Aimee Patton

A pleasantly eccentric take on politics

I know I haven’t posted in a while. It’s been a really, really long time. Honestly, I was starting to get tired writing about the same stuff over and over again. The elections, KS school funding formula, taxes – it was hard to come up with creative ways to say the same thing so I just stopped for a while. After 400+ pages of content, I thought I could take a little break, spend some time on twitter and get back to it when I was energized.

Just when I was starting to get jazzed to write again, disaster hit.  And then hit again. To make matters worse, I can’t escape it. Disaster is literally in my air.

Background

Two years ago, I purchased a condo for my family. I thought a condo would be a great investment for us. After a divorce and some time in an apartment, I was ready to buy my first place on my own. I found the perfect place at 103rd and Nall. It was a great size, had a lot of green space and was in walking distance to Nall Park. We are one of the middle units of a four-plex. The pool is right across the street. I don’t have to rake or mow a lawn. Amelia and I were happy and felt settled.

Disaster #1

Thursday, July 27 – it rained all night. I think the final count was about six inches of rain. I woke up about 6 am to what I thought was the sound of a fan. It wasn’t a fan. It was water pouring into my basement. I ran downstairs. I found about a foot of water. Indian Creek was over the banks. Normally, you can’t see the creek from my unit. You can see by the images that morning how high the creek was. It was coming into my basement from my basement toilet, shower drain and floor drain. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some of these picture are after the water starting going down.

I immediately started cleaning up. I realized that the unit next to mine, 10435 Ash was vacant and had been for months. I emailed and called my HOA management company telling them what happened.  I told them that the unit next to mine was vacant.  If I had water like this, then everyone in our four-plex had water. My neighbor on the outside unit confirmed.

Clean up took place immediately. All wet items were disposed of. Fans were running. A dehumidifier was going non-stop. I continued to send messages about the unit next to mine. Was it cleaned up? I didn’t notice anyone over there.

About a week later, I smelled mildew. The smell was in my garage, in my kitchen on the main floor and in the basement. I thought maybe the flood water had left that smell so I continued to mop and mop again with bleach water. I lit candles to cover the mildew smell. I continued to inquire about the unit next to us with the condo management company.

My daughter came down with an upper respiratory infection. Kids get sick. I didn’t think much of it. Then I got sick. Asthma attacks, sinus infection, ear infections. It wouldn’t go away.  It lasted weeks. I continued to ask about the unit next door.

I finally received an email back from the management company. “We entered the unit”, the email said.

“What did you find?”

No answer.

I showed up at our monthly board meeting a week later. My agenda item was at the end.

The management company spoke first.

“We weren’t sure who owned the unit and that’s why it took us so long to figure out what to do. We (the board) entered the unit last week and it’s not safe for you and your daughter to be there anymore. The unit was covered in mold.”

My head was spinning. Not know who owned the unit? Not sure how to handle it? You knew last week and I’m sitting here today just hearing about this?

“There are pictures, but they are so bad you probably don’t want to see them,” said a board member.

We got out that night. I alerted the neighbors in my four-plex of the findings.

Then the phone calls started. Within 2 calls, I knew who owned the unit. James B Nutter took possession of the property in June. I called them repeatedly explaining how bad the situation was. We had been sick and weren’t able to live there. What were they going to do to help us?

I called Johnson County – emergency management, the health department, the environmental department. There are no mold standards so nothing they can do to help.

Multiple calls and emails with Johnson County Wastewater. Why did their sewer system back up into our basements? Did we qualify for a back up prevention unit to help prevent this in the future? After assessments, it turns out we do not. It’s a four-plex unit and they told me that they can’t install a back up unit because units are on one sewer line. I have a sewer ejection pump that was installed in 2005 by JOCO Wastewater as an alternative. I wasn’t aware of this. I replaced it last year for $1500. It was fully functional. It could not keep up with the sewer water. According to JOCO Wastewater, that is my issue not theirs. My issue? I had the sewer line assessed. It’s clear to the county line. It’s still my issue according to Johnson County even though Indian Creek overflowed into their sewer system and backed up into our condo. The damage claim I submitted was denied.

