A Plant City contractor is on the hook for a faulty wall installation at a construction site in Tampa that resulted in a cascading domino effect, nearly ruining an entire townhome project.
On July 4, 2015, a third-floor masonry wall collapsed at the site of a pair townhomes being developed on a vacant lot at 206 Audubon Ave. in Tampa. The failure, due to improper bracing, caused surrounding walls to cascade, with estimated damage of nearly $100,000.
American Zurich Insurance Company was the insurer of 206 Audubon LLC, the St. Petersburg-based owner of the property. Audubon was incorporated in 2013 by Sand Key Management I LLC, which is managed by Jeffrey Troy “Jeff” Craft, a 42-year-old German native.
American Zurich made payments of nearly $100,000 to 206 Audubon to cover the cost of rebuilding.
Zurich is suing the subcontractor hired to build the wall that collapsed for compensatory damages, interest and costs.
Among the contractors on the project, Jessie’s Construction, owned by Jose Moreno of Plant City, was responsible for properly securing the wall. Jessie’s was subcontracted specifically to build masonry walls.
BayLawsuits reported that Jessie’s Construction dissolved in 2014 after failing to file an annual report. A week before the Audubon site accident, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the contractor $5,800 for four safety violations, three of them designated “serious.” Records show neither Jessie’s Construction or Moreno have an associated contractor’s license.
According to Baylawsuits, Moreno — a Mexico native — was arrested and charged with DUI in February 2016. He previously was arrested for DUI in 2008, and for criminal mischief in 2006.
Masonry walls are typically made of brick and cement, but the suit does not specify the construction materials used.