Watchcase Fireplace Dispute Sparks a Lawsuit
Sandra Foschi and Bill Evans liked that the Watchcase Condominiums complex was just a block from Sag Harbor Main Street and a few blocks from their boat, but wanted to make some changes to their unit before purchasing it in 2015.
A dispute over the installation of a $ 33,000 gas fireplace in a residence in the Watchcase Condominium complex in Sag Harbor has led to a four-year legal battle between Sandra Foschi, the owner of the WLNG radio, and Cape Advisors, the developers of the property, guided.
In 2013, before the complex was built, Ms. Foschi, who lived in New York City and planned to move to Sag Harbor full-time with her husband, Bill Evans, WLNG’s program director, bought a two-bedroom, one-floor apartment Terrace. “We liked that the building is one block from Main Street and we are boaters, so we are a few blocks from our boat,” she said. Before the purchase was completed in June 2015, the couple asked Cape Advisors to make some changes to the layout. “We paid to move the kitchen to a new location and we paid to have a three-sided fireplace installed,” she said.
“We were hoping to have a warm and cozy place,” said Mr. Evans, and although the developers’ installation of the fireplace was expensive, “we wanted it to be done right and were willing to pay more for it, because Sandra suffered. ” by a fire in her Manhattan apartment that destroyed everything she owned. ”
Although it was costly to have the developers install the fireplace, Sandra Foschi and her husband Bill Evans “wanted it to be done right and were willing to pay more for it because Sandra suffered from a fire in their Manhattan apartment,” who had erased everything “. their belongings. ”
The fireplace had not yet been installed when Ms. Foschi visited the premises a few days before the purchase was completed. “Bill and I go in, we turn left and there is no fireplace, we wonder where is the fireplace?” she remembered.
She agreed to complete the purchase and wait for Cape Advisors to complete the installation. “It was controversial after it closed,” she said of her interactions with the developer. “We didn’t live here all day at the time, and they were slow. The people we saw working by the fireplace were the same people who raked leaves and worked as security. The only people who are allowed to touch these units must be authorized “by the manufacturer.”
Ms. Foschi decided to take legal action when the installation finally stalled. “What drove us over the edge was this,” said Mr. Evans. “The whole thing was sheetrocked, but there were holes in the sheetrock, and there was a big hole down there where the gas valve is, and they said to us, ‘We’re done. This is what you get.’ ”
“They tell us it’s ready, but how do you turn it on”, Ms. Foschi remembered when she asked. “We paid $ 33,000 for it and no one has ever shown us how to turn it on or where the remote is. We never had the pleasure of seeing it switched on. “
On July 7, 2017, she filed a lawsuit against Sag Development Partners, formed by Cape Advisors to develop the property, for multiple “flaws” in the unit, including the chimney installation, for more than $ 1 million Compensation. The installation “created a dangerous and unsafe condition that made the fireplace unsuitable for its intended use and led to several violations of the electrical installation,” according to the lawsuit. The installation procedures recommended by Ortal, the manufacturer of the fireplace, were not followed, according to the lawsuit. “Among other things, a current-carrying line was installed in the immediate vicinity of the gas, which was left in place.”
Craig Wood, an owner of Cape Advisors, said on an affidavit that Ms. Foschi didn’t select the fireplace model until after the purchase was complete and the company started installing it in 2015. In October of that year she had Chris. hired Mahosky, an electrician from Middle Island M&B Electrical Contracting, to do “fireplace preparatory work,” he said, and during his visit to the unit, Mr. Mahosky noticed that Ms. Foschi had made changes to the apartment. including adding an ungrounded chandelier over the bathtub and sockets installed without box sleeves, which is against the code. Cape Advisors then emailed Ms. Foschi to inform her of the violations and included an invoice from Mr. Mahosky for the correction work. Within an hour of sending the email, Mr. Wood said Ms. Foschi called Mr. Mahosky and “yelled obscene screams at him and called him sweetheart [Mr. Mahosky’s] Work was incomplete, the plaintiff also advised [him] that he was not welcome in the unit. ”
Ms. Foschi said she and her husband were in Mexico when Mr. Mahosky was admitted to their home without their consent. He also seemed to be concentrating on everything except “the elephant in the room – the fireplace,” she said. Mr. Mahosky was the last electrician to work on the fireplace, Mr. Wood said, and by that point the fireplace was “about 98 percent complete but required an electrician to install a power adapter and other craftsmen to install one Housing to build. No unsafe conditions were left in Plaintiff’s unit. ” According to an invoice submitted as evidence by Cape Advisors, the company also hired Home Crafts Inc., an authorized Ortal dealer, to install the fireplace.
“I’ve spoken to the plumber myself and there is nothing wrong with the way it was installed,” Cape Advisors’ attorney Andrea Roschelle said in an interview on Tuesday. “I don’t curse their complaint, however [Cape Advisors] Ms. Roschelle has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and pointed out, among other things, that she had established through a “document avalanche” that Ms. Foschi had repeatedly refused access to the unit. Let the deficiencies ”as a result remedy. . . let go and discharge [the firm] from any obligation to remedy these alleged defects. “
However, the manufacturer has encountered an error during the installation. Ms. Foschi was so concerned about the safety of the fireplace that she contacted Ortal and they sent Scott Clemence, a senior technical advisor, to inspect it. According to the inspection report, Mr. Clemence highlighted 10 issues with the installation. “There is combustible material exposed in the Chase Cave,” he said, referring to the structure around the smoke tube, noting that combustible surfaces were not covered with drywall refractory. The chase “appears to have been built with scrap or cut-off parts, and as such, the structural integrity … may be insufficient and potentially a violation of the New York Code,” he said. He also noted that “there is a loose electrical outlet under the unit to provide power to the fireplace and vent. This is not part of a proper installation.” In light of Mr. Clemence’s report, Spencer Lowe, a general manager for Ortal’s US operations, recommended that the fireplace be “refurbished”.
“We let the other residents know that this was a hazard and that their own chimneys could have the same problems,” Evans said.
Last month, the couple went to see James Esposito, Sag Harbor’s new construction inspector, to discuss their predicament. “He is a man of action,” says Ms. Foschi. “He got an authorized chimney installer and they were both in the apartment when the old chimney came down and the new one came up.”
After four years of litigation, Ms. Foschi is now representing in the lawsuit against Cape Advisors in order to save costs. “The legal process is a long, frustrating and expensive process,” she said. “You didn’t make me an offer of settlement and I want my day in court.”