The settlement, disclosed after a public records request, came Monday — a little more than a month after the state’s insurer of last resort was hit with what the Tampa Bay Times called “one of the largest verdicts ever against state-run Citizens — $12.7 million.”
“That’s the estimated amount it would take to stabilize 83 of the homes,” the paper reported last month. The case was settled after Citizens decided to appeal; it had at first declined to pay for repairs of damage caused by sinkhole activity.
Citizens spokesman Michael Peltier released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying the settlement “ensures condominium residents are made whole and necessary sinkhole repairs are completed to protect the residents, their neighbors and the community.
“… Citizens will pay claims for repairs on sinkhole damage up to policy limits for nearly 100 policyholders residing at the complex located in Palm Harbor,” he said.
“We are pleased that a settlement has been reached,” Citizens CEO Barry Gilway added. “Citizens’ objective has always been to assure that necessary remediation takes place and that a contract for repairs has been executed. This settlement assures that funds are paid specifically to complete verified repairs. “
Ted Corless, the attorney for the condominium association, could not be reached at his Tampa office.
In a Monday email released to Florida Politics, Gilway told state Rep. Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican, that “a settlement agreement has been reached on all Cloverplace claims.”
Gilway thanked Sprowls for his “assistance in obtaining a resolution.” Cloverplace is in Sprowls’ district.
“The people of Florida have a right to expect an insurance company operating in our state, especially a government-backed insurance company, to live up to their obligations,” Sprowls told Florida Politics on Tuesday.
“The residents of Cloverplace rallied together to bring about justice for their cause,” he added. “I’m happy for each resident of Cloverplace and was pleased to work with the parties involved to ensure that these wrongs were righted.”
Gilway also said Tallahassee lawyer-lobbyist Marc Dunbar, recently appointed to the Citizens Board of Governors, “was extremely helpful in bring(ing) negotiations to a successful conclusion.”
Cloverplace is a duplex community off U.S. 19, The Times explained: “The 240 units are home to about 500 people, many of them retirees and young families.”
It added: “Even if owners wanted to sell and move, they would have a hard time. They would have to find cash buyers because banks won’t write mortgages on properties in sinkhole litigation.”