The Palm Court of Miami condo is in Miami’s Fontainebleau area, located on 8th Street and northwest 82nd Avenue.
But by looking at it, you’d think it’s in the middle of a war zone.
“I feel that I live in a condemned building,” said Alma Largaespada, a unit owner.
Alma and her neighbors say the problems began in 2016 when they hired a company called Dynamic Restoration to repair cracks, replace railings and paint the two buildings.
They say their condo association took out two loans to pay for the work.
The unit owners are paying those loans in a 10-year special assessment.
“We pay our regular association fee and every month we have a special assessment that was done for the repairs of the building,” Largaespada said.
But in 2018, they say the work stopped, but the owner of Dynamic Restoration, Ricardo Mesa, kept cashing the checks they paid him.
“We noticed that invoice per invoice, we paid and paid and paid and we just saw nothing done,” says Largaespada.
She showed NBC6 Responds checks totaling $781,000 that she says Mesa cashed.
Video of a condo association meeting last summer shows Ricardo Mesa telling residents “I’m the bad guy, I’m guilty,” after they start pressuring him for answers.
“Obviously several owners got very agitated and feisty because they see that he is not being a man of his word,” Largaespada said.In a statement,
Mesa told NBC6 “…some of the unit owners had placed their hands on me and pushed me,” and after cops were called out, he left.
“He turned around, walked away and left us without answers,” Largaespada said.
After that, Mesa sent an email to the condo owners saying work “will restart on Monday, July 22” and be completed “In 90 calendar days.”
When that didn’t happen, the neighbors called NBC6 Responds.
“We want answers, we want completions and we just want this over with because it’s a nightmare for us,” Largaespada said.
By email, Mesa told NBC6 Responds“most of the delay associated with the project is Board mismanagement in failure to prepare and/or properly obtain funding for the work needed to be performed.”
He also signed a new affidavit stating he would “complete all work at the 8231 building by no later than December 20, 2019” but that didn’t happen.
Mesa told us it’s because the association didn’t fulfil their obligations outlined in that affidavit that stated they had to pay him “$15,000” and “$5,000” more.
The association admits a $5,000 check bounced because they were in the middle of a board change but says since the beginning Mesa was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars and hasn’t finished “because he expended the entirety of our first loan.”
While the battle between the association and Mesa continues, the people who live there say they are stuck.
“I have thought of moving but honestly I don’t think anybody would want to buy this property in the deteriorating condition that it is,” Largaespada said.
Mesa's company, Dynamic Restoration, is licensed with the state under a general contractor named Robert Guzina.
NBC 6 Responds tried contacting him but didn’t hear back.
People in a situation like this can file a complaint with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation that issues contractor licenses.
You can do so by clicking on this link.