After asking Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn for help with my Lennar nightmare, his office closes a case without a conversation or reading the information I sent. I responded with a list of questions. I’ll summarize the answers from the Mayor’s office and add a little commentary for context.
According to the email that prompted my questions, the Tampa Mayor’s office indicates:
The Planning and Development group issues a review and approve the land use, issue a permit, and complete inspections on the structure based on the minimum standard of construction. We do NOT perform quality control or even inspect components beyond the minimum standard provided by the code.
and continues with…
I researched your project and it had all of the required inspections. So our position would be that the home was constructed to the “minimum standard” of construction provided by the Florida Building Code (at the time of the permit).
Note: The ‘My commentary and thoughts’ section after each question was not sent to the Mayor’s office. These are my thoughts and commentary on the answers I received and just to add contenxt to further questions that the answers I am given in this nightmare just continiously raise more questions.
So my first question to the Mayor’s office was:
Q: I guess I am confused as to how defective workmanship can actually pass code? Is there a way to get all the documentation that showed it passed code?
A: Our code only covers certain items … for example we do not cover flooring, drywall(residential). We don’t test certain items beyond a pressure test and correct materials (plumbing gas etc), we do not water test a roof. We also only make sure the minimum standard is achieved: for example: 7/16 plywood is the min for wall sheeting and in some cases roof sheathing, sometimes they use ½ or 5/8 … we would still only verify the min was used 7/16 or better, or the minimum nail is a #6 at 6” or #8 at 6” oc for an application and they put a #10 at 6” oc. The roof material for the slope. Etc etc etc… we do not use levels on drywall for plumb, only on pipes to make sure they drain per code. We verify elevations on finish floor, but not the quality of the finish. I think you get the jest.
My commentary and thoughts: Actually, I ‘don’t get the jest’ because I don’t know what any of this means except Florida clearly needs to change ‘minimum standard’ and include a check that it’s actually done right. So in other words – it can meet code but not be done properly at all. Last, how did he ‘research my project’ when he didn’t even read the information I sent to him? Ok – that was actually a question. I told you – each answer in all of this prompts more questions from me.
The ‘land use’ reference quickly prompted my second question to the Mayor’s office:
Q: One of the concerns here is the land use. Specifically, the concern is what this land was used for before and why there was no required remediation after the 35-y/o Westinghouse factories were torn down. Would this be one of the offices that approved the land use here? If so, is there any documentation related to this?
A: This part comes from a different division so I cannot specifically answer these questions. The land is cleared and in the correct zoning district and we issue a permit based on their approval. There are many people who work through this process. I really don’t even know where to send you.
My commentary and thoughts: I still haven’t figured out the purpose of the EPA with this since land remediation is not ‘required but rather suggested.’ Clearly, nobody knows who authorizes the land use in the City of Tampa.
My third question to the Mayor’s office:
Q: If the Mayor can’t help who can?
A: Mr Fannin, I feel for you, but we do not and cannot get involved in civil matters.’
My commentary and thoughts: Every single person has said this. Is there nobody who can help in these matters? Why do we have the government then? Are they just there to build and spend budgets?
My last question to the Mayor’s office:
Q: How do I file a formal complaint with Mayor Buckhorn’s office against this builder? The Mayor must do something to protect others. This is widespread and not just in Tampa, but Mayor Buckhorn is responsible for the health and well-being of the Tampa residents and has impact on the businesses who impact the health and well-being of others.
How is he made aware of these issues and how should others and myself go about filing formal complaints with his Office?
A: Filing a complaint with the Mayor’s office is not the correct path. The Department of Business and Professional regulation has a vehicle that you can report the contractor and they will investigate if the case has merit. https://www.myfloridalicense.com/entercomplaint.asp?SID=
I know this link works if the investigator finds significant information to support the claim. I have seen fines come from utilizing this path.
Mayor Buckhorn has a link to contact his office on the website: https://www.tampagov.net/mayor/contact
If you chose to contact the mayor please let them know that you have communicated with me please.
My commentary and thoughts: I already told this person that there was an active investigation with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Secondly, what exactly is a fine going to do in all this? I need help facilitating a resolution for a problem that only continues to get worse over the last 4.5 years.
So great. You’re essentially telling me to send another email to someone else at the office. No thanks.
I have not yet decided if I will respond again to the Mayor’s office, as I haven’t any clue as to what the point would be. If you have any suggestions, contact me and let me know.
Previous communication with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s office: Mayor Bob Buckhorn’s Office Responds: We Can’t Help