noembed noembed

Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Someone has got to pay

Some news out of the Miami Herald.

Thousands of home and business owners throughout Miami-Dade County have spent millions of dollars the past two years unwittingly having illegal work done on their homes.

They're victims of a county contractor's licensing scam involving at least 178 companies, stolen computer pass codes and shoe boxes full of money for three county employees -- one of them now a fugitive. Officials have recovered $250,000 from the men.

County officials say the three workers in the Building Code Compliance Office created the fake licenses and sold them to companies that couldn't obtain them or didn't want to wait to be licensed. Contractors paid $2,000 to $15,000 for each fake license.

After getting licensed and finding work, the companies received building permits and final inspections from the county.

''They made a mockery of the entire system,'' State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle said.
That's an understatement. Where were the checks and balances in this department? Was only one person in charge of giving out these licenses? There shouldn't be, and why weren't these men supervised.

Corruption is par for the course in Miami-Dade County. Read this post of mine for a reminder. The Herald article continues.

News of the scheme prompted several Miami-Dade cities to make plans to halt some construction -- and generated a host of questions from property owners.

In Coral Gables, building and zoning officials planned today to stop construction on about 45 properties being worked on by 21 contractors.

Two properties to be checked: The Biltmore Hotel, which underwent electrical work. And 80-year-old Ann Munley's swimming pool in Country Club Prado.

''Oh my goodness. What is this going to do to me and my pool?'' asked a worried Munley, whose pool was resurfaced by Florida Paradise Pool & Patio.

Sweetwater, Miami Beach and several other municipalities were compiling lists.

So far, Miami-Dade police have identified about 3,300 victims in unincorporated parts of the county. Detectives said there is no telling how many others have been affected in the county or in its 34 municipalities. In an average year, the Building Code Compliance Office issues about 1,800 contracting licenses.
So the innocent homeowners are about to get screwed by bureaucratic incompetence and corruption. Or will Miami-Dade County compensate those affected? The Herald article makes no mention of any such plans.

County Manager George Burgess and Building Code Compliance Director Herminio Gonzalez said police and the building department were trying to reach anyone who had hired a contractor in the past two years.

They promised that county inspectors would revisit homes to check on work and that any money recovered from contractors will go toward additional costs to homeowners.
We have a Catch 22 here.

If work was done wrong by these contractors, it would have been picked up during the original house inspections.

If work was done right, then what do homeowners have to worry about. Does it matter if the contractor was illegal? Are you telling me the work will have to be re-done just because the contractor was not supposed to be licensed.

The first supposes that the building inspectors did their jobs properly. Something I wouldn't take for granted. They can be paid off just as plausibly as those who gave out the licenses to start with.

This is a nightmare scenario for thousands of people in Miami-Dade County. They are liable to be paying more money for work that was already done. You really have to be a masochist to live in this state.

Linked to- Basil's Blog, Bright & Early,

Listed on BlogShares