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Vacca ends homeowner’s 13-year flood ordeal

The installation of a catch basin on one Country Club street has ended a 13-year-old ordeal between one local homeowner and the Department of Transportation.

Kathleen Wortman, of 1348 Kearney Avenue, said that after a repaving of the street by the DOT in 1995, water began leaking into her garage and basement, causing vast amount of damages running into the tens of thousands of dollars.

In her 37-years living at the home, she never had problems with water seepage until the repaving job.

And while Wortman hopes the catch basin in front of her home, installed at Councilman Jimmy Vacca’s request, will stem the tide, sort-to-speak, the homeowner is not holding out hope that she will recoup money for the damages her home has suffered over the years. 

Wortman has been filing claims with the Comptroller’s office since 2003, as sometimes more than a foot of water flooded her garage and basement.

“I made the rounds of all the politicians, and finally one day walked into the comptroller’s office,” Wortman said. “We got a claim paid in 2003, but have not been able to receive any money in subsequent claims in 2005 and 2007. The water would flow down the driveway, to the driver’s side of my car, and into the garage and basement.”

Wortman said she has to completely remodel her garage and basement because of the flooding, including replacing paneling and walls. Mold continues to grow in the garage from the repeated exposure to water.

“Mr. Vacca was instrumental in getting that catch basin for me,” Wortman said. “I think that will alleviate most of the problem. Without the help of Vacca and his staff, I don’t know where I would be. Jeremy [Warneke], from Vacca’s office, was very helpful in getting this put in. I can’t praise them enough.”

Future problems averted, Wortman is still facing issues from the past, as, in addition to not having her claims with the Comptroller’s office remedied, she had a home insurance claim turned down. The insurance company said that her policy did not cover this type of damage.

While in the past, the city agency allegedly told Wortman that they have no record of any problem at the site, the Kearney Avenue resident says she has a DOT document proving that they knew about the problem as early as 1995.  She plans on continuing to fight for the money she feels she is due. 

“Originally, the supervisor on the repaving job said he would repair the problem by Christmas,” Wortman noted. “That was on December 2, 1995. He never said which Christmas.”

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