State-ordered upgrade stymies wheelchair-bound couple

July 14th, 2009 by

ST. PETERSBURG (Bay News 9) – A wheelchair-bound couple and their condo association are in a tough situation after the state of Florida ordered the only elevator in their building to be upgraded.

Now Rachael and Rhoden Haskell are not sure where they are going to live while that elevator is shut down for more than a month.

The Haskells have been living in their St. Petersburg condo for the past eight years without any problems.

“This unit was actually much more accessible than even the first floor units,” said Rachael Haskell, who is quadriplegic.

But the Haskells’ lifeline to the outside world is going to be shut down next month, as the only elevator in their building needs an upgrade. The state says the upgrade is necessary to ensure that, in an emergency, people with disabilities can exit the building safely.

The work is expected to take from five to six weeks. During that time, the stairs are going to be the only way residents who live on the upper floors can get in and out of their condos.

That is not an option for the Haskells.

“I work 50, 60 hours a week and my husband also works full-time,” she said. “So, we wouldn’t be able to maintain employment then if we weren’t able to leave the condo. So, instead we’ll be forced outside of the condo.”

The Casa Del Mar condo association said it is being forced to make the $55,000 elevator upgrade. The property management declined an interview request from Bay News 9, but the company did send a letter to the Haskells.

“No one has entered this project without seeking every possible alternative, variance or postponement possible,” the letter read. “We have been denied our elevator certificate of operation by the State of Florida. We also risk heavy fines.”

Haskell is sure there is something that can be done on the part of the management.

“They could at least waive the maintenance fee for one to two months, the duration during which we’re gone,” she said. “So, that would help us towards paying for a rental or paying for modifications to a home.”

But Resource Property Management said it cannot waive those fees.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulations, which ordered the repairs, calls this a unique situation. Officials with the department say they are reaching out to the association and the repair company to see how it can accommodate the owners.

24 Responses

  1. BadSeed131313

    This is rediculous. The State or Condo association is responsible for moving the couple to a hotel during the repairs. What is this couple supposed to do? Stay holed up in the condo until the upgrade is done? And what if there is a fire? This is a farce!!!!!

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  3. Khaleb

    Oh wahh. Despite what bubba says on the show I have known these people personaly. They are living off the system. They are scum and do not deserve our help.

  4. GC

    Bubba and Boys,
    Contact someone that is involved with the Americans with Disabilities Act and they will make sure these folks get what they need.

  5. kerch6

    Khaleb, I hope you called in and told Bubba this!!
    If not, stop being a hater

  6. Rachael Haskell

    Thank you so much for your support! It’s situations like these when we all see the best and worst in people, and we’ve been especially inspired by the kindness that you, your listeners, and the community has shown. I currently work as an Adjunct Instructor at USF, a therapist at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay counseling trauma survivors and their families, and have just taken on an additional job at a hospital to try to put the money together for paying the mortgage, maintenance fee, plus a rental or adaptions to another home. My husband works full-time too. Even though he’s in a wheelchair, he helps me get ready in the morning (does my hair, puts on my earrings), cooks, and cleans, and has made us a wonderful home. We are proud to be hard workers. We were just hoping that Resource Property Management would at least waive the maintenance fee for us and other residents with no place to stay, but they continue to insist that they won’t. In fact, all they’ve said is how we shouldn’t have bought a place with an elevator, but most other places have stairs, and for us, elevators are a necessary part of life in order to be active. I’ve always had to take an elevator to get around at school, work, and just about everywhere…

    So thank you again for your caring! If you’d like to reach me, send me an email through or at

  7. Jeremy

    I work for a local moving company and we want to assist in any way we can! We will pack and move anything needed for the Haskells for free just let me know what we can do.

  8. Brian Ruel

    Hey Rach! I hope this all works out for you and Rhode! I’m sure Bubba and the Bubba Army can help out – I’ve been a big fan ever since he came to Sirius and let’s hope for the best… Can’t wait to come down in August, it’ll be fun.

  9. bruel17

    khaleb – you can go …. yourself… you don’t know these people! They are the nicest, hard-working people I know.

  10. andy grantham

    I am with suburban extended stay in tampa. contact me if i can be of any help.

  11. Rachael Haskell

    Thanks Brian! You’re so sweet! That’s my cousin!

  12. Dave

    What a bunch of pieces of shit, id pluck them handy caps in the brown eye and then push them down the stairs.

  13. Dave

    Id poke them with my stick in the eye. They cant do shit since they are quads.

  14. Brian Ruel

    Dave, they might not be able to defend themselves very well, but I can assure you I can! F*** off!

  15. Rachael Haskell

    Look me up on google Dave- you’ll see lots of me doing lots more than your sorry ass!

  16. Common Sense

    In Dave’s “defense”,he was obviously pulled off the nipple
    way to soon. Now let’s leave Dave alone so he can go back to teaching Florida public school grammer.

  17. Jeremy

    Yeah, I agree. Dave this is not the place for your negative comments. If you can help this couple out, great. If not, go elsewhere.

  18. Dave

    Ooo boy id Niizzzut on these quads.

  19. Al

    Hiya Folks,
    This is highly illegal for your condo association on building association. They are required by law that public buildings by made handicap available. Since you are a resident and you own your home in a tenant like situation your landlord (AKA Condo Association) are required by LAW to continue to have the building handicapped accesable or pay the fines and risk having the entire building being closed until they do so.

    They must make resonable accomidations. Since they are refusing to do so (my guess is that they know about this some time but didn’t want to do anything until their certificate was about to be pulled) then you can file for an injunction for all work to be freezed until they make accomidations. If they fail to do so they (Condo association) can and will be found in contempt of court and sentenced to jail time. Contact the DOJ/ADA they can help you with this and let you know your rights.

  20. Rachael Haskell

    Thank you Al, I’ll check into that!

  21. Uno Amigo

    Rachael… you rock. Best of luck to you from the Bubba Army in Memphis.

  22. Jeff corrigan

    Dave, you sound pretty tough typing out harsh words through your computer.
    A real man would step up identify himself and be prepared for an ass kickin!!
    Until you grow some balls , keeping typing away but be careful you don’t break a nail while you furiously type your comments. lol

  23. Denise

    Unfortunately things like this happen to the handicap alot. I work as an Independent Living Specialist in New Mexico. It might be worthwile to see what public officials (Mayor, Govenor, who ever you can get to listen and side with you) are willing to step in or if you can find an attorney (yes I know they are expensive but there are some that will do it for the principal of the issue and not stick it to you as hard) to help. Your house has to be accessable to you and if not you should be compensated with a hotel at the least, but thru doing my job I have found that most people could care less about the handicap and feel that they are just living off the system (which is not the truth about most of them, and there are alot that want to work but finding work is hard for them).

  24. Lu Cifer

    Oh it’s SO disgusting to think there are still people who say this couple live off the system, are scum, etc. GROW UP. And what if this was you? I guess you would just say “Ok, I’ll go live on the streets now, even though I’m QUADRIPLEGIC”?

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