'Disaster' condo builder arrested

Monday, June 25, 2012

The developer of a failed condominium was arrested this morning and charged with numerous offenses including endangering the lives of the people who once lived here.

The Rittenhouse Club has been called a disaster. From structural defects, fire stairs made of wood instead of metal, to nonworking sprinklers, all of these combined to create an unsafe building.

Robert Bruce Fazio was arrested and charged with offenses including risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering, fraud, and theft by deception.

"Cutting every conceivable corner in the construction of this building so he can take the money for himself, and by doing that, he put these people's lives in jeopardy," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

Conditions were so dreadful that residents who thought they'd found a dream home were forced to flee a condemned building. A nagging question is how did Fazio's property pass Norristown Borough inspections?

Furman says this investigation is ongoing.

"There are people who are involved in these transactions who have a lot of questions that they have to answer; we are looking at everyone, there is no one who is going to escape scrutiny in this," Ferman said.

In May, Fazio spoke with Action News claiming there were problems with subcontractors, but also saying the building was safe.

"Basically, the building went over budget by probably $1-million, at the end of the day, we, basically, ran out of money," Fazio said at the time.

"He constructed a building that was at risk of falling down or burning up," Ferman said.

Fazio is also charged with allegedly deceiving a woman into swapping her property for a condo; in the end, she was left without a home.

Fazio has been released on unsecured bail.

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