Special Magistrate Hearing Minutes

Minutes of the May 23, 2023, 10:30 a.m.
Special Magistrate Hearing

The regular meeting of the Special Magistrate was held in the Town Hall Commission Chambers at 409 Fennell Blvd., Lady Lake, Florida. The meeting convened at 10:30 a.m.

Town Staff Present

Lori Crain, Code Enforcement Officer; Denise Williams, Code Enforcement Assistant; Officer Robert Chausse Lady Lake Police Department; and Carol Osborne, Deputy Town Clerk

Call To Order

Joshua Bills, Special Magistrate, called the meeting to order at 10:30 a.m.

Pledge of Allegience

All present stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Explanation of Procedure

Because there are no new cases to be presented, Special Magistrate Joshua Bills dispensed with the explanation of procedure.

Swearing In

The Special Magistrate requested that anyone present who planned to speak at today’s hearing stand and be sworn in.

All individuals who planned to present information during these proceedings were sworn in. Those cases were heard first regardless of their order on the agenda.

A. Approval of Minutes

1. Minutes of the April 25, 2023, Special Magistrate Hearing

The Special Magistrate accepted and signed the hearing minutes of April 25, 2023, into the record as presented.

Code Enforcement Officer Lori Crain advised that the following case has come into compliance and will not be presented today: Case 23-0367.

B. Old Business

2. Case 22-8894 — 1005 Aloha Way, Daniel O’Neill, LLC — Continued from April 25, 2023 Special Magistrate hearing — Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances Section 20-15, Compliance Required; Section 20-17, Light, Ventilation; Section 20-17(b), Outlets, Lights & Switches; Section 20-17(g), Windows Weathertight, Good Repair; Section 20-19, Structurally Sound; Section 20-19(a)(1), Weatherproof & Watertight; Section 20-19(a)(2), Gutters & Downspouts; Section 20-19(e ), Electrical Wiring; Section 20-19(f) Structures Free From Infestation; Fences, Walls in Good Condition; Section 20-20 Minimum Standards; Section 20-20(a), Owner/Operator Maintenance, Health, Safety; Section 20-20(a)(1), Exterior Surfaces Maintained Adequately; Section 20-20(a)(6), Window & Doors; Section 20-20(b), Deficient Property & Blight; Section 20-22, Repair and Installations; Section 20-23, Not to Occupy; Section 20-23(a ), Owner of Dwelling or Dwelling Unit; Section 20-23(a)(1), Maintain Exterior & Public Areas; Section 20-23(a)(2), Stagnant Water; Section 20-24(b), Property Adjacent to Dwellings; Section 7-46, Storage of Junk, etc., Prohibited; Section 7-67, Trash Weeds, Vegetation; Establish Repeat Offender; Order of Fine (Lori Crain)

Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office).

Ms. Crain testified that she was notified via email by a representative in Attorney Bone’s office that Mr. O’Neil had been in contact with several contractors to repair the floor, and that he has had difficulty scheduling them due to the contractor’s schedules or the tenants’ schedules.

Ms. Crain testified that she received an Order Transferring Case signed by James R. Baxley, Circuit Judge of Lake County, stating that an appeal has been filed by Mr. O’Neil. She stated that there is no case number, no property information, or attorney name on the order. She advised that she forwarded this appeal to Growth Management Director, Thad Carroll, who will discuss it with the Town’s attorney.

Ms. Crain testified that she received an email from the current tenant, Mr. Zyontz, that included a letter served to them from Attorney Charles Ruse who represents Ms. Julee Kumsuwan. The letter demanded $1,000.00 or possession of the property by May 8, 2023. Mr. Zyontz stated that he had already paid this to Mr. O’Neil. Also attached to the email was a Quit Claim Deed for this property, that was dated April 24, 2023, naming Daniel O’Neil, Grantor, to Julee Kumsuwan in the amount of $10.00.

