Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 9 WFTV News
February 21, 2015
Orange County -- Families at Blossom Park
Condominiums waited in line Tuesday morning to be among the first to get
help to move out of one of the most troubled
condominium complexes in the county.
"I have witnessed three murders since I lived here," one resident said.
|Orange County is offering residents
one month free at a hotel and another free month at their
new home, where ever that might be.
Since the complex was condemned a few weeks ago, people have
stayed in poor conditions.
City officials said the stairwells are unsafe, walkways have
been eroding away and the crime in the area is at all-time
Many said they couldn't afford to leave, but with the
county's help they might be able to get out of the troubled
"I am praying it is. We have all been waiting for
something to happen," a resident said.
Moving the residents will cost Orange County taxpayers. County officials
don't yet have the final costs, but Channel 9's Shannon Butler checked
and learned that The Econo Lodge where the county is putting residents
up charges about $70 a night. That would mean about $2,100 to put a
family up for 30 days.
|So far, 74 families have come forward
asking to be housed by the county. That could cost the
family more than $155,000.
"People need to know how much we care about what is
happening. I think we are going to see these families moving
to a better place. And whatever we can do to help, that we
want to do," George Ralls of Orange County said.
For those who own units at the complex,
they are concerned that their $50,000 investments will go
down the drain if problems at the complex aren't resolved
"This apartment is my income. I use this to pay my bills," one owner
In 2011, a receiver took over the complex and is in charge of fixing it,
but condo owner Lucy Balhy said those who are owners have seen no
detailed plan for the money.
"He asked me for $2,400 for this special assessment. He's has not
explained nothing. He does not have a claim. He has no engineer to see
what needs to be done," said Balhy.
This month owners received a letter from Frank Barber who wrote that the
money would go toward needed repairs.
Many owners said they don't have money for a special assessment, and
even if they did, they won't just hand it over.
Balhy said she wants a breakdown of all the money past and present
"He has known about his two or three months or longer than that and he
(doesn't) make any plans to do any fixes here, he just asks for money,"
Barber told Channel 9 that he doesn't yet know how much it would cost to
fix the building. He said the $2,400 per person assessment was an
"assumption" of cost for
Barber said there are 345 units in the complex that he is trying to
collect from. If he is able to get the money from each unit that give
him total nearly $830,000.
No one could tell Channel 9 if that would be enough money to cover the
cost of repairs.