Bradenton residents sued by contractor for defamation - WFLA News Channel 8

Bradenton residents sued by contractor for defamation

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BRADENTON, FL (WFLA) -

Homeowners in Bradenton's crumbling Willowbrook condominium are in a fierce battle with their builder KB Home. That fight has landed two residents in a lawsuit.

Residents are dealing with balconies that are falling off and mold deep within their walls. They want KB Home to buy back their condos, and many of the residents have even taken up investigating what went wrong with the construction as a hobby.

Homeowner Andrew Smith runs the website, www.thekbhome.com, out of his garage. Residents post news stories about their troubles and note anything they find suspicious. It's some of that material that landed Smith and another resident in a defamation lawsuit.

"I feel this is a slap suit, used to intimidate me," Smith said. "I have done nothing wrong and will be cleared in a court of law."

The lawsuit, filed by Dueall Construction, based in Riverview, alleges Smith posted defamatory statements about the company's owners.

At question is material posted on the site about one of Dueall's owners' past felony conviction. The site said he is on probation.

No one with Dueall would comment for this story, but the suit says the website hurt the company's business.

Also named in the suit is one of Willowbrook's most vocal residents, Armando Oyola-Delgado. He plastered this sign, advertising the conviction, on the back of his truck.

Both residents say they question why this company was hired for this project, which could cost tens of millions.

They're not happy with the construction progress.

Dueall was not the original contractor but was hired to fix the mess at Willowbrook.  Construction began on the first of more than 50 buildings seven months ago. Contractors are currently working on four buildings but none are close to finished.

The Willowbrook HOA chose the construction company, but residents have since replaced many of the board members and question how the construction company was chosen.

Smith says he did nothing wrong because the information he posted is true. He says the conviction is relevant because it raises questions about the owner's character.

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