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East County Wednesday, May. 29, 2013 4 years ago

Willowbrook residents sued for defamation

by: Josh Siegel Staff Writer

A contractor selected in October to repair construction defects of condominiums in Willowbrook is suing two of the community’s residents for defamation.

John D. Campo of Nielsen, Price, Worthy, Campo, P.A. in Gainesville filed the suit on DueAll Construction’s behalf May 16 in Manatee County Circuit Civil Court against Willowbrook residents Andy Smith and Armando Oyola-Delgado.

The suit comes after KB Home, developer of Willowbrook, filed a lawsuit against the subcontractors — 41 of them — it contracted with to build the homes.

DueAll is not one of the contractors that originally helped build the homes.

Smith, a Willowbrook resident since 2006, created and runs a site, as a way for homeowners to communicate about their experience with KB Home.

In April, a post on the site said that DueAll has misrepresented its ownership, since residents only knew Sal Ventimiglia as the owner of the company, and knew nothing of co-owner Anthony Robbins.

The post alleges that DueAll hid Robbins ownership in the company because of his prior criminal conviction.

Robbins was sentenced to seven years probation in 2007 for trafficking cocaine.

Smith says he can’t trust DueAll to repair his home correctly.

“I am not going to be intimidated and I am not going to take down the truth,” Smith said. “This suit makes me more angry and more eager to get the truth out there. You shouldn’t be intimidated for doing the right thing.”

The suit states that Smith is “trying to discredit DueAll and its owners by portraying them as dishonest and lacking in moral character as a result of Robbins’ criminal conviction.”

It continues: “Smith’s assertions are without any merit or factual basis.”

The suit alleges that DueAll has suffered damages as a result of the publication of those statements and is entitled to recover them.

Oyola-Delgado is included in the suit because he created a banner detailing Robbins’ conviction that hangs on the tailgate of his pickup truck.

Delgado received a cease and desist letter April 26 warning of legal action for “casting DueAll in a derogatory and improper manner.”

Since August, homeowners in Willowbrook — a 272-unit town home community — have complained of moldy ceilings, sinking floors and water-damaged walls, among other problems.

Willowbrook’s homeowners association selected DueAll to complete repairs in October and the contractor is still making the repairs.


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