 

Disaster #2

Same issue, different month – August. Inches and inches of rain fell. Indian Creek overflows. All of our drains back up into our unit. Again, working ejection pump and sump pump and it couldn’t keep up with the water.  Clean up begins immediately. This time it’s easier because I had gotten almost everything off the floor for fear this would happen another time. Again, I reach out to the management company and James B Nutter saying how concerned I was about the vacant unit. Again, nothing.

I test for mold in my unit. It’s positive for mold in the basement and kitchen.

Multiple insurance calls and assessments.  The mold isn’t from my unit. It’s from the unit next door, therefore, insurance claim denied.

Mold Remediation

With no communication from Nutter, I decide I have to move forward on remediating my unit. I hire a company do clean up for mold. In come the air scrubbers. Out goes my basement kitchen and bathroom, most of the drywall, anything porous in the basement like my dresses, purses, Amelia’s art projects, my wedding album, my grandmother’s jewelry box. I refuse to throw away my prom and wedding dress. They are currently sealed up in a bag in my garage. I was advised not to open them.

Amelia and I were living with family for months. Our cats were living with friends. It’s exhausting and stressful not to be at home. Our condo started to appear abandoned. We traveled every other day to check on it -get the mail, water what’s left of the houseplants. I make jokes that we aren’t homeless, but instead “displaced” to try to make light of this horrible situation. I hire an attorney.

Nutter’s attorney said they will make it right. We almost never hear from them. My expenses are racking up. Mold tests $350 x 3, remediation $3600, lawyers fees, doctors bills, prescription medication costs, food bills from eating out so much, paying a mortgage for a place I can’t live in. We are tired and sick. My bank account is empty and our lives are in crisis.

We finally hear from Nutter in mid-October. They cleaned up. That is what is communicated to my attorney.  Amelia and I can’t move fast enough to get our family back together in our home. The cats moved back in. We unpacked.

And then it starts. Amelia complains of severe headaches. She has a sore throat. Something is wrong. She goes to her dad’s. Her symptoms clear up. We decide she needs to stay there. I stay in the house thinking if I’m on the top-level with the windows open, I can stand it. Not long after, I come down with a double ear infection.

I have to get out again. The day I was moving out, there was a contractor at the vacant unit. I introduced myself and told him we were suffering from mold problems.

“I bet you are.”

“Can I come in and take a look around?”

He invited me down the basement.

“Did you ever receive an order to remediate for mold,” I asked.

“No. We were just told to pull up the carpet.”

The carpet was sitting in a pile in the corner.

On my way out, water is pouring from the ceiling on the 2nd floor onto the main floor. I can’t get out fast enough.

These are some of the pictures of what I found.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We move out again, but leave our cats. They adapted during the first move, but I couldn’t bring myself to move them again. It’s too upsetting. We go back and check on them almost daily. This goes on for November. We start noticing behavior changes. Gus doesn’t come to greet us like he normally does. I’m concerned they are depressed.

In the meantime, we hear that Nutter had contractors over the vacant unit to “clean up” after a story aired on WDAF Fox4.  They said they didn’t realize how bad it was. There were pictures from the board in August. I called and pleaded with them multiple times when this began.

My attorney says they are ready to walk around the empty unit with me for inspection. I ask for a mold test of the unit. I am not a mold expert. Walking around will not confirm there isn’t mold.

No response from James B Nutter. No date of a scheduled inspection.

My cat’s behavior was so concerning that I risked it and move back in temporarily the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Both cats perk up. I had a minor sore throat before I moved back in and almost immediately had a diagnosis of bronchitis and asthma flare ups. Urgent care visit for a breathing treatment, more steroids and antibiotics. My second round in 3 months.

I could still tell something is wrong with the cats and I couldn’t stand to leave them again. Last Wednesday night, Gus, 2 years old, jumped off the couch and couldn’t stand on his left side. He wasn’t seeing out of his left eye. His left side was limp. He died 11/30/17.

I wasn’t going to share this whole story via blog, but telling my daughter about her cat has left my family heartbroken.

