Bradenton, Florida- New discoveries by the 10 News Investigators raise questions about possible preferential treatment for KB Home by a Manatee Co. buildinginspector.
The Willowbrook Townhomes are crumbling and while KB Home has promised to continue trying to repair the units, Manatee County Commissioners have asked the building department to look into the inspection process at the complex between 2007 and 2010.
John Barnott, Building and Development Services Director for the county, tells 10 News he hasn't investigated old inspections, but the 10 News Investigators did and found a reoccurring trend: numerous inspectors failing KB Home for a specific inspection, but one of their counterparts, Gary Brelish, later approving the inspection.
While failures and re-inspections are not uncommon, there were significant oddities in Brelish's work, such as listing a Hurricane Strapping Inspection as "not required" when it's mandated by state law.
Barnott says he hasn't re-inspected the original Willowbrook inspections because he hasn't seen anything to indicate the homes were deficient.
As for missing hurricane straps and faulty construction identified by an independent contractor, Barnott indicated the mistakes may have happened after his inspectors approved the properties.
"There's always a concern," Barnott said in response to a 10 News Investigators question about the failing homes and questionable inspections, "(but) there's not much we can do about it now, is there?"
If you've been a victim of poor KB Home construction, contact the 10 News Investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous KB Home coverage:
9/26/12 -Willowbrook victims seeking legal help
9/19/12 - Frustrated homeowners confront KB executive
9/13/12 - 10 News reveals KB whistleblowers tried to warn homeowners
8/8/12 - Willowbrook homeowners meet with state senator
8/4/12 - Homeowners demanding justice from KB Home