TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – James Staten, owner of the now-closed Olympus Pools, and his wife Alexis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week.
The file provided insight into the couple’s debts and the company, which were accused of collecting payments for hundreds of swimming pools that they failed to complete.
The case is being watched closely by consumers wondering where their money went and whether they can get some of it back.
Attorney John Anthony is not involved in this case but has reviewed the case file.
“Owners cannot hide behind the corporate veil for their own business decisions and mistakes,” he said.
There are business obligations in this bankruptcy filing, and Anthony says allegations of misuse of funds could involve consumers in this case.
“Normally the liability would stop with this company here, but if it really does happen here that we have dozens of homeowners innocently leaving bail and expecting the work to be completed, it could lead to individual liability.” he said.
Anthony recommends that affected consumers attend the first creditors’ meeting.
“This would be a good opportunity to get the principals under oath and ask them questions. It won’t take two days, but in a case like this, I’m sure the US trustee will allow some freedom of movement to individuals who ask questions, “he said.
Back to the Schouest’s backyard disaster, there are many questions. For one, Tiffany wonders why the State’s bankruptcy filing includes a list of “necessary expenses” of $ 17,888 per month.
“I mean nearly $ 18,000 a month that you want after you file for bankruptcy, after you’ve left us all, taken all of our money, hundreds and hundreds of pools, millions and millions of dollars, where has it gone?” She asked.
The creditors’ hearing is scheduled for October 28th in downtown Tampa. This is the hearing at which Anthony recommends potential creditors to ask questions. The deadline for submitting individual claims is December 15th.
Affected consumers can also turn to the state’s building renovation fund. Keep in mind, however, that there is a cap and there will likely not be enough money to cover all claims.