8 On Your Side Investigates: Owner claims termites came with new cabinets

TRINITY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Pasco County family wants the builder of their home to help bail them out of trouble with termites.

Thomas Baer is sick and tired of looking for, and on 10 or so occasions, finding frass, or termite droppings in his kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

“Every time I take out a bowl, every time I take out a glass I got to inspect it,” said Thomas.

“We’ve found something in our glasses, on our plates, you know, around the spices in the cabinets.”

Thomas purchased his home in Trinity from Samuelsen Builders, in August 2012. About 18 months after moving in he discovered the infestation. Thomas contacted Samuelsen Builders. He says he was told, he was not covered by warranty.

Samuelsen reached out to cabinet maker Fine Wood Design. The cabinet maker paid for at least 10 termite treatments over 20 months. Fine Wood Design owner Graham Winter told 8 On Your Side, he is paying for the exterminator even though he’s not sure if the termites swarmed in after the cabinets’ installation, or if they were in the wood beforehand.

“It does not make sense that a termite or termites came through a door or window and only targeted the cabinets that were installed in this particular house by this particular cabinet company,” explained Thomas’ attorney John McMenamin. McMenamin believes the termites were in the wood when the cabinets were made.

“We’ve got a defect here, and the defect problems are the things that the builder should deal with,” he added.

Samuelsen Builders has not returned 8 On Your Side’s phone calls. And though people were coming and going, its office door was locked and no one answered it when we showed up.

Thomas wants the cabinets replaced. That is no easy job, given that plumbing and electrical wiring run through the cabinets, plus they are covered with granite counter tops and a back-splash is in close proximity.

“If any other kind of critter defecated in your cabinet, you wouldn’t allow for it,” stated Thomas.

Following 8 On Your Side’s visit to Samuelsen Builders, John McMenamin told us the builder has now filed a claims with its insurance company in an effort to rectify the cabinet problem.

According Thomas Baer, Fine Wood Design told him that it had received a bad batch of wood. Owner Graham Winter contends there is no way to know where the termites came from. He is providing the exterminator for good customer service.

If you have a problem that you think needs to be investigated, call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1 800 338-0808.


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