Ms. Crain stated that Ms. Kumsuwan emailed a photo of a letter from MWS Engineering with a description of the floor repair and product specs. Ms. Crain stated that she forwarded this to the Building Official, Mark Brower, for review. She stated she notified Ms. Kumsuwan advising her that Mr. Brower has accepted these and that the original must be submitted with the application for the flooring permit along with all other required documentation.

Ms. Crain stated that she and Mr. Brower conducted a walk-through inspection on May 8, 2023. She testified that Mr. Brower conveyed to her that he could smell the indication of water seepage and damage. She stated that he inspected the kitchen floor, the master bedroom floor, the walls, and the bathroom. Mr. Brower indicated that the structure was in violation of the Florida Building Code requiring homes to be watertight. Ms. Crain stated that Mr. Brower, again, stressed that a building permit is required by a licensed contractor to repair the deficiencies. She stated that Mr. Brower advised that the integrity of the remaining joists will need to be examined as they must be able to support the new plywood and flooring and feels there is more damage that cannot be seen due to the amount of evidence of water damage.

Ms. Crain stated that she forwarded Mr. Brower’s confirmation to the Building Department for staff to have on file when the contractor applies for the permit.

Ms. Crain stated that she received an email from Lauren Smith on behalf of Attorney Bone advising that Mr. Bone is no longer representing Daniel O’Neil, LLC, or Mr. O’Neil for this property, that he will not be attending today’s hearing, and to remove him from all future communiques.

Ms. Crain received an email from Mr. Zyontz informing her that a representative from Great Lakes Carpet and Tile will be on site to measure the floor. Ms. Crain contacted Ms. Becker Ortiz from Great Lakes Carpet and Tile to discuss her visit to the property. She stated that Ms. Becker advised her that there was “no way” they would be installing flooring at the property due to the current state of the floor and subfloor. Ms. Ortiz provided details of this event in an email.

Ms. Crain testified that research was conducted with the Official Records of Lake County to obtain information regarding the Order Transferring Case. She advised that the Order of Enforcement for this Case, 22-8894, 1005 Aloha Way, is being appealed and the documents are signed by Mr. O’Neil, on February 28, 2023. The Town attorney, Derek Schroth, will be managing the appeal and advised Code Enforcement to proceed with this case with the Order of Fine hearing as scheduled.

Ms. Crain read from the Florida State Statute 162 regarding the process and time frame by which a property owner who is the subject to an enforcement proceeding before an Enforcement Board, Special Magistrate, or Court, must inform Code Enforcement of transfer of ownership of the subject property.

Ms. Crain testified that to date, the Respondent has not filed notice with the Town of Lady Lake Code Enforcement of the transfer of the property, or copies of the disclosures made to the new owner as required by F.S.S. 162.06(5)(d). The Respondent was required to notify Code Enforcement by April 30, 2023, which was five days after the property was transferred to the new owner. On May 8, 2023, a copy of the Quit Claim Deed was sent via email by current tenants of 1005 Aloha Way.

Staff recommendation: Find that the Respondent continues to be in violation of the Order of Enforcement, dated 02/28/23, due to failure to comply with the violations and failure to pay the $150 administrative fee. We request an Order of Fine in the amount of $9450.00 which is the total accrued to date of the $150 daily fine that began to accrue on March 21, 2023. The fine will continue to accrue until such time as the property comes into complete compliance; impose an administrative fee of $150 for this Order of Fine hearing in addition to the unpaid administrative fee from the Order of Enforcement hearing. The total amount to be recorded as a lien against the property. Further order that the Respondent be established as a Repeat Offender and any future subsequent violation stated in the Order of Fine will be repeat violations.

Daniel O’Neil, 17897 SE 115th Ct., Summerfield, FL 34491, stated that he called The Villages to conduct a site visit, and the exterior of the property was sufficient for them, that it complies. He stated that the water damage came from the tenants and does not understand why he is here and not the tenants. He stated that he hired a contractor to repair the floor and the contractor will apply for the building permit. He stated that the tenants have had many animals and stated that he never goes to the property. He stated that he does not bother the tenants. He stated that he replaced the air conditioner.

