Montrose fire victims waiting to move back into condos 19 months later
A group of condo owners is living in limbo as they wait for construction on their condos to be completed.
A fire in August 2021 burned 12 condo units at Coachlight Square Condominiums in Montrose.
Now 19 months later, the fire victims feel they are being victimized again because the project to repair their homes was supposed to be completed in November but has yet to be completed.
"We just want to go home, all we want to do is go home," said Judy Coppolo, condo owner.
A group of the impacted condo owners gathered Monday outside gates surrounding their condos as construction work continues.
The residents tell News 12 that the delays have cost them both emotional and financial hardship.
"I not only pay mortgage, I pay common charges and have to pay rent. It's costing well over $5,000 a month just to live and survive," said Bruce Fulgum, condo owner.
The residents blame the condo's board, also referred to as the homeowners association, for mishandling the project after receiving insurance money from the fire. It's something residents feel has taken away leverage to ensure the project is completed in a timely manner.
"Incredibly, this homeowners association turned over a check for the full amount to Belfor, the developer without any architectural plans, without any building, without any demolition, as time went by nothing was done," said Dr. Richard Becker, Cortlandt town supervisor.
Becker said the town is stepping in because the delays are so chronic.
He reached out to the New York Attorney General's Office, which is now looking into the matter.
News 12 reached out to a Belfor Property Restoration for comment.
"Belfor at no time requested full payment up front and has still not been paid in full for this job," said Stephen DeLillo, of Belfor Property Restoration.
She also said many of the delays can be attributed to industrywide shortages in material and labor.
DeLillo added the most recent delays are being caused by work on a gas line by Con Edison.
A Con Edison spokesperson told News 12: "Con Edison has been working with the building's management, their contractors and the town to restore gas and electric service in a safe and expeditious manner. Our on-site gas work began last week and is nearing completion. Once that work is finished and the customer's contractor has submitted the necessary documentation, we will be able to safely reintroduce gas service. We recently received the required documentation to restart electric service, and we are scheduled to meet with the customer's contractor later this week."
Meanwhile residents have hired an attorney who criticizes the condo's board and said they mishandled the project.
"The board of managers have taken the ostrich approach of how to handle this, by putting their heads in the sand," said Ronald Sher, attorney. "They have totally abandoned their unit owners who deserve better."
News 12 reached out to the condo board's president for comment and did not hear back.
There is a public meeting focused on the project scheduled for 1 p.m. Wednesday at Cortlandt Town Hall.