BY DREW HARWELL
c.2012 Tampa Bay Times@
ODESSA Former football star Vinny Testaverde has sued the luxury builder of his sprawling lakefront mansion, claiming structural flaws led to a host of defects that "should not exist" in a multimillion-dollar home.
Testaverde, 50, and his wife, Mitzi, sued Gray Homes of Tampa Bay this month, seeking damages for faulty construction that they say tainted their $4.5 million Odessa estate with mildew, bugs and rotting wood.
The suit says "substantial volumes of water," have poured into the 12,000-square-foot mansion's wine cellar, cabana, exercise room and sauna. Roof-bearing columns and a staircase have sunk.
The Testaverdes are seeking damages for breach of contract and building code violations. The builder, which has not yet filed a response to the suit, did not return messages.
Listed as being built with seven bedrooms, a three-story elevator and an eight-car garage, the Keystone Lake mansion was Hillsborough County's priciest home sold in 2007.
Gray Homes specializes in "esteem level homes" of between 4,500 and 14,000 square feet, its website says. After the Testaverdes' home was finished, owner Harry Gray told the Tampa Bay Times, "We build big houses for rich people."
The company builds three to five homes a year and has erected estates for the late Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf and former Tampa Mayor Dick Greco. As of Monday, its website still boasted that Testaverde was a customer.
Testaverde, a Heisman Trophy winner and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, set an NFL record for throwing at least one touchdown in 21 straight seasons. He last played for the Carolina Panthers in 2007 and now works as an offensive coordinator at Jesuit High School, where his son is a quarterback.
Drew Harwell can be reached
or (727) 893-8252.