Condo owners in Midtown high rise file suit over balcony repair bills

ATLANTA — The residents of a familiar Midtown high rise are suing their homeowners association after paying thousands to fix their crumbling balconies.

Residents of 1280 West said they were forced to pay $5,000, whether or not their balcony was damaged.

Channel 2's Jim Strickland talked to some residents who said the insurance company should have paid for the $2 million in repairs instead of them.

The issue was with balcony railings that were coming loose because of rail mountings that were crumbling

Strickland talked to former resident Tim Peacock, who said he had to take a loan out from his 401K to pay for the repairs. An inspection found that water destroyed the grout that was holding the railings in place.

In the class action lawsuit, residents said that the HOA hit up residents for the cash rather than making insurance pay for it.

Attorney Matt Wetherington said the HOA relied on the building manager's chief engineer to make the decision about how the repairs should be handled.

The only problem? Strickland found that the engineer was actually an impostor.

Joe David supposedly had an engineering license and 20 years of experience.


Strickland did some digging and found that 20 years ago, David was being prosecuted for killing someone while he was driving drunk. Records show he just got out of prison 14 years ago.

"He's not an engineer, and he's not qualified to do this kind of work," Wetherington said.

Peacock said he found out about the phony engineer when he read the lawsuit.

"I don't want to say it's par for the course, but it wasn't shocking, put it that way," Peacock said.

Strickland called the number for David that management gave him, but he was told it was a wrong number and the person who answered the phone hung up. Strickland left messages and voicemails for several senior leaders and got no response.

"(The building) has the potential of being an awesome place to live, but something has to change about the way it is managed," Peacock said. "I really just want my money back. That's all I'm concerned about."

The building's HOA directors and the management company have to tell their side of the story to the judge by the end of the month.

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