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Desperate Chinese Drywall Homeowner Calls White House

Aug 7, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

Trying to find a way out of his Chinese drywall nightmare, a desperate Florida homeowner recently placed a phone call to President Barack Obama.  According to a report on wpbf.com, Larry Kosakowski of Port St. Lucie wants more federal attention focused on the problem.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received 810 Chinese drywall complaints from 23 states since last December, with most coming from Florida (621). The state with the second highest count is Louisiana (105). Others have come from consumers in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia.  However, it is likely that far more homes are affected.   According to The Wall Street Journal, some 500 million pounds of Chinese drywall was imported to the U.S. during the housing boom. That means as many as 100,000 homes  throughout the country could have been built with the material.

The CPSC, the Centers for Disease Control, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and many state health departments are investigating the Chinese drywall. The results of some of those investigations are expected next month. According to The Wall Street Journal, if a “substantial” electrical, fire or health hazard is found to exist, a recall could be issued.  Earlier this year, the EPA did release some results from tests it conducted on the drywall.  That testing found Chinese-manufactured drywall contained elevated levels of strontium sulfide, as well as several organic compounds associated with the production of acrylic paint which were not present in samples of U.S.-made drywall.

According to wpbf.com, Kosakowski's house has many of the characteristics of a home built with Chinese drywall, including copper wiring that has turned black with corrosion. Every piece of drywall in his attic is stamped with the name of a drywall manufacturer from China.

Kosakowski put his call into the White House after he had already contacted local and state lawmakers.  While he did not get through to the President, Kosakowski did leave a message offering to discuss the Chinese drywall problem with the president.  While he doesn't expect a call back, wpbf.com said Kosakowski is expecting more federal help for homeowners with Chinese drywall.

What he is most hoping for is federal pressure to convince mortgage holders to be more cooperative when dealing with Chinese drywall homeowners.  Specifically, he would like the feds to convince the banks to abate mortgages while Chinese drywall is being removed and replaced, and other damage to a home is remediated.  During that process, residents must leave their home, and few can afford to make both rent and mortgage payments, Kosakowski said.


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