Examples of Our Exposure to Consumer Fraud, Bullies and Liars…

“Everyone is Sticking to THEIR Stories. We Are Not Responsible.”

Mayor Dina Long

They Neglected to Raise Our House to the Correct Height

The FEMA Grant allowed for our house to be lifted 2′ above BFE. Based on our experience living in Sea Bright, we did not feel safe at this height and were willing to pay additionally for more block work. We discussed our concerns with the Engineer and Builder — and a new supplemental contract was drawn up for the additional block work providing us with more height. We gave a check to the builder, paid in full and it was signed off on, by all.

However, due to more incompetence, when the time came to lift the house, the Builder failed to have the house raised high enough to install our “prepaid block” and the Engineer and Architect were simply clueless — even after we told them that the height was incorrect. When we brought it everyone’s attention, they they enlisted the Sea Bright ladder truck from the fire department and dropped a string to measure the height of our house! (information, which was already included in the Grant Application and provided by multiple surveyors, the architect, and the engineers… none of whom could interpret their own plans or local code). Even after they were wrong, they refused to force the Builder to honor his contract with us and raise the house to the agreed elevation that they all signed off on (and we paid for). The Builder was hell-bent on lowering the house and wasn’t going to take a loss due to his ineptitude. So instead of helping us, the Borough gave us a formal quote from the builder, which stated, we had 24 hours to pay him an additional $38,500.00 in order for him to lift the house to the elevation it should have been when he started the job, or else he was lowering the house. More threats and bullying! Again, the Engineer, Architect and Borough signed off on this.

Incidentally, the bigger picture prior to all this nonsense, was the discussion of our height concerns during a large meeting at Borough Hall with NJOEM, FEMA, T&M Associates, the Borough Architect and the Borough officials. When we mentioned the various studies and research of historic tidal datum and the fact that we would be experiencing even greater tidal surge, larger storms etc. — therefore wanting our house as high as feasible, we were laughed at by the Borough and T&M. They actually mocked us. In fact, the Borough Administrator barked and said, “if the water level rises in the way you are saying, the whole town will be under!” Not too long after, enter “Superstorm Sandy” — the worst hurricane this town had seen to date. He also had asked us, “why did you buy a house in Sea Bright anyway? Everyone knows it floods.” Nice. He no longer works here…

Lowering Our House on Rotten Sill Plates

In order to generate extra $$$$, all the professionals involved in this project, colluded with the builder — an attempt to redefine a standard building concept: the sill plate. Taking something that was already included in the $33K architectural plans, enumerated in the Grant application and redefining it to some made up term, so that it would not be included in the Builder’s contract. They had a meeting to specifically inspect the severely rotten “sill plates” to be replaced, and then later renamed the sill plates “blocking” — thus allowing the builder to bill for work outside of the his contracted price. Suddenly sills became an ambiguous term and they were no longer included. We were promptly provided with yet another new contract, which stated that we were to pay him an additional $9,000.00 or they would lower the house onto rotten, uneven sills. We went to Mayor Dina Long with this concern. Instead of doing anything about this corruption, she surprisingly said, “My hands are tied. Everyone is sticking to their stories. Just give him (the builder) the extra $9K and make him go away. Move on with your lives, because we are not responsible.” You just can’t make this stuff up. A lie only runs until it is over taken by the truth. The truth is on its way…

Plan detail showing sill assembly, as bid on by builder.
Plan detail indicating inspection and repair of existing sills, framing members and sheathing, as bid on by builder.

The Threatening Proposal
We Should Pay For Their Stupidity or Give us 38K in 24hrs or Else!

All frauds, like the wall daubed with untempered mortar… always tend to the decay of what they were devised to support.

Richard Whately

Author: Laurie