GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4)- This is a story about sinking homes, a seven year legal battle with developers, and disappointment.
Homeowners at a golf course subdivision near Glenwood Springs recently won the lengthy legal battle with the builders who constructed homes on top of sinking soils, leaving many homes literally cracking in half and some condemned.
The recently awarded nearly $9 million settlement to 20 homeowners at the Ironbridge subdivision determined that the developer of the homes, a Lehman Brothers subsidiary, was responsible for damage. But that settlement is far from fair, according to those people left stuck in broken homes.
The homes were built on evaporite, a soil that has been linked to sinkholes and subsidence in parts of Western Colorado. The soil has high concentrations of salt and when water meets up with the salt, it melts away and the ground begins to sink and shift.
"It's a geologic event ... which is not uncommon in many parts of Western Colorado and actually through Colorado in general," developer John Young said.
Young now oversees the Ironbridge development along the banks of the Colorado River. What he ended up buying from the now defunct former owners was a big headache.
"They experience failure in their homes and their foundations and that would be traumatic for anyone," Young said.
Homeowners were under a gag order in the case for last seven years but now that the settlement is reached they are talking out about their experiences.
"This has been a nightmare. It has strained me emotionally and been devastating," homeowner Stephanie Mosher told CBS4.
Mosher started noticing cracks on her walls two years after moving into the home for which she paid nearly $500,000. But that was only the beginning of an ordeal she says she wishes on not even her worst enemy.
"I thought I was going to have a heart attack because of all of this, and I'm still stuck here with the same problem," she added.
Mosher tells CBS4 she sunk nearly her entire savings into what she believed would be her dream retirement home, only to be left in a sinking house that even repairs probably won't fix. She has advice for other people looking to buy a new home.
"You have to do your homework, research, ask questions of anyone involved in your home, cross every 't' and dot every 'i,'" Mosher said.
CBS4 reached out for a comment from the builders and former developers but we have not heard back from them. The homeowners involved in the settlement are still trying to get some more money to pay attorney fees that have added up to the millions of dollars.
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