Monday, July 18, 2016

81-Year Old Widow On Verge Of Toppling $24 Million Orlando Timeshare Project As County Yanks Building Permit, Issues 'Stop Work' Order; Developer Misrepresented That It Owned All The Parcels Comprising Building Site Despite Fact That Widow Refuses To Sell Her Townhome

The Orlando Sentinel reports:
  • Westgate Resorts was ordered today [Thursday, July 14] to immediately stop work on a $24-million timeshare project imperiled by a dispute with an 81-year-old widow who has refused to sell her condo.

    Orange County spokeswoman Doreen Overstreet said the order was prompted by the Development Review Committee which rescinded its approval for the new timeshare towers on Turkey Lake Road.

    The company had represented to county officials that it owned the properties that make up the building site,(1) but one small piece is owned by Julieta Corredor, a widow who has refused to sell the vacation home that she and her late husband bought for $154,000 about 30 years ago.

    Overstreet said the DRC's decision means Westgate does not have valid building permits.

    The company will have to win new approvals from DRC, which meets again July 27.
    ***
    The Development Review Committee's unanimous decision Wednesday followed a failed round of negotiations between Westgate and Julieta Corredor's sons, William and Carlos, conducted on orders of John Smogor, committee chairman, who directed both sides to "go out and talk."
    ***
    The company owns all the parcels on the Turkey Lake Road site except for the brothers' mother's condo, which she bought 30 years ago.

    Westgate lawyer David Lenox complained that the Corredor family has been unreasonable in all negotiations aimed at resolving the stalemate, saying the brothers won't state an asking price for their mother's property and have rejected other conciliatory gestures, including an apology.

    The company also offered to rebuild the family condo, which was severely damaged by a contractor's demolition bulldozer months ago.

    "There is no reason we have to be reasonable," said William Corredor, alleging the company has tried to bully them into selling. "We're not talking about somebody who just 'oops' damaged the property. We believe the property was damaged, and they as developers knew what they were doing."
    ***
    Corredor said a stop-work order would improve his family's bargaining position with Westgate.

    "Westgate pretty much knows as long as they can continue with their project they don't have to deal with us," he said.

    Corredor also said his family is prepared to own a condo in the long shadows of the timeshare towers.

    "We'll turn it into a bullying museum," he said, half joking.
For the story, see Westgate ordered to stop work on timeshare towers.
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(1) It will be interesting to see if anyone has the guts to prosecute the developer for making misrepresentations in connections with obtaining a building permit. It wouldn't be the first time a prosecution was pursued against someone who provided false information when obtaining a building permit. See, for example, Criminal Liability For False Representation In Obtaining Building Permit.

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