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Kottkamp speaks at toxic drywall rally

December 7, 2009

Organizer Brenda Brincku called toxic drywall "the Silent Hurricane" at a rally to bring awareness of the issue held Saturday at The Shell Factory & Nature Park.

"It's a devastation financially. People are having to having to move out of their homes and people can't afford rent and a mortgage payment. And they're worried about their insurance being cancelled."

She compared it to people stuck on their roof in New Orleans with the hurricane with helicopters going by. "The government needs to understand that people are going to walk away from their homes because they are not going to pay for a toxic house they can't live in."

Article Photos

Special to the Breeze
Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp was the guest speaker at a toxic drywall rally. His Southwest Florida home has Chinese drywall.

The event was called the Rally for the Cause. "The reason we decided to have the rally is because we're focusing on the effects to children. It's pretty devastating - kids have to move out, you have to sell things to survive. We sold our boat and a golf cart and more."

They were owners and builders of their home, she said. "It's consumed us for 11 months, we're trying to figure out what went wrong. We moved out of our house on March 19 and sometimes the financial strain is overwhelming, worrying about our future."

She and husband George Brincku of Alva organized the event with Richard and Patti Kampf of Cape Coral.

The Kampfs have been living with Chinese drywall for just over two years. The Brincku's have American dry wall.

"It's not only a Chinese drywall problem but American as well," Brenda continued. "The message is that people need help now - not six months from now, to survive.

American drywall has the same symptoms as the Chinese products. "We had to move out because it has corroded everything in our home."

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp was the guest speaker. His Southwest Florida home has the toxic drywall.

One organizer, Brenda Brincku knows Kottkamp's wife Cindy, and asked that he appear at the rally.

"I've brought in folks from the Department of Health and I'm trying to get some answers on whether or not there are long-term health problems related to this," he said. "The preliminary tests seem to suggest the answer to that is no, however, I think as both Lieutenant Governor and a father, I'd like to have a little bit more concrete answers, as these people would, on that issue. The next issue is - what is the solution? We need to have a process in place so these people have help and know that this will be over some day. That's the next thing I'm pushing."

"What seems to be lacking in my view is the lack of urgency," Kottkamp continued. "We know there at least 30,000 homes in Florida, at least 100,000 homes in America and I don't know if that's high or low." But it is effecting that many families, he said.

"If this is how you want to gain awareness, this [the rally] is how you do it - you let your voices be heard."

The Brincku's noted that they recently traveled to Washington D.C. to meet with governmental officials. Their story was picked up the Associated Press, CBS News and the Washington Post.

Attendees were asked to bring an 8x10 photo of their family that were affixed to a display during the rally.

Joyce DeFrancisco from Cape Coral put a family photo on a display. "That's my husband and I - he's in a wheelchair, we have the drywall, and he's not handling this situation very well."

Attorney Allison Grant of Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Gora from Boca Raton represents to Kampfs. "We started a Web site called to help educate people and to learn ourselves about the issue. We're getting, sometimes, up to 100,000 hits a day from people all over the world."

On the issue of American drywall, she said it appears some of the materials may be recycled from Chinese drywall.

"We're hearing more and more about it," she said.

"It was really important for us to host this event, to help get the word out," said Shell Factory Owner Pamela J. Cronin. "We need to get the attention of public officials, it is kind of being ignored. It is getting some lip service, but we feel there has to be a consorted effort. And a lot of people haven't reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and people need to know that's what they need to do - to get a larger group and get their voices heard."



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