Senior residents despair over Wilma repairs

Article Courtesy of the Sun Sentinel

Published December 22, 2005


West Boca Residents frustrated over the pace of post-Wilma repairs at a Century Village subdivision huddled in a parking lot Wednesday to meet with management officials who said major roof work was on hold pending insurance approval.

Hurricane Wilma caused millions of dollars in damage throughout Century Village and its 5,712 units. Two months after the storm, residents say they are living under ceilings frayed with water damage and facing walls blackened with mold. Management officials said insurance delays are the problem.
Tempers flared in the meeting attended by representatives from Prime Management Group Inc., state Rep. Irv Slosberg, and roughly 40 residents of Exeter, a five-building, 360-unit residential complex. The meeting included residents displaced from Building E, evacuated by fire-rescue officials Nov. 20 after heavy rains compounded Wilma's damage.

Residents complained of the lack of information from the association president and Prime Management officials regarding the repair schedule. In particular, many said they were seeking a timetable for the replacement of the roofs of all five Exeter buildings. Internal repairs cannot be completed until the roof is replaced.

"I'm going around in circles trying to figure out who's responsible for what," said Arnold Dreyblatt, 52, whose father, Gerald Dreyblatt, 83, lives in Exeter B.

Prime Management said information about the reconstruction is regularly disseminated through the association board and subdivision presidents and that notices about ongoing meetings are posted on every building's community bulletin board.

Officials said that since the hurricane, Prime Management has held daily meetings with individual resident groups from Century Village's 16 associations. They said an exact schedule for the replacement of the roofs at Exeter won't be possible until insurers approve the costs.

It will cost roughly $350,000 per building to replace the roofs, officials said.

"The problem is the uncertainty," said Slosberg, D-Boca Raton. "These residents don't know if they're going to get a new roof in January or in June."

"There's no outline, no advice as to how to progress. The people who are foundering are unable to cope and make any definitive kind of planning," said Gertrude Soslau, 86.

She and her husband are snowbirds from New York. Their walls and ceilings are rippled with cracked plaster, and black mold stains stretch along one wall. Both are staying with a friend at Century Village.

Charles Sollins, president of Prime Management, said all repair estimates have been submitted to Southern Family, Century Village's insurer.

Sollins said that since Wilma, workers in Century Village have placed tarps on all damaged roofs and made other temporary roof repairs, fixed damaged electrical wiring, repaired railings, cleared away debris and inspected every unit for water damage.

"Unfortunately, it's not happening quickly enough for everyone, but we've pulled every resource," Sollins said. "We're going as quickly as we can, but if we go any quicker than we're supposed to then maybe nobody will pay for it."

Prime Management officials will meet with Exeter residents at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the main clubhouse of Century Village.