The person overseeing the program helping so many suffering from concrete crumbling beneath their homes told NBC Connecticut Investigates he is stepping down earlier than planned.
He said the state’s inability to consistently fund the program to support homeowners with crumbling concrete is to blame.
Connecticut homes with crumbling foundations have to be lifted clear off their crumbling basements to replace the defective concrete, a costly repair that many simply cannot afford.
These efforts accelerated over the past year, when the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, or CFSIC, began giving homeowners the money they need to help fix the problem.
Now, this progress may be in jeopardy, with the planned October departure of superintendent Mike Maglaras, the person who arguably played the largest role in setting it up.
Maglaras told NBC Connecticut Investigates, “My original intention was to stay on through the sunset date of June 30 of 2022, replace 800 single family dwellings, 150 to 175 condominiums, show real success, but the funding is defeating us.”
The plan was to fund CFSIC $100 million over five years, in five $20 million annual installments, each approved by the state bond commission.
Instead, CFSIC had to suspend signing new agreements to fix homes earlier this month, because the bond commission, overseen by Governor Ned Lamont, has failed to get the program its next $20 million, according to Maglaras.
“I can’t run a business if I don’t know when my cash will arrive. I can’t run a business if I don’t even know if it will arrive. The month. The year. I can’t make payroll, I can’t write checks to contractors, I can’t put deposits down. Those contractors in turn can’t hire staff, can’t buy new equipment. That’s the problem. The largest reason for me to make the decision I made to step down is funding. The predictability of funding.”
Maglaras said in many cases CFSIC, something called a “captive insurance company,” has not had a high degree of buy-in at the capital.
“I can’t tell you the number of meetings I’ve walked into at the state government, where I’ve introduced myself to someone, and they’ve introduced themselves to me, and they’re almost opening comment is, ‘You know Mike, I want to be clear, I was never a real fan of the formation of the captive insurance company. I was never a real fan of using taxpayer dollars to fix a problem that should be fixed by the commercial insurance industry’.”
Most insurers do not cover crumbling basements.
Lamont’s administration responded to Maglaras’ comments saying, “Governor Lamont is looking for creative solutions to this crisis. He is ready and willing to see this process through.”
The governor has participated in numerous briefings on other innovative approaches to this problem.