Sick 9/11 first responder, wife allegedly ‘duped’ into buying flood-prone condo while downsizing
A sick 9/11 first responder and his wife say they were “duped” while trying to downsize after the condo they just bought in the Town of Newburgh flooded five days after moving in.
“The water was coming in from up in here,” Gary Smith says, while pointing 2 feet above the floor by his front door.
Gary and Kerri Smith have a serious case of buyer’s remorse after purchasing the unit at Parr Meadow and moving in last month. They say no one told them the unit was prone to flooding and that it flooded before they bought it in August, and again Dec. 17.
“Somewhere along the lines, someone didn’t disclose to us this place is a swimming pool,“ says Kerri Smith.
Gary Smith is a New York state Department of Transportation employee who cleaned up at ground zero in New York City after the 9/11 terror attacks and is now suffering from advanced 9/11-related cancer.
His wife was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2022 and is on a leave of absence from her job in homecare.
“All of this was really for us to live easily and now it’s a nightmare,” Gary Smith says.
The couple say the water was coming in so quickly during the flooding in December that they couldn’t get out of their front door and instead had to climb out a window with the help of a handyman. They say they lost all of their clothes and that their other belongings have been in a storage pod since.
A new state law passed in September requires sellers to disclose if properties have flooded.
“The person who sold it to me lied,” said Kerri Smith. “Either we’ve been duped or someone didn’t do their jobs and protect us.”
The couple say their insurance isn’t covering the damages, but that the homeowners’ association, Spinnaker, is fixing the unit – which had to be gutted. The Smiths say their realtor claims he didn’t know about the flooding and allege they were told not to get an inspection before buying the newly renovated unit.
They’re living in a hotel while their condominium is fixed and say they’re worried about more flooding this week. The couple’s two dogs are being boarded in a kennel in the meantime, which has cost them $3,000.
“We don’t have a choice,” says Terri Smith. We are sick. We just can’t move right now.”
The Smiths say they are trying to find an attorney to help.
News 12 reached out to their realtor but didn’t hear back.