Kottkamp threatens suit over Aubuchon drywall

Feb 23, 2009

Fort Myers News-Press–February 21, 2009


The attorney for Florida Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp said Friday he is working with Aubuchon Homes to avoid going to court over the defective Chinese drywall found in his residence.

A lawsuit won’t happen if the builder’s insurer cooperates, said Scott Weinstein of Morgan & Morgan P.A.

If not, “Florida law provides for a 60-day notice period before filing suit against a contractor,” Weinstein said Friday. “We have provided Aubuchon Homes with that notice.”

Aubuchon Homes built the $1.4 million Kottkamp residence in North Fort Myers. The president of the company is Gary Aubuchon, who is also a state representative from Cape Coral.

“I have been working with Aubuchon Homes’ lawyer, Mark Boyle, to reach a solution,” Weinstein said. “We hope to avoid a lawsuit if Aubuchon Homes’ insurer steps up to the plate,” he said.

Boyle, of the law firm Boyle & Gentile P.A., said he and Aubuchon are making demands on everyone involved, from the drywall subcontractors to the product manufacturers and their insurers, “to make the lieutenant governor’s home whole.”

The homebuilders are also victims of the defective drywall, Boyle said.

“I definitely do not want anyone out there in Southwest Florida to think that Gary Aubuchon or any other builder knew that this drywall was defective,” he said.

The drywall was discovered in the Kottkamp home during the first week in January and has not been removed, Weinstein said.

“Aubuchon Homes and their insurer have not agreed to move them out or pay for other housing,” he said.

The Kottkamp family lives in Tallahassee during the legislative session but otherwise resides in North Fort Myers, and the Kottkamps’ son goes to school locally, Weinstein said.

“They’re worried about the potential health effects. Lt. Gov. Kottkamp is concerned not just about his family but all Floridians who might have this.”