Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy, residents of Lido Towers say that they have only received half of the money they need to complete repairs at the historic building and are now suing to get the rest.
During the storm, floodwaters filled the lower level of the building, at 2 Richmond Road in Lido Beach, causing extensive damage. Residents of the 184 condominiums in the building were displaced for about eight months, and roughly 35 units still remain unlivable. The structure sustained between $16 million and $17 million worth of damage.
But residents have been told that they will receive only $8 million to cover the repairs. Unit owners said they were under the impression that the building was insured for $46 million, including coverage of flood damage, but the condo board claims that a series of errors made by the building’s management and insurance agents caused a premium payment to go unnoticed, leading the Federal Emergency Management Agency to reduce the building’s coverage just weeks before the storm.
In July, most of the building’s residents began moving back in, but many of the building’s amenities are still not available. Those who still have not returned to the building will most likely not be able to until the board finds the money to continue repairs, whether through FEMA, litigation or loans, said Jonathan Wilkofsky, the attorney representing the condo owners.
“Everybody that lives in the building is very upset,” said resident Gary Weiss. “We’re just an innocent victim.”
The condo board is appealing to FEMA to revise the settlement, but is also suing both the current and former management companies and the insurance agency and agent, whose negligence, they say, caused the ordeal.
“[They] dropped the ball and allowed insurance to be reduced, and left the insured completely ignorant of what was going on,” said Wilkofsky.
He explained that after Tropical Storm Irene, a FEMA adjuster determined that some areas of the first floor of the towers were considered a basement, and that the owners would have to increase their flood insurance coverage.