Courtesy of WFTV.COM Channel 9
July 20, 2005
Fla. -- Channel 9 has uncovered more
fraudulent documents in the scandal surrounding the city permitting office and
the Grande Condominiums in downtown Orlando.
News has repeatedly asked the city to prove that underground fire sprinkler
mains were properly installed and inspected.
city has provided Channel 9 with several versions of an inspection certificate
that was questioned more than a week ago. There are three versions of the same
document, and two out of the three appear to be fake. Now the city faces a
serious investigation by the State Fire Marshal.
document called an NFPA 24 certifies that underground fire sprinkler lines are
properly installed and tested, but Channel 9 found that someone has created
fraudulent certificates using real documents.
city provided Channel 9 with a document from CDS Sitework and Trucking, a
company that's not licensed to do fire protection work. Channel 9 compared their
NFPA 24 certification to another company's certification, Wayne Automatic
two documents are identical, except for a few alterations. The Wayne Automatic
Sprinklers signature was erased and replaced by another name. The top of the
document shows that someone altered the permit number, but at the bottom of both
forms the name of Wayne Automatic Sprinklers appears. It seems one document was
used to forge another.
manager at CDS Sitework and Trucking did not want to talk about the forged
papers Monday when Channel 9 tried to get answers.
the city stood behind the fire suppression system at The Grande.
feel comfortable that everything is working correctly and that there is no
public safety issue. There's no one at risk," said Tanja Gerhartz, director
of Economic Development.
the city's economic development director wouldn't answer tough questions about
the doctored documents.
you not concerned that there are doctored documents in the file?" WFTV
reporter Steve Barrett asked Gerhartz. "You can ignore this document all
you want, but isn't it to the core of what you do in the permit office?"
that point, the interview was over. The economic development director walked
of The Grande Condominiums are now considering their own legal action. The
owners of the $200,000-plus condos are concerned about their investments and
hope that it was just a misunderstanding, or at least that it will be
corrected," said condo-owner Alexis Pepaj.
State Fire Marshal's office has already re-opened its investigation into the
permitting of the property. Tuesday, the office requested copies of the nearly
identical documents. Channel 9 also sent copies to the Orlando Police criminal
Questions Still Surround
Condominium Fire Inspection
City Can't Show Proof Of Orlando
Former Inspector Says Downtown
Condo Could Be Firetrap