CAROLINE, VA (WWBT) – A Caroline County family is in a strange position after on-going problems with their septic system. The couple says the builder failed to disclose critical information and now they're stuck with a house that has no value.
The Romito's say their story is a cautionary one for any home buyer. The sales contract, they say, doesn't mean a whole lot. It's the documents that are on file with the county.
"Our children can't play. They've never played in this yard," said Chuck Romito.
They saw the trouble signs after their year warranty had expired on their $265,000 Lake Caroline dream home.
"Cracks started forming and the floor started going down to an angle like this," said Michele Romito.
Wet spots in the yard showed evidence that something bad happened.
"An odor started permeating from the ground. We realized we were gardening in our own waste," said Michele.
They got a septic system too small for their house. The Romito's purchased a 4 bedroom home through 'Long and Foster'. The builder, William Thomas 'BT' Goodman, Sr. submitted a building permit application for 3 bedrooms. He built 4 despite a soil re-evaluation that mandated a smaller house. The business partners deny knowledge of any change.
"He blatantly hid it, just flat out hid it from us," said Michele.
Chuck Romito discovered the false documents that didn't match his. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation investigated, so did the board of realtors. The pair, BT Goodman, Sr. and Long & Foster realtor Meredith Minter were fined and disciplined. Minter did not return calls. Another broker gave NBC12 the company line.
"This is involved in a law suit, as long as it's in litigation we are not going to comment." In a voice message, the builder says "He spent $40,000 trying to repair the drain field, he has nothing to offer anymore, he's unemployed, his company closed, he's on the edge of going broke."
Meantime, the Romito's have an unusable yard with craters, holes 2 failed septic systems, and a house they can't sell.
"Take responsibility for what happened and fix it. If that means buy the house back from us that's fine. We will do that and start over somewhere else," said Chuck.
The Romito's are suing 'Long and Foster'. They say the realtor is their only hope for a fix to end their nightmare. 'Long and Foster' isn't talking about the lawsuit or its realtor, in question.