Residents Attend Crumbling Foundations Meeting in Hopes of Help

Hundreds of homeowners whose homes have crumbling foundations went to EO Smith High School in Mansfield on Wednesday night to get an update from Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jonathan Harris and Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman.

"It's devastating. I have nothing," Janet Johnson, of Vernon, said.

Failing foundations are impacting hundreds of homeowners in Hartford, Tolland, and Windham counties and some experts fear the number is more likely in the thousands.

When Johnson discovered the problem several years ago, an engineer told her it could be fixed, she said.

"I spent $40,000 on putting two new walls in," Johnson said. "My third structural engineer told me that will fail eventually."

Johnson is one of 220 homeowners who have filed a complaint with the state and the state launched a multi-agency investigation after the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters brought the issue to light in July.

That's when Johnson realized she wasn't alone.

"Somebody has to help us," Johnson said.

Harris said progress has been made, but he can understand why people wouldn't think it was enough.

Two companies connected to the state investigation, JJ Mottes and Becker Construction, signed an agreement with the state this week to stop selling the aggregate from Becker's Quarry in Willington for residential foundations until June of next year.

"What they did admit, they'd never admitted before, which is pyrrhotite is a common denominator, that it plays a role," Harris said.

JJ Mottes and Becker Construction "continue to believe this is an issue of improper installation and not materials."

At Wednesday night's meeting, state officials asked again for patience from an impatient crowd.

"We're giving as much information as possible without blowing the integrity of the investigation," Harris said.

The state continues to ask affected homeowners to come forward.

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