TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Since Better Call Behnken broke the story of a local pool contractor leaving hundreds of unfinished pools in seven Tampa Bay counties, state regulators and the Florida Attorney General have gotten involved.
Olympus Pools owner James Staten promises to finish every pool, but he has his work cut out for him, after starting so many pools at one time.
Meanwhile, 8 On Your Side’s ongoing investigation over the last week has sparked customers to flood the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation with complaints.
On Thursday, on the heels of Hernando County revoking Staten’s privilege to pull permits for new jobs, Staten told Investigator Shannon Behnken that he will not start new jobs in all Tampa Bay area counties. He said “a lot” of work is getting done on pools now.
Several consumers have sent photos of workers now on their job sites, but there is much work to be done. Some consumers still haven’t heard anything. Some customers signed contracts with the company more than a year ago, and many paid upfront for the entire project to get a discount.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said her office is aware of the situation.
“When we receive complaints, we always take complaints seriously,” Moody said. “Our lawyers review them, and like I said this matter is under active review.”
Staten blames the issues on material shortages and former sales people who sold too many pools.
Customers claim he has been unresponsive to their complaints, but public records show he’s been busy.
His Staten Holdings LLC took out a $1.5 million mortgage on March 11, 2021 from Commercial Business Funding Corporation. The collateral: Olympus’ Lutz headquarters and all assets.
The funding group involved says on its website it works “with companies unable to access financing from traditional sources.”
When asked about this mortgage, Staten said he didn’t fully understand it, but insisted he didn’t receive any of the money.
A spokesman for state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which oversees pool contractors, said they could neither confirm nor deny an investigation into the company but said the department wants to hear from anyone having an issue getting their pool completed.