by PAT RAIA, [email protected]
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has filed suit against Olympus Pools, Inc. and its owner James I. Staten, Jr. for allegedly accepting payments for contracted pool services that were never provided.
Moody said since March 2021 the Florida Attorney General’s Office has received more than 200 consumer complaints amounting to an alleged total loss of $8 million.
In Hernando County, as of July 20, Staten, doing business as Olympus Pools, violated civil codes by having six inactive building permits with building division responsibility and 16 others with a private service provider. The violations represented thousands of dollars in fines.
Firm owner Staten was ordered to appear before a Hernando County Special Master of the Hernando County Building Division on Oct. 13 in connection with the violations.
According to Hernando County Public Information Coordinator Kasey Hyde the case has been put on hold.
“They learned that they (Olympus Pools, Inc.) had filed bankruptcy, and the judge put a stay on the case until the bankruptcy is completed,” Hyde said.
In her civil complaint, Moody seeks to permanently ban Olympus, Inc., and Staten from engaging in certain activities connected to the pool construction industry and would require the company and its owners to provide restitution or to reimburse customers affected by the alleged lack of performance.
Olympus and Staten could also be liable for more than $2 million in civil penalties and other enhanced penalties for violating the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Moody said.
“Floridians paid thousands of dollars upfront in order to have pools professionally constructed on their properties. What many received in exchange for these huge payments were incomplete pools and a lack of funds to pay another company to complete the work,” she said. “ We will not permit these deceptive trade practices in Florida.”
Moody filed the civil complaint in Florida’s 13th Judicial Circuit Court in Hillsborough County.
In addition to the litigation, the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is assisting law enforcement with a criminal investigation.
Meanwhile, Olympus customers who were affected by the lack of performance may file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General’s Office by calling 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.