By GREG GILES

News Editor

Parties who threatened to sue over radon found in a condo unit have carried through on that threat.

Tony Turlenko warned the South Preserve II at Waterside Village Association if they didn’t allow to him to reasonably mitigate his unit for high levels radon, he’d be forced to litigate. Well, he has. So has a former tenant of Turlenko’s.

Turlenko filed suit in May said he took part in a pretrial hearing on June 13.

He sued because his condo association placed restrictions on his ability to mitigate his unit after a renter tested it for radon and found higher levels than what is considered safe.

Turlenko claims he was asked to sign a contract addendum allowing him to proceed with radon mitigation, but making him responsible for repairs due to any radon, including water or mold damage, that gets into other units during the mitigation process. Turlenko refused to sign off He also claimed it’s an illegal requirement passed at an illegally held meeting by the association’s board of directors without any notice to condo owners.

He’s seeking $5,000.

Meanwhile, Turlenko is being sued by previous tenants Dean and Elise Cuthbert. They filed suit on May 28, in small claims, seeking $1,300 for return of their deposit, saying Turlenko didn’t follow rules to notify them in writing that their deposit would not be returned when they broke the lease and moved out due to the radon. The Cuthberts did not wish to speak on the record.

The condo association and management company did not immediately return phone calls.

Turlenko said he wished he could recover more of the money due to lost rental income and funds he spent housing the former tenants in a hotel “while the association lied to and misinformed other owners regarding my efforts to inform them of a health hazard and to mitigate my units,” according to a court filling.

Bob Massanova, with SWF Home Inspections, one of two EPA-certified radon testing companies in the area, said he’s experienced a ramp up in radon related calls since Turlenko went public with his radon saga. Massanova said it’s more than just the land fill that’s causing the problem. It’s in the concrete aggregate mixture imported from up north to build floors.

Radon is common. Massanova said he’s found it in other condo units in Venice and North Port.

He uses two mitigators from the Fort Myers area who focus on air handlers using a specialized fan and dehumidifier that brings in more fresh air, thus reducing radon levels.

Radon is measured in units of picocuries per litre (pCi/L). 4pCi/l is considered safe.

“We’ve seen radon levels at 6 go down to less than 1” with the technology, Massanova said.

“The problem is in the construction. Homes and condos are built so efficient today. They are making the envelops tighter and tighter, with fewer places for radon to escape.”

More importantly, Massanova said, the entire building has to be mitigated.

Other condo associations have decided to not to place restrictions on a unit owner who wishes to mitigate. That’s the path Turlenko would like to see his condo association take.

Email: ggiles@venicegondolier.com

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