By LorettaRodgers

When Adolphus and Regina Adams bought their home in the 100 block of Wilson St. in 1996, the house attached was abandoned and in disrepair. The property remained vacant until 2009, when it was purchased by the Norristown-based Gallo Brothers, Inc., a company that has bought many properties in Chester for the purpose of rehabilitation and resale.

It has been since then, according to Regina, that their “living nightmare” began.

Regina said the City of Chester issued a building permit to Gallo on Jan. 13, 2009 for removal of trash and debris from the Wilson St. property.

“It took them a while to remove the trash, but then (Gallo employees) decided to demolish the rear of the house, said Regina. “After taking down the structure, there was an opening about ¼ inch wide in the corner of the wall behind (their) toilet.”

According to the couple, this was the first of many signs of damage to their home as a result of construction work performed by Gallo employees on the connecting property.

Their complaints include a two-inch opening in their hallway floor at the top of the staircase; the hallway ceiling dropped ½ inch; the staircase wall buckled; stress cracks over the second floor bathroom window and kitchen window; shifting of their roof, damage to their chimney, deterioration of their basement wall due to flooding from the next door property; a large stress crack across their rear bedroom ceiling; two large stress cracks in the bathroom ceiling; a 36-inch crack in the front bedroom; and damage to their garage when a Gallo crane hit the garage in two locations.

Regina called Alfonzo Gallo, “a difficult person” and because of that, she said, she and her husband hired the Havertown-based engineering consulting firm of Lawrence Arata and Associates.

A letter dated July 1, 2012 from Lawrence Arata, Jr. to Gallo systematically lists the results of an inspection of the Adams home and deemed at least one point of damage to the front of the home, an emergency. In the letter, Arata, in bold letters, asks why the repair was not recognized as an emergency situation. Other “urgent situations” are outlined relating to the excavation of the next door property and how that affected the Adams house.

“I repeat, this is an urgent situation as a next rain could see the Adams’ foundation sliding into the hole,” wrote Arata.

When reached for comment, Gallo said…

For more of this article, please see the current edition of the SPIRIT.

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