BY LISA J. HURIASH
A few months ago, Rose Barros noticed dark spots on her living room wall at St. Andrews Towers in Coral Springs, which is owned by the Archdiocese of Miami.
She said she suspected it was mold and reported the problem. Workers ripped out the wall but the spots are back. On Monday workers were scheduled to rip it out again.
“I’m aggravated because I take a breathing nebulizer in my room and it’s back again,” said Barros, 76.
A class-action lawsuit claims St. Andrews, the Archdiocese and Catholic Health Services knew units in the five-story complex at 2700 NW 99th Ave., had mold and in some cases tried to paint over them.
This is the second time the attorney in the case, Daniel Norton, has sued St. Andrews over mold. The first case, in 2002, was settled with a confidentiality agreement.
The latest suit claims the complex, occupied by low-income elderly residents, “should have remediated the problems before recruiting people to reside in these units with impaired indoor air quality.”
Attorney Tom Courtney, representing St. Andrews, said Norton has not tested for mold and his “interpretation of mold is subjective. There’s no evidence there’s any type of mold problems.”
But Norton said there is.
“I have personally witnessed mold growing . . . in 20 different apartments,” he said. “There’s nothing subjective about it.”
Norton said he’s not sure how many of the 432 units have mold issues because the Archdiocese “concealed and misrepresented the true nature of the environmental conditions.”
He said he is seeking unspecified damages to cover the tenant’s expenses for medical costs and mental anguish, among other issues.
Maria Miranda, vice president of public relations for Catholic Health Services, said there has never been wrongdoing and points to the case of Nick Molino, who is named in the suit.
“It’s curious that Mr. Molino — who has championed this effort — still resides at St. Andrews,” she said. “So it makes you wonder how concerned he is about any potential health hazards.”
But Molino, 66, said he is trapped. He pays $465 a month and “I can’t afford to move out.”
Note – Information on Riverstone Residential knowingly exposing tenants to extreme amounts of mold toxins at Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. katy