POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – The Knox name was synonymous with the South Florida pool game for 30 years.
"Because they seemed to be very reputable," Maryann Lojek said.
In April, Lojek and her husband filed a lawsuit against Knox Pools and Donna and William Knox -- the couple who previously owned the company -- Victorine Enterprises, LLC, which now does business as Knox Pools, and its operations manager, Scott Donaldson.
In January, Lojek and her husband paid Knox Pools $7,571 to remodel their North Lauderdale pool. In March, the couple got an email from a former Knox Pools employee which read: "I regret to inform you that Knox Pools (who've been in business since 1988) has been closed indefinitely for reasons unknown. An unfortunate business decision that was made by the owners of which its own employees were unaware of. I myself want to apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. It is my personal opinion I'm sure you would rather get some sort of information instead of just guessing. It's unfortunate it won't be coming from the owners. I sincerely wish everyone luck."
"Everybody got screwed," Lojek said, speaking with the Leave to Layron team.
Another customer's lawsuit against the company is also pending. One of Knox Pools' suppliers is owed more than $52,000. A judge ruled in favor of the supplier.
Knox Pools' building on North Federal Highway in Pompano Beach is also closed. The gates around its parking lot are padlocked and the company's landlord is suing to get them evicted.
Lojek reached out to the LITL team again after getting a letter this month, signed by Jeffrey Gerow -- an attorney representing William and Donna Knox.
"My clients are furious with Victorine Enterprises, LLC. and Scott Donaldson," Gerow wrote.
The letter also detailed how his clients sold their company in 2014 to the current owners before retiring to Tennessee and “have had absolutely no control or authority over the operation of the business.”
Gerow wrote that his clients are the landlords, who are now suing to have the current owners evicted.
"For your information, Victorine Enterprises, LLC. has not paid rent for several months and have not made payments on their financing commitments to my clients," the letter stated. "As a result, my clients have and will incur a substantial financial loss as a result of the closing of the business."
Gerow wrote that the Knoxes "feel awful about [Lojek's] predicament and are very sorry for their financial loss." But, his letter went on to say that his clients are "only a previous owner of the business" and that they "do not have any legal liability whatsoever."
He called the suit against his clients "frivolous" and asked that the Knoxes be dropped from the suit to avoid further legal actions.
Lojek said she and her husband spoke with their attorney, and have since removed the Knoxes from their initial complaint. Their case against the company and its current managers is still pending.
We tracked one of the current partners, Henry Ohlef, to a gated subdivision in Fort Myers. Our phone calls went unanswered, and his voicemail was full.
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