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Underwood announces $104K settlement with Buffalo-area developer over corroding water pipes

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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced a settlement with Fisher Homes, LLC and its principal Peter F. Hunt for failing to disclose leaking and corroding pipes to purchasers of homes at the Fisher Pond Condominium, a 28-unit condominium located in Williamsville, NY. Fisher Homes, LLC and Peter F. Hunt are required to pay $104,300 to the Fisher Pond Condo Association to cover the cost of replacing pipes and reimburse the condominium for pipes they already replaced themselves.

"Developers are legally obligated to disclose key facts, such as leaking and corroding pipes, so that buyers can make an informed decision," said Attorney General Underwood. "My office will continue to hold developers accountable to ensure New Yorkers have the transparency and information they deserve when buying a home."

"We are grateful to the Attorney General's Office for helping secure funding to correct our waterline issue," said Michael Peters, President of the Fisher Pond Condo Association. "The office listened to our issue, provided status updates, and prioritized the consumer every step of the way. I hope home builders, developers, and real estate firms take notice: there will be consequences for those that don't do right by the consumer and violate the law."

Real estate developers are required by law to disclose all material facts about a property to potential purchasers in the offering plan. An investigation conducted by the Attorney General's office revealed that Fisher Homes, LLC never amended the offering plan for Fisher Pond Condominium, despite substantial evidence of leaking and corroding pipes dating back nearly a decade. Fisher Pond Condominium's soil was surveyed in 2007 and showed the presence of "slag," a by-product of smelting. Many of the water pipes at Fisher Pond Condominium are made of copper, and certain studies suggest that the presence of slag in soil may cause copper pipes (normally quite resistant to corrosion) to corrode in the soil. Due to corrosion in Fisher Pond Condominium's water pipes, Fisher Homes, LLC had to replace leaking pipes at two homes in 2010 and 2012.

In September 2017, Fisher Pond, LLC and Peter F. Hunt turned over control of the condominiums to unit owners – a responsibility shift that commonly occurs when the developer has sold a certain percentage of units and homeowners own the majority of the units. For the Fisher Pond Condominium, this control included responsibility for paying the water bill and maintaining the property.

In November 2017, the Fisher Pond Condo Association hired a contractor to test leaks at units and found leaking noise at three units and possible leaks at two other units. Additionally, the water bills for the units were substantially higher than the estimate included in the offering plan; replacing a leaking pipe in December 2017 helped to cut the water bill nearly in half. Developer Fisher Pond, LLC had never amended the offering plan to disclose the leaks or increased risk of leaks, nor did it revise the estimate of average monthly water consumption, which are violations of New York General Business Law and Executive Law.

The settlement requires Fisher Pond, LLC and principal Peter F. Hunt to pay $104,300 to the Fisher Pond Condo Association to cover the cost of pipes that still need to be replaced and reimbursement for pipes already replaced by the association.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Ryan Goodland, under the supervision of Chief of Enforcement Louis Solomon in the Real Estate Finance Bureau. The Real Estate Finance Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Brent Meltzer and overseen by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Manisha M. Sheth.