PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – As the number of customer complaints continues to grow against a Lutz-based pool company, a formal investigation has officially been started by two Tampa Bay sheriff’s offices.
Spokespersons with the Pasco and Polk County Sheriff’s Offices confirmed Friday to News Channel 8 an investigation is now underway regarding allegations of fraud against Olympus Pools.
8 On Your Side’s Shannon Behnken has spoken to numerous angry homeowners who say Olympus Pools owner James Staten has left hundreds of unfinished pools in seven Tampa Bay counties.
Due to a large number of complaints recently, the Better Business Bureau revoked the pool company’s accreditation.
Public records in Pasco and Hillsborough counties show the pandemic brought Olympus a lot of new business. However, only a fraction of those jobs are complete.
State regulators and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody have gotten involved and an active review into customer complaints is underway.
Staten sat down with Consumer Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken earlier this month and vowed to finish all 280 unfinished pools across the Tampa Bay area.
“At the end of the day, the buck stops with me, and I take full responsibility for that,” Staten said.
The owner said his problems started after experiencing coronavirus-related material and labor shortages.
Staten sent the following statement to 8 On Your Side after learning about the open investigations Friday afternoon:
“At this time, our company and our attorneys have not been made aware of any law enforcement investigations. However, we have nothing to hide and have committed no crimes.
Despite the rumors, false allegations about us going out of business and erroneous media reports, we are still hard at work completing pools each and every day.
In the past two weeks, more than 20 pools have passed final inspections in Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
This week, eight pools have had concrete work completed. Brick and tile work has been completed on six pools. Five pools had electrical work completed. Seven pools had plumbing work completed. Three residences have had footers dug. Four residences have had footers poured with concrete, and supplies have been delivered to approximately 18 residences.
That is progress by any definition, and we are committed to finishing each of the pools we have started and have under contract.
We do not deny that this past year has been difficult due to COVID-19 and unforeseen issues resulting therefrom. As a result, we have had longer than expected delays, and we both apologize for any inconvenience this has caused, and appreciate the patience and understanding many of our customers have shown.
It is important to note, over the last decade we have completed thousands of pools and projects here in the Tampa Bay area, and we have every intention of finishing the remaining pools we have left to complete.
Having said that, if I, or my business, become under investigation by law enforcement, we will be fully transparent and comply with all law enforcement officials. We will do everything in our power to cooperate fully with law enforcement and assist them as needed.”James Staten, owner of Olympus Pools
To file a complaint against Olympus Pools, visit the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s website or the Attorney General’s website. If you are located in Pasco County, the sheriff’s office is asking that you reach out to them as well to report an incident with Olympus Pools.
Tune in to News Channel 8 at 6 p.m. for more information.