TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Hundreds of Olympus Pools customers are now left with unfinished projects, and many are stuck with bills and liens on their homes, after the company abruptly shut its doors over the weekend.
Olympus Pools has been the subject of a Better Call Behnken investigation for four months and hundreds of customers have turned to Consumer Investigator Shannon Behnken for help.
“I am paying monthly on a loan for a pool my family cannot enjoy,” said Christopher Deale, of Lutz. “Now there is no hope that Olympus will finish my pool and I don’t know who to trust.”
Olympus Pools owner James Staten posted an announcement to the company’s Facebook page on Saturday, saying that he had been forced by state regulators to voluntarily relinquish his license.
As a result, the company is not allowed to finish pools.
Staten’s full statement:
“Over the last several months at Olympus Pools we have endured constant negative media coverage encouraging viewers to file complaints with Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. As a result, the DBPR has forced us to voluntarily relinquish our license. This means we are no longer allowed to continue working for any of our customers. We have fought hard and would have continued to do so for as long it took to complete every project.”
“Although we are greatly disappointed in the decision, we understand the pressure that has been placed on the Department to act. We do not feel the decision is beneficial to our community or our customers, however it was not our decision to make. If it were up to us, we would continue working for our customers. We have enjoyed servicing the Tampa Bay area for close to 10 years. We are proud of the thousands of projects we have built and the work we have done for our community in that time. We are grateful for all of the support the vast majority of our former customers, employees, friends, family and neighbors have shown us during this time.“
This news comes just two weeks after Staten told our viewers he expected to finish all of the pools by Christmas.
But last week was a game changer for Olympus Pools. Angry subcontractors who claim they have not been paid by Olympus for work they have already completed moved forward with foreclosing on homes in order to get paid.
Many of those homeowners had already paid Olympus for the work, but that money was allegedly not turned over to the subcontractors.
The same day Better Call Behnken broke that story, another shoe dropped.
Jordon Hidalgo, a Pinellas County pool consultant who owns several pool companies including Pools by Jordan, announced he was stepping away from the company. This came just two months after Olympus announced Hidalgo had agreed to partner with the company 50/50 and help finish all of the pools.
Hidalgo issued this statement last week:
“As many of you are aware, I had agreed to purchase a sizable portion of Olympus Pools in late May. However, during our due diligence period, it became apparent that the company was not in the same position as it appeared originally. As a result, I have decided to cut my losses and am walking away from the opportunity. I am hoping the best for Olympus Pools and their customers.”
The news of Olympus’ closure comes amid numerous civil and criminal investigations.
Staten signed his settlement agreement with DBPR Monday. In addition to relinquishing his license, the agreement says Staten would have to pay fines of $1.43 million in order to obtain a Florida license again.
Homeowners can apply for Florida’s Homeowner’s Construction Recovery Fund, but it’s a complicated process and there are limits as to how much each homeowner could recover. Meanwhile, law enforcement investigations and the Florida Attorney General’s investigation continues.