Homeowners, attorneys meet about Chinese drywall problems

By Al Showers - bio | email

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Hancock County residents caught in the middle of the Chinese drywall crisis say it's like being victimized by Katrina all over again. Most of them are all too familiar with the harmful effects of the defective sheetrock.

"This is another Katrina without the mud," Hancock County resident Paul Legendre said of the Chinese drywall problems he's encountered.

Legendre can't believe after two years of rebuilding his dream home he may have to gut it again, or maybe even tear it down. He said the Chinese drywall inside is destroying everything.

"Right now you're seeing the Chinese drywall mark on the sheet-rock. Right there that's supposed to be a bright copper color and it's black. I have two AC units in the house, central units, and I've been through a total of six units so far," Legendre said.

Window units now cool his home.

"I've been through three big screen TVs, two computers, two refrigerators."

Legendre is one of a handful of people who turned out for an informational meeting hosted by a group of attorneys seeking financial relief for Chinese drywall victims.

State Senator David Baria represents District 46, but was at the meeting as an attorney for homeowners with Chinese drywall problems.

"It apparently emits some sulfur gases and that causes the problems," Baria said. "The types of problems people are having, first of all, a rotten egg smell, blackened or corroded metals, air conditioning coils and other appliances that have copper or aluminum wiring."

Baria said more than six million sheets of Chinese drywall have been imported into the United States.

"Since January 1, 2006 over 27 million pounds, enough to build over 3,000 homes, has been imported into Mississippi alone."

Baria estimates 80 percent of the Chinese sheet-rock shipped to Mississippi was manufactured by a company called Knauf Gips.

"Identifying the product is the first step in making a legal recovery against these companies," attorney Edward Gibson said.

The attorneys will host a number of other, similar meetings in the upcoming weeks. The next one will be in Gulfport Tuesday night from 5:30 to 7:30pm at the Orange Grove Library on Mobile Avenue. For more information, call (228) 469-0785.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.