To date, we have moved the remaining cat out. We are back with family. We still have not heard from James B. Nutter.

James B Nutter – there are no words.

Young Management – I couldn’t have reached out any more with my concerns. Days went by when you discovered the mold and when I was alerted. If I wasn’t at the board meeting, what was the plan?

JOCO Wastewater – sewer water in residential homes IS an issue for our city, county and state. This is a serious health problem. It is not a homeowner issue. If your sewer system can’t accommodate a creek, work with the city and the county and FIX IT.

Indian Creek – I am calling on city leaders to DO SOMETHING about this creek.

State and Federal Officials – we need mold standards. People and animals are ill. Homes are unable to be lived in.

What now? You will have to ask James B. Nutter that question.

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25 thoughts on “James B Nutter, Indian Creek and my nightmare

  1. Judie says:

    i am so sorry to hear about these traumatic experiences. It is so unfair that you have to endure them. I’ve been through similar events, and have a sense of the trauma. If you don’t have an attorney on your side that you trust, you might consider contacting my good friend Rachel Smith, rsmith@accidentlawkc.com. 816-866-7711

  2. I am sad and disgusted. I hope that making this public will generate enough pressure on James Nutter co. that they do the right thing. They are counting on their ability to hire more lawyers for longer than you can. I am sorry and I am sad.

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      I agree. That’s the only thing I can think of. Thanks for commenting. ap

  3. xobekim says:

    Talk to your lawyer about the tort of nuisance. I think Nutter should be forced to buy you out at pre-disaster market value, pay your damages, & your attorney fees. It is unthinkable that you’d be in a stronger position if you rented.

    Respectfully,Michael S. BoxSent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Thanks Michael. I appreciate the suggestion. ap

  4. Jim Q says:

    Get a personal injury attorney. Sue everyone, including HOA, Nutter, JoCo, the HOA board members individually, officers of Nutter individually, anyone else you can think of. Demand a jury trial. Keep going until you are made whole.

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Thanks Jim. I’m working on my legal options. ap

  5. Jeff Russell says:

    Sweet Jesus Aimee. Ready for a go fund me effort? No time for pride here.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Thanks Jeff. I have thought about it. It may come to that. ap

  6. Darla Jaye says:

    This is a heart vs. head issue. My heart aches for you, Amelia and poor Gus. My head wants to explode at the gross negligence of every single entity that could have helped and didn’t. Your HOA is incompetent. JoCo wastewater is covering their butts. Joco Health and Environment should be involved. James B. Nutter has been “less than truthful” at several stages of this issue and could have solved this a long time ago. Where is a big microphone when we need one?

  7. rinphoto says:

    We have had experience with Nutter. I would not recommend them. SO sorry for all that trauma!

  8. Al Luvial says:

    Dear Aimee,
    This is a classic example of negligence and blame-shifting. Your HOA, HOA insurance provider, and James B. Nutter were negligent in their responsibilities, and contributed to your damages. That they would not volunteer to accept responsibility is sadly a commentary on how business is typically conducted anymore. I’m familiar with your area, and had actually looked at some units there many years ago, due to it’s location near the trail and convenience.
    You’re probably loathe to do this, but the most effective way to force those responsible to do right, is to go the legal route and become a thorn in their side. Don’t be afraid to become such a pain in their ass that they become eager to settle, just to get rid of you. Don’t go berserk and scream profanities, but keep it professional and forceful. Decide in advance what you want. If you feel you can’t return to your residence and feel comfortable, then go for a buyout or complete remodel, as someone above suggested. Document everything!
    To really move things along, it would be very advantageous if you had media contacts (Call For Action, Consumer Watchdog, News Investigators) that could be used to spur those responsible into settling to avoid bad PR and public embarrassment.
    Best of luck, and I always enjoy your writing.

