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Condo Owners Seek Millions in Damages

April 04, 1998|NICK GREEN

Alleging construction defects and fraud, the owners of 218 leaking and cracked Camarillo Springs condominiums have filed a $10-million lawsuit against the developer.

Woodland Hills-based attorney Alexander Robertson IV said the suit is the largest civil fraud case ever filed in Ventura County.

Filed Thursday in Ventura County Superior Court on behalf of the Camarillo Miramonte Homeowner's Assn., the suit names almost a dozen companies and individuals the homeowners contend are to blame for serious geotechnical defects and promised repairs that failed to solve the problems.

Defendants include Castle & Cooke, a subsidiary of Dole Foods Co., which built the homes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, selling them for prices ranging from $175,000 to $205,000.

The suit alleges that 34 of the units have serious subsidence and cracking problems. In addition, the plaintiffs allege that contractors hired by the builder performed $3 million in phony repairs to leaking roofs, windows and balconies between 1995 and 1997, paying illegal kickbacks to the construction manager supervising the work.

Castle & Cooke officials released a statement denying the allegations, saying the company has completed most of the needed repairs.

Robertson recovered $9.65 million on behalf of the Hidden Canyon Homeowner's Assn. in Thousand Oaks in 1995, which he said is the largest published settlement in the county's history for homeowners in a construction defect suit.

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