The Special Magistrate stated that there has been a hearing on the Order of Enforcement, which would have been the time to produce before and after photos of the property. He stated what he wanted to see photos of the improvements made since the Order of Enforcement hearing and noted that the floor still is not repaired.

The Special Magistrate stressed to Mr. O’Neil that he has continued this case for several months hoping that he would bring the property into complete compliance, and yet the floor has not been repaired. Therefore, the Order of Enforcement has not been satisfied. He acknowledged the difficulties Mr. O’Neil has had finding a contractor and scheduling issues with contractors and with the tenants and will take that into account when entering the Order of Fine. Regarding The Villages, the Special Magistrate advised they have no jurisdiction within the Town of Lady Lake and the town’s code must be followed. He stated that The Villages have their own codes and their finding of the condition of his property is irrelevant.

Mr. O’Neil stated that he does have a contractor who stated that he will obtain the permit and do the work. He stated that this was not submitted as he had an attorney who was not approaching this case the way he asked him to. He stated that he was negotiating the hole in the floor. Mr. O’Neil stated that the condition of the house was done by the tenants and was the main issue and does not understand why they would continue to live in those conditions.

The Special Magistrate stated to Mr. O’Neil that the condition of the property is a civil issue between him and the tenants. He stated that how the home came to its current condition does not explain why the property has not been fixed.

Mr. O’Neil stated at a former hearing a witness testified that the repairs were completed.

The Special Magistrate asked if the Town had inspected the property.

Mr. O’Neil stated that the property has not been inspected because the Town stated they would wait until the floor was repaired to conduct an inspection. He stated that the current flooring contractor is licensed and has had difficulty scheduling due to his work schedule and the tenants’ work schedule.

Mr. O’Neil stated that he was not permitted to speak at the last hearing.

The Special Magistrate stated that he had an attorney at that time representing him.

Ms. Crain stated that she included in her testimony that an inspection was conducted with the Building Inspector on May 8. Also in her testimony, she acknowledged that everything on the exterior of the property had been completed.

Mr. O’Neil stated from the audience that he did not know this.

Ms. Crain reiterated that at that time, Mr. O’Neil had an attorney. She stated that the Building Official is in attendance today.

The Special Magistrate stated that this case has been complicated and that he has been generous in extending time to bring the property into compliance. He stated that due to scheduling issues between parties, the imposition of fine will begin April 21, 2023. He stressed that this fine would continue to accrue.

Special Magistrate Bills stated that the Respondent shall pay fine, in the amount of $150.00 per day commencing April 21, 2023, for each day that property is not in compliance and shall continue to accrue at the daily rate of $150.00 until such time as the property is brought into compliance. Current total of Fine at the date of this Order is $4800.00. A copy of the full order will be mailed to the Respondent.

3. Case 22-9271 — 201 Morningside Ave., Omar a Rivera Allende — Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations, Building Permit, Section 16-52(a), Permit Required; Fire codes, Section FL Bldg. Code 424.2.17, Pool Barriers Required; Revoke Order of Enforcement (Lori Crain)

Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office).

Ms. Crain testified that on April 17, 2023, she was contacted by the property owner who stated that he has been out of state. He stated that a family member sent him a photo of the Order of Enforcement, and that he was unaware of the violations and that a case is associated with the property.

Ms. Crain stated that she explained the notification procedure to Mr. Allende, and that it is tracked through the USPS tracking number on the certified letter. She stated that when she told him who signed for the returned receipt, he stated that he did not know that person. Ms. Crain stated that when she reviewed the returned receipt, she realized that the tracking number was delivered to Peoria, IL, even though the green card was visibly and accurately addressed to the local property.

Ms. Crain explained to Mr. Allende that this shows he was not properly notified of the hearing and that she will present the case to the Special Magistrate to dismiss and revoke the Order of Enforcement.

Ms. Crain discussed the violations with Mr. Allende and had him contact the Building Department to obtain information about a fence permit.

