TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Huggins family loved the back yard of their new home on East Osborne Avenue in Tampa and the location across from a church, but they claim the old adage location, location, location becomes a problem after that other developed.
First the unknown termites.
Joe Mendoza ran the Wood Destroying Organisms (WDO) Report in March, stating the house was termite free, but it was later revealed that he was not a licensed exterminator.
By the time Army Veteran Jonah Huggins and his wife moved into their new home, the beetles had already moved in.
“The termites just swarmed all over the place,” said Huggins.
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Huggins, who served in Afghanistan, bought the house on a VA-backed loan. A VA spokesman said the agency is not looking into exterminator licensing but is expecting its loan partners to do so.
“No comment,” Mendoza said when asked about the paperwork.
The Huggins mortgage broker did not respond to a request for comment.
“He said I can pay for it later,” said Huggins.
Huggins said Magnum Pest Control has since fumigated the house, with the company owner saying he wanted to “do the right thing”.
Mendoza has since been fined $ 9,000 by the Florida Department of Agriculture.
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Huggins, still having no idea how bad the termite damage is, was even more shocked when he tried to use the toilet.
“After flush number three or four, sewage came from the shower and under the toilet in both bathrooms,” said Huggins.
According to the seller, the house was plugged into the city’s sewers, but a plumber hired by Huggins discovered that the first floor was connected to a collapsed septic tank.
The floor had to be hammered with compressed air and the pipes replaced up to the street.
“Honestly, I’m embarrassed that that would happen,” said Huggins. “I kind of thought that the home inspector would protect me from such things or that it would be revealed.”
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Darlene Allen, the owner of SDA Enterprises, LLC, sold the house to Huggins, said 8 On Your Side she knew nothing about the septic system or the termites.
But 8 On Your Side received a WDO report in January that found there was evidence of termite damage and Allen confirmed she owned the house when that document was signed.
“I do not know that [WDO] report, ”she said.
Huggins has filed a fraudulent secrecy and negligence lawsuit.
His attorney Alex Mindrup said it was hard to believe the owners didn’t know about the termites and the septic tank.
“They owned it for two years while they flipped it,” said Mindrup. “We think they knew.”
He said the house would have been difficult to sell if the septic tank and termite problems had been exposed.
“But if you don’t disclose it, maybe you can sell it to someone like my customers,” said Mindrup.
Huggins said the riot had made the house uninhabitable for his family.
“It was just a shock to me and my wife,” said Huggins. “We’re done.”
He said he spent more than $ 30,000 and the lawsuit is asking the court to order Allen to buy back the house.
Huggins is also seeking damages from Allen’s broker Laura Keyes and her broker Dalton Wade, who are also named in the lawsuit. Keyes has not returned multiple requests for comment. Someone who answered the phone in Dalton Wade said they had been advised “not to comment” just before hanging up.