Ganim Promises To Help Homeowners With Crumbling Foundations

This article originally appeared in the Hartford Courant.

 

“Crumbling foundations are a major and difficult issue to solve,’’ Ganim said. I'm committed to making sure we put our residents first in providing assistance.”

A key legislative committee’s rejection of a bill that would have required insurance companies to cover “the peril of collapse” for homes with failing foundations has sparked a wave of anger in Eastern Connecticut, where the majority of the affected homes are located.

“I am frankly stunned by how out of touch these 24 legislators are with the extremely pressing needs of rural Connecticut. Absolutely despicable,’’ tweeted Nick Fulchino, a Democrat from Pomfret who serves on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

Senate Bill 518 would have assessed a $20 surcharge on all insurance premiums to create a fund for the estimated 34,000 homeowners in 36 towns whose foundations are literally crumbling. Insurance companies have denied homeowners' claims, saying the problem does not qualify for coverage under their definition of collapse.

The bill was defeated on Monday by a vote of 16 to 24 in the legislature’s judiciary committee. While both Democrats and Republicans voted against the measure, Fulchino said his party’s candidates could face repercussions in November.

Fulchino noted that the state recently agreed to pay off about $550 million of Hartford’s general obligation debt over the next two decades to help the city stave off bankruptcy.

“If these foundations were in Hartford or Bridgeport or New Haven, this bill would have passed. That is what upsets me. That is why the Connecticut Democratic Party risks losing the majority in the legislature,” Fulchino said.

The issue has already been raised during the governor’s race. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Ganim, the mayor of Bridgeport, responded to Fulchino on Twitter. Ganim has been highly critical of the Hartford bailout.

“Crumbling foundations are a major and difficult issue to solve,’’ Ganim said. I'm committed to making sure we put our residents first in providing assistance.”

At Wednesday night’s Republican gubernatorial forum, Mark Lauretti, the mayor of Shelton, also pledged to address the issue, which he says represents a “failure to protect working people.”

“It’s an issue that impacts an awful lot of people in the state of Connecticut, Lauretti said. “It effects entire communities...[and] is a real failure of consumer protection."

This article originally appeared in the Hartford Courant.