Staff recommendation: Revoke the Order of Enforcement dated 03-28-23, due to Respondent not properly receiving required notice of the hearing. The revocation will also revoke and waive the $150 administrative fee and the daily fine of $100 that was previously ordered to accrue, beginning on 04/05/23. Further order that the $150 administrative fee for this hearing be waived as well.

Special Magistrate Bills stated having heard testimony of the respective parties present, and the evidence presented finds that the Order of Enforcement entered and signed on March 28, 2023, is hereby revoked. A copy of the full order will be mailed to the Respondent.

4. Case 23-0367 — 212 Morningside Ave., Ronald Orr Life Estate — Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances, Nuisances, Section 7-46, Storage of Junk, etc., Prohibited; Section 7-67, Trash Weeds, Vegetation; Town of Lady Lake Land Development Regulations, Tree Protection, Section 10-5(a)(1), Removal, Relocate, Destroy; Order of Enforcement (Denise Williams)

This case has come into compliance.

5. Case 23-0787 — 860 Avenida Central, Maniscalco Holding LLC — Town of Lady Lake Code of Ordinances Commercial Minimum Standards, Section 20-51(a)(5), Infestation; Section 20-51(b), Exterior/Interior Conditions; Section 20-51(j), Disposal of Garbage/Trash/etc; Responsibilities of Owners Section 20-54, Commercial Owner Responsible; Section 20-54(a), Commercial Clean and Safe; Section 20-54(b), Commercial Elimination of Infestations; Fire Codes Section. 7-47, Fire Hazards; Nuisances Section 7-67, Trash, Weeds, Vegetation; Establish Repeat Offender (Lori Crain)

Ms. Crain presented the background summary for this agenda item (on file in the Clerk’s Office).

Ms. Crain testified that she received emails from the Waste Management Commercial Route Manager with a photograph of the interior of the dumpster enclosure. The property owner was ordered to pay a fine in September 2022 for this same issue.

Ms. Crain notified the property owners, Jack and Linda Lupo, of the Special Magistrate Hearing. Ms. Lupo responded that she received the notice, and that the CVS staff is looking into the matter. She requested to be the point of contact for all communique rather than the local store and the corporate office. Ms. Crain stated that Ms. Lupo ensured that she works to correct matters when she is made aware of them.

Ms. Crain stated that she made unscheduled site visits throughout the month of April only to find the property continually in violation. She stated that on May 1 she received an email from Ms. Lupo advising her that the violations have been corrected and requested Ms. Crain verify it. Ms. Lupo also requested the total amount of the fine to date and stated that a representative will attend the hearing on May 23. Ms. Crain forwarded photos to Ms. Lupo that were taken 04/27/23 showing that the condition of the property remained in violation and asked when she was advised that the property complied.

Ms. Crain stated that an email was received from Ms. Lupo with photos attached showing the the dumpster enclosure in compliance.

Staff recommendation: Find the Respondents were in violation of all codes as stated and assess an administrative fee of $150. Respondents shall have until 5:00 PM Monday, June 5, 2023, to pay the administrative fee and to request and pass a final inspection or Code Enforcement will request an Order of Fine be entered at the rate of $200 per day for every day the property is not in compliance.

The Special Magistrate asked if there was anyone present who wished to speak regarding this case.

Brian Belemjian, 12 Roseberry Ct., Ocoee, FL, CVS district manager assured that this issue has been addressed and that the property will be properly maintained.

Ms. Crain acknowledged that she inspected the site this morning and concurred that it is clean and in compliance.

The Special magistrate stated that even though the property has come into compliance, the Repeat Offender status is warranted.

Special Magistrate Bills stated that the Respondent shall have until 5:00 PM Tuesday June 5, 2023, to bring the property into compliance to cure the violations(s) described above by paying the $150 administrative fee. A copy of the full order will be mailed to The Respondent.

C. New Business

There are no new cases to be presented.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 11:23 p.m.

s/ Joshua E. Bills, Special Magistrate

s/ Carol Osborne, Deputy Town Clerk