The I-Team gets Marlborough woman $12K back - WFSB 3 Connecticut

The I-Team gets Marlborough woman $12K back

The trouble started in May 20, 2010, when Stacey Francoline noticed the carpet in her finished basement was wet.

"I pulled the carpeting back, I pulled the plywood back, and the concrete floor was black. The plywood was black with mold," she said. 

It kept getting worse. Concrete cracked, drywall crumbled, the heating system rusted beyond repair.

Francoline called contractor after contractor. They checked the gutters and checked the runoff, but they couldn't find a problem.

Then someone suggested she check her footing drain, the pipe that draws ground water away from the foundation.

If it's blocked, backed up water could flow right into a home. Unsure where the drain was exactly, Francoline went to Marlborough Town Hall to pull her plans and made a startling discovery when she talked to the town planner.

"It appeared to me that they put the sewer in either over or under my footing drain in my backyard," she said.

The sewer was installed the previous fall, when Francoline's entire neighborhood was switched from septic to city sewer.

The town's Water Pollution Control Authority chose contractor F and J Construction out of Ludlow, MA.

They showed up, trenched down the side of her house and installed the sewer pipe. She never heard another word.

With her new concerns about that footing drain, the Town Planner pulled F and J's report from the day they were on her property.

"He pulled an inspection report from September 2009 that showed that the contractor broke my footing drain," she said.

No one ever told her that F and J broke her footing drain and claimed they had fixed it.

Furious, Francoline hired a contractor to run a camera up the drain pipe for an inspection. The camera found it was damaged and collapsed. The inspector found under leaves in her woods a buried broken piece of drain pipe. She claims F and J not only broke the pipe but tossed it in her woods.

"I'm angry. Very angry," she said.

And then it got worse. When Francoline asked the town to make it right, they contacted F and J, who said their two-year guarantee period on the work had expired. They told her her they would be happy to fix the damage they caused but said it would cost her $6,000

Marlborough First Selectman Richard Shea told the I-Team the $12 million sewer project was under the control of the town's Water Pollution Control Authority, but the control authority told an I-Team producer that, on the advice of counsel, they couldn't comment.

"It's just a very sad situation, and I think the bottom line is it's unfortunate the contractor wouldn't step up just out of pride of workmanship and fix things, but I'll probably get sued by him for saying that," said Shea.

Francoline hired her own contractor to fix the drain because she was concerned the spring rains could make matters worse.

As expected, the drain collapsed, and the problem was exactly where the F and J crews had placed the sewer pipe.

After she spent $1,900 of her own money on the fix, she says water flowed from the repaired pipe for an entire day. 

The I-Team called F and J construction to find out why they were refusing to fix the damage on Francoline's property.  At first the I-Team was told it had to talk to general manager Fred Dacruz, but he didn't return calls.

But the very next day after the I-Team called the company, Francoline got a call from F and J's insurance carrier offering to settle her claim for $12,000.

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