaked into the
garage, but a mold inspector that their landlord hired said there are other
areas where the water is getting in, Rick Riggs said.
There’s no point in doing mold remediation until the leaking stops at the
source, he said.
Rick Riggs said he has heart disease, kidney failure and diabetes and was
recently in the hospital for an infected diabetic ulcer. His wife is
starting to experience health problems, he said.
The Riggs’ landlord flew to Palm Beach Gardens from Pennsylvania a few weeks
ago to see the damage for himself. That’s when they finally got tarp. Riggs
said they already complained to management three or four times prior to
The community manager did not return phone calls or an email requesting
comment. Efforts to reach the board president were unsuccessful.
Fixing the construction defects in every building will take about about a
year and a half.
The contractor will remove the outside wall cladding, windows and sliding
glass doors and reinstall them with proper backing and waterproofing. New
outside stucco will be installed, and any damaged interior walls will be
replaced. Balconies that slope in the wrong direction will be ground down so
the water flows away from sliding glass doors, a letter to residents from
the board indicates.
Owners or tenants must move their furniture away from the walls and remove
items attached to the walls being repaired. If the inside of the walls are
rebuilt, the owners will get a primer coat of paint and be responsible for
the finish coat.
Balcony tiles will be removed if the slope needs to be ground down, and it’s
the owners’ responsibility to replace them, according to the letter.
Markoulis said the contractor will move as quickly as he can, and the units
won’t be exposed to the elements overnight. Windows and sliding glass doors
will be reinstalled at the end of each day.
Resident Stanley Kowalski said he’s disappointed the settlement didn’t
include money for temporary housing and boarding for pets.
“As far as the inconvenience, this is something we didn’t sign up for,”