Mounting pressure from angry residents forcing Margate officials to finally consider litigation.
Margate will demand that Mathis Construction and it’s insurance company, fix homes damaged by recent street work along Amherst Ave.
Listen to audio clips from SEPT. 2, 2021 meeting of the Margate Commissioners.
City Solicitor Scott Abbott: We may need to use litigation to force the repair of these Margate homes. We feel somewhat confident and that we can go forward without jeopardy.
At least 7 homes along Amherst Ave were damaged, some severely, by the ongoing sewer and street project.
Allegedly, the contractor hired by the City of Margate, dug too deep. They hit a higher than expected water table. ‘De-watering’ tactics ineffective. Sink holes formed. The work damaged nearby home foundations, driveways, walls and decks, etc.
Affected Margate homeowners say property damage was caused by ineffective ‘dewatering’; the removal of water from a ditch or hole.
While Mathis Construction did remove the rising water, they may also have disrupted the soil under adjacent homes, too.
Donna T., 301 N Clermont. We have to move out of our home. It needs to be demolished and rebuilt.
We paid our taxes. We have to pay homeowners insurance. But no home to live in for 9 months.Donna Tasca
Margate City CFO: This is a perfect example of why it’s so important to have indemnification language and insurance in a contract. Thankfully, it was there. The city is protected.
Donna T., 301 N Clermont: Margate Solicitor, Scott Abbott, said he’s sympathetic. We’re into 9 months of nothing being done. Help us. You go chase the contractor. We’re going to have to move out of our home because it’s going to have to be destroyed and rebuilt.
Margate Mayor Becker: We are trying.
Margate was replacing old sewer outlets and drainage pipes along Amherst Ave. This included upgrading intersections, pavements, safety signage, complete with ADA compliant corners.
The Tasca family of Clermont Ave. has a cracked foundation under the house.
Substantial structural damage that could get worse, especially during storms, says Donna Tasca. Our house has sunk. Roof damage. Cabinets coming off the wall. Steel support beams needed to be installed under our home.
Barbara McHugh’s home on Amherst has cracked concrete slabs and walls. Sinking driveway, a damaged sprinkler system and fencing.
Margate uses engineering services of Remington & Vernick and Ed Dennis.
According to the contract, Mathis Construction is responsible for any property damage caused by their work.
Homeowners having little success dealing with the City of Margate, Mathis Construction and associated insurance companies.
Mathis Construction is based out of Little Egg Harbor Township.
Mathis Construction and the City of Margate likely to end up in court.
Amherst street project started November 2020. Project stopped February 2021 when neighbors complained of damage to their properties.
Homeowners bearing expense of hiring structural engineers to determine actual damage to their homes. Legal fees are mounting.
Some homeowners still waiting for compensation offers. Others getting low-ball offers. One particular homeowner may need to rebuild their home at a cost of $600,000. Others may have repairs costing $100k+.
Concerned neighbors want the city to step up and assist.
Public Comment from Dennis G., 7702 Amherst Ave, Margate.
Were City engineering plans flawed? Did contractor make mistakes?
Resident Dennis G: We want restitution from Mathis Construction and Travelers Insurance. We knew on February15 that homes were destroyed and properties were damaged, but we (City of Margate) continued to pay the contractor. We already paid Mathis Construction 98%. They’re not going to negotiate.
Jay Weintraub, President of the Margate Homeowners Association says: Margate city officials should do more to help these affected residents. Through no fault of their own, 7 Margate taxpayers have suffered greatly from a poorly executed street & drainage project. This could happen to any Margate homeowner.