Saturday, June 22

Property lien leaves family fearing they will be homeless

Dorothy Calixte said she and her family are in a financial death spiral. Their home built by Port St. Lucie Properties is now in foreclosure.

“I don’t want to lose anything and let my family be on the streets,” said Calixte. “I’m just trying.”

She’s trying to pay debts that keep getting bigger.

Calixte said she got a loan in 2022 to have Port St. Lucie Properties build her house. Ten months later construction stopped, and she had to get another builder to finish the job for another $96,000.

Coastal Builders was hired by Port St. Lucie Properties. The company said it built the foundation of Calixte’s home but were never paid by Port St. Lucie Properties. Now it’s filed to take possession of the house if the Calixte family doesn’t pay $123,000 for the work, and subsequent attorney fees.

When I dug into court records last year, I found a 100 homes built by Port St. Lucie Properties had a total of $3.76 million worth of liens attached.

Companies like Coastal Builders that provided materials and labor to build these homes claim they never got paid, and the liens left homeowners forced to pay the liens, or risk foreclosure.

Many homeowners spent tens of thousands to pay off their liens. The Calixtes were unable to pay Coastal Builder’s lien that their lawyer is also arguing was filed too late.

“The lien was filed outside the 90-day window, so now, the lien is unenforceable,” said attorney Michael Garcia, who is hoping to get the case dismissed.

I left messages with Coastal Builders’ attorney, but he did not return my calls.

Calixte fears an expensive court battle will add to her debt.

“I’m very worried,” said Calixte. “Having a house is a great American dream. And I feel like it’s being taken away from me right now.”

She blames Port St. Lucie Properties owner Mark Montalto who was arrested in December on fraud charges.

The Calixtes are hoping for restitution but know they can’t count on that. Calixte said the rules are unfair when a family could lose their home this way. Calixte said she should not be held responsible, because she paid a contractor, who didn’t pay Coastal Properties.

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