PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The owner of Olympus Pools, the besieged and recently closed Lutz-based swimming pool company, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to records reviewed by Better Call Behnken.
James Staten and his wife filed for bankruptcy on October 6.
Court records show the Statens owe more than $ 1.3 million on their mortgage. Olympus creditors include Revenue Recovery Services, an SBA loan through Florida Business Development Corp., and $ 262,994.19 to American Express, among others.
According to bankruptcy filings, Staten’s monthly budget exceeds $ 17,000 and includes $ 2,150 for electricity, $ 1,000 for lawn maintenance and three cars for a total of $ 3,689.51.
Better Call Behnken has reported extensively on the hundreds of swimming pool projects Olympus Pools were unable to complete and the disgruntled customers left behind as a result of its closure.
In a court record, Staten says that while “forecast sales in 2020 were to reach 600 pools, that number would approach 900 by the end of the year.” The case puts the blame on a combination of unexpected delays in obtaining permits, the rainy season, a shortage of labor and materials and staff members.
“The chief financial officer, accountants and accountant whose job it was to monitor the financial health of the company combined negligence and complacency to create a tense situation until the fall of 2020,” says the court record. He goes on to say that “around this time several business members and their business managers left to start their own businesses and their own businesses. They left behind hundreds of undersold jobs with low expectations. Immediately after their departure, they helped ignite our clientele, encouraging BBB complaints campaigns and the media.
Staten’s bankruptcy filing notes that the “negative attention” received by the Olympus pools has had an impact on its ability to secure additional funding.
“Lyon Financial provides third-party financing to clients who build a pool,” the file said. “They refused to fund, and at the time of the shutdown in July 2021, they hadn’t paid Olympus for five months. This includes finished work.
Olympus Pools had obtained more work permits than its three largest regional competitors, according to court records.
According to the bankruptcy filings, “with its damaged reputation and all funding cut off, it was impossible to operate.”
Staten’s bankruptcy filing says media coverage of Olympus Pools’ ongoing issues, such as Better Call Behnken’s extensive reporting on the company, is another catalyst to its eventual demise.
Court records indicate that “at the end of each report, viewers were encouraged to complain to the DBPR and the attorney general’s office.”
Better Call Behnken reported in July that Olympus Pools had voluntarily relinquished its commercial license.
Court records say Staten emptied his 401K account and sold assets in an attempt to keep his business afloat. It also indicates that Staten and his family withdrew their children from school and left the area due to the backlash against Olympus.
“Over the past year, it was as if a family member had passed away, and the debtor [Staten] is accused of this ”, indicate the court records.
This is breaking news. Please check back as this story will be updated when more information becomes available.