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Thank you Al. I agree with you. I’ve reached out to the media. Fox 4 did a great segment. I would appreciate any additional coverage on our story. If you could share as a suggestion with them, I would appreciate it. ap

      1. Al Luvial says:

        Just saw a follow-up to your story on the TKC blog, in which KSHB featured your ordeal. Mr. Alcock indicated that JB Nutter Co. has spoken to your representative about a possible settlement. I hope that is accurate and something to your satisfaction has been offered. If so, you may not be able to discuss it as a confidentiality clause is typically included.
        Just know that there are people who seek to assist you, because we recognize the good within you, even though you can be a handful of liberal snarkiness! After your blog posting, I forwarded your story to all the local TV investigative reporters and requested they help a homeowner who was being treated unfairly. I’m sure many other readers did as well.
        Please let us know at some point if you’ve reached a point of resolution. You don’t have to give the details, but if those parties involved finally did the right thing by you, you can take the high road and recognize them for stepping forward.
        Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah to you Aimee!

      2. Aimee Patton says:

        Thank you. It’s the support of my family, friends and the community that has helped me continue to stay strong during this dark time. Thanks for sending my story. I was surprised when KSHB reached out and Andy told me viewers had sent the story.

        No settlement has been offered at this time. Nutter said their goal was to have me back in my condo by Christmas. They did not meet that deadline.

        I have no idea what’s next from Nutter. They acknowledged not being able to meet the deadline but offered no details of next steps or future deadlines. I continue to wait.

        Thanks again for your help. This continues to be a frustrating and depressing situation that I never thought I would find myself in. The pain my daughter has suffered could have been minimized if Nutter would have taken steps earlier in the process when they were originally notified.

        Happy holidays to your family,
        Aimee

  9. Aimee, I’m so sorry about your cat. I understand.  I own a 8 year old domestic short hair tabby name Precious. Thank you so much for sharing. I hope and pray that you will get an answer from Nutter.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  10. Brian Jones says:

    Aimee, I’m so sorry to hear about the lost of your cat. I understand. I’m a owner of a 8 year old girl domestic short hair tabby name Precious. I pray that you will get an answer from Nutter soon.
    Take care.

  11. lindiana55 says:

    I am so sorry Aimee. I also suspect that legal action is going to be needed to get Nutter to make this right.

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Thank you. I appreciate it. It’s been a terrible time.

  12. BR says:

    all that and what bothered me the most was that DAMN CAT! I don’t know you or your cat but my eyes are wet because of it. I hope you get what you can from those effers.

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Thank you. I appreciate your support. There have been a lot of tears. Aimee

  13. MARSHA BAGBY says:

    Does the city have minimum housing standards which would address mold?

    1. Aimee Patton says:

      Hi Marsha, Thanks for reading and commenting. The city does not have mold standards in cases of home ownership.

  14. Daniel Mayer says:

    Aimee… thanks for sharing the story and pictures. That’s horrible! Please let me know what we can do to help you.  Best, Danny c-917-312-9632

    From: Aimee Patton To: danmayer@yahoo.com Sent: Friday, December 1, 2017 5:43 PM Subject: [New post] James B Nutter, Indian Creek and my nightmare #yiv3139137710 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv3139137710 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv3139137710 a.yiv3139137710primaryactionlink:link, #yiv3139137710 a.yiv3139137710primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv3139137710 a.yiv3139137710primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv3139137710 a.yiv3139137710primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv3139137710 WordPress.com | Aimee Patton posted: “I know I haven’t posted in a while. It’s been a really, really long time. Honestly, I was starting to get tired writing about the same stuff over and over again. The elections, KS school funding formula, taxes – it was hard to come up with creative ways t” | |

  15. Al Hoove says:

    Mistakes were made. Lessons were not learned. Here’s the lessons all the sympathetic noise-makers won’t clarify for you.

    1) do not buy low-lying property subject to flooding again.
    2) do not buy property with a sanitary sewer inlet lower than the sanitary sewage main again.
    3) do not base property buying decisions on nearby parks, cats, feelings of any sort again.
    4) flooding causes mold problems, mold is hazardous. Get out, stay out, do not return again.
    5) Because of many problems, the condo is not livable. You fncked up buying it. Accept it.
    6) Stop whining. Move out. Move on. Get on with your life.

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