TRINITY — Private gated neighborhoods. Exclusive club lifestyle. That’s the website pitch for the Champions’ Club in Trinity, a community of estate homes offering residents privacy, the prestigious Fox Hollow Golf Club, its course designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and an elegant clubhouse.
But that’s a glossy image, residents say. In a lawsuit, they describe cracking, damaged tennis courts, deterioration of the perimeter wall, erosion on the banks of the community lake and step and railing issues with the pool and spa.
They also list numerous issues with the club house, including cracks in roof tiles and stucco, missing hurricane straps, missing window sealant, corrosion on the bell of the fire safety system, moisture causing corrosion in the electrical system and damaged duct work and fasteners in the heating and air conditioning equipment.
The Champions’ Club Owners Association Inc. filed the complaint against developer Adam Smith Enterprises Inc. outlining a host of “defects” in the luxury enclave in July. In all, they list 62 flaws they say have been “examined and certified by an appropriately licensed Florida engineer.”
As with other developers, officials with Adam Smith Enterprises ran the homeowners association from the beginning in 2003. They had “the responsibility to maintain, repair and replace the common areas” as required by the community’s documents, the lawsuit states.
Adam Smith Enterprises disputes the details. The company is also the developer of Trinity and was founded by James Gills, who also founded the St. Luke Cataract and Laser Institute in Tarpon Springs.
“Adam Smith Enterprises is very proud of the Champions Club development,” said Frank R. Jakes, attorney for the company in an email to the Tampa Bay Times.
“Of course, any lawsuit claiming construction defects in the common areas is disappointing. Adam Smith Enterprises certainly doesn’t share this opinion, but is in the early stages of reviewing and responding to the legal claim,” Jakes wrote. “We are confident that the claims will ultimately prove to be unsupported.”
Residents of Champions’ Club took over as directors of the homeowners association in December 2020. That’s when they started bringing in experts to determine the problems with their common amenities, according to the court paperwork.
Homeowners have sparred with the developer for several years. In a prior lawsuit, a neighborhood leadership group had attempted to obtain an accounting of the association’s financial situation before taking over management.
Community members say their property values have suffered because of the disrepair in the common areas, according to the lawsuit.