Posted on

they’ll have to pay twice ….

they’ll have to pay twice …. they’ll have to pay twice ….

they’ll have to pay twice for unfinished pools or else face a lawsuit.

On the same day, Jordon Hidalgo, the general contractor who stepped in to help Olympus get back on track in May, announced that he was severing ties with the company.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s office continued to actively review 150 customer complaints filed against the company.

On July 24, Staten himself pulled the plug on Olympus pools when he announced that he had signed a settlement agreement with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, voluntarily relinquishing his business license. The agreement stipulated that Staten would have to pay fines of $1.43 million in order to obtain a Florida license again.

On its Facebook page, the company announced that it would be closing its doors: “Over the last several months at Olympus Pools, we have endured constant negative media coverage encouraging viewers to file complaints with Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. As a result, the DBPR has forced us to voluntarily relinquish our license. This means we are no longer allowed to continue working for any of our customers. We have fought hard and would have continued to do so for as long it took to complete every project.

Although we are greatly disappointed in the decision, we understand the pressure that has been placed on the Department to act. We do not feel the decision is beneficial to our community or our customers, however, it was not our decision to make. If it were up to us, we would continue working for our customers.

We have enjoyed servicing the Tampa Bay area for close to 10 years. We are proud of the thousands of projects we have built and the work we have done for our community in that time. We are grateful for all of the support the vast majority of our former customers, employees, friends, family, and neighbors have shown us during this time.”

In September, SCP obtained a $1 million judgment against Staten, a judgment that allowed SCP to get a garnishment and freeze the money in Staten’s personal bank account.

So, on October 1, Staten and his wife filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They filed for personal bankruptcy protection in part because SCP is one of the Statens’ largest creditors, their attorney Joel Aresty said.

The filing faults a combination of unexpected delays in permitting, the rainy season, a labor and materials shortage, and staff members.

It also specifies that the negative media attention Olympus pools was receiving impacted its ability to secure additional financing.

“Lyon Financial provides third-party financing to customers building a pool,” court papers state. “They refused to fund, and at the time of the closure in July of 2021, they hadn’t paid Olympus in five months. This includes finished work.”

The filing points to “Better Call Behnken’s” extensive coverage of Olympus pools, where at “the end of each news story, viewers were encouraged to complain to the DBPR and the Attorney General’s office.”

Court records state that Staten drained his 401K account and sold off possessions in an attempt to keep his business afloat. Furthermore, because of their tarnished reputation, the filing says Staten and his family pulled their children from school and moved out of the area.

To pay the creditors listed in the filing, this October, the Statens listed their $3.25 million home and the Olympus Pools building for $1.9 million.

But the machine that has Staten gripped in its wheels and cogs isn’t done with him yet.

On October 13, Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office announced that she is “taking legal action against a Florida pool company and its owner for taking upfront payments and leaving jobs incomplete.”

“Floridians paid thousands of dollars upfront in order to have pools professionally constructed on their properties,” Moody said. “What many received in exchange for these huge payments were incomplete pools and a lack of funds to pay another company to complete the work. We will not permit these deceptive trade practices in Florida,

Pictures of unfinished pools by Olympus Pools. Image credit: Wfla.com.

and my Consumer Protection Division is taking action to stop these practices and secure relief for those harmed by the defendants.”

Since March of this year, the Attorney General’s Office said it has received more than 200 consumer complaints against Olympus Pools, amounting to an alleged total loss of $8 million. The civil action seeks to permanently ban the defendants from engaging in certain activities related to the pool construction business. The action also aims to require the company and its owners to provide restitution or reimbursement to affected consumers. In addition, the defendants could be liable for more than $2 million in civil penalties for violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

At the end of the day, Staten has lost nearly everything.

Because he sold more than he could deliver, Staten has lost his business, his home, his reputation, and may lose his ability to work in the industry. But is he guilty of fraud? Of deceptive trade?

To this, many pool professionals answer in the affirmative, or at the very least, that Staten is guilty of greed, biting off far more than he could chew, leaving in his wake unpaid subcontractors and devastated homeowners.

Staten has blamed his fall in part on the repercussions of the pandemic, which have included extreme supply chain interruptions and unprecedented demand for pools.

For more than a decade, Staten ran a pool construction company with apparent success, but it looks like the pandemic revealed a business model destined for failure.

The courts will determine the ultimate price he will pay.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

LATEST NEWS