PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The owner of Olympus Pools, the embattled and recently shuttered Lutz-based pool company, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to records reviewed by Better Call Behnken.
James Staten and his wife filed the bankruptcy petition on Oct. 6. The couple listed estimated assets between $500,001 and $1 million. Their estimated liabilities were listed at between $1 million and $10 million, according to the filing.
Court records indicate the Staten’s owe over $1.3 million on their mortgage. Olympus creditors include Revenue Recovery Services, an SBA loan through the Florida Business Development Corp., and $262,994.19 to American Express, among others.
According to the bankruptcy filings, Staten’s monthly budget is in excess of $17,000 and includes $2,150 for electricity, $1,000 for lawn care, and three cars for a combined $3,689.51.
Better Call Behnken has reported extensively on the hundreds of pool projects Olympus Pools failed to complete, and the unhappy customers left in the wake of its closure.
In one court filing, Staten claims that while “projected sales in 2020 was to reach 600 pools, that number came close to 900 by the end of the year.” The filing lays blame on a combination of unexpected delays in permitting, the rainy season, a labor and materials shortage, and staff members.
“The CFO, accountants, and bookkeeper whose job it was to oversee the financial health of the business combined negligence with complacency to create a tight situation going into the fall of 2020,” claims the court filing. It goes on to say that “at this time, several sales members and their sales managers left to start their own company and companies. They left behind hundreds of undersold jobs with poor expectations. Immediately upon their departure, they helped to inflame our client base, encouraging campaigns of BBB complaints and news media.”
Staten’s bankruptcy filing notes the “negative attention” Olympus pools was receiving impacted its ability to secure additional financing.
“Lyon Financial provides third-party financing to customers building a pool,” the filing states. “They refused to fund, and at the time of the closure in July of 2021, they hadn’t paid Olympus in five months. This includes finished work.”
Olympus Pools had obtained more work permits than its three largest regional competitors, according to court filings.
According to the bankruptcy filings, “with its reputation damaged, and all funding cut off, it was impossible to operate.”
Staten’s bankruptcy filing points to news coverage of Olympus Pools’ ongoing issues, such as Better Call Behnken’s extensive reporting on the company, as another catalyst towards its eventual demise.
Court records say that at “the end of each news story, viewers were encouraged to complain to the DBPR and the Attorney General’s office.”
Better Call Behnken reported in July that Olympus Pools voluntarily relinquished its business license.
Court records claim Staten drained his 401K account and sold off possessions in an attempt to keep his business afloat. It also says Staten and his family pulled their children from school and moved out of the area because of the backlash against Olympus.
“In the last year, it felt as if a family member had died, and Debtor [Staten] is being accused of it,” court records say.
This is a breaking news story. Please check back as this story will be updated when more information is made available.