TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa city councilman has requested help from a city agency for a resident whose unfinished home is the focus of an investigation by city inspectors and the fire department.
Community Redevelopment Agency Manager Cedric McCray has been asked to research the availability of funding to help Mary Browning “finish” her East Caracas Street home.
Browning and builder Victoria Hopps have been locked in a dispute over construction issues and three and a half years of delays since the contract to build the home was signed in November of 2018.
Two fires were discovered there last Wednesday about two days after an 8 on Your Side report revealed several complaints, including a lack of city inspections of the framing and part of the slab.
At one point during the Thursday council meeting, McCray referenced the news story.
“I got a text there was some foul play in the home,” McCray said.
McCray has not responded to questions about whether the CRA can help Browning.
Browning filed a complaint with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation about Hopps, who has denied she did anything wrong. Hopps does not have any other complaints on records with DBPR, according to the agency’s website.
Last week, Hopps said she sent the city a letter from an engineer who she claims said the framing is up to code.
But in an email, spokesperson Natalia Verdina said the letter was rejected.
“This has been reviewed and disapproved due to a lack of information on how the engineer arrived at their decision, i.e., testing, exposure of he concealed work, test borings, etc.,” she said
In a text message, Hopps said she forwarded the letter back to her engineer “for corrections.”
Hopps has blamed delays on Browning’s revisions and city permitting issues. She recently filed a lawsuit against Browning claiming she is owed nearly $91,000.
Browning, who denies she owes Hopps any money, said she paid her and other contractors about $170,000. The original contract stated the home would cost $165,000 to build and the project would be finished by early 2019.