American Invsco, a giant Chicago-based developer that has been involved in two major conversion battles in Montgomery County, has settled a dispute with condominium owners at the Grosvenor Park complex south of Rockville who charged that the company failed to make promised repairs on the property, the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Affairs announced yesterday.
In the settlement, Invsco agreed to turn over a Grosvenor Park condominium unit worth about $100,000 to the unit owners, who intend to sell the property and use the proceeds to make the needed repairs, consumer affairs spokesman Joe Giloley said.
Giloley said the settlement marked the first time the county has worked out an agreement to take a condominium unit from a developer instead of a cash settlement. He said the solution allows a developer, who may not have enough cash to fulfill the terms of the monetary settlement, to transfer property of equivalent value.
The settlement ended months of negotiation between Invsco and the county office, which had sued Invsco on behalf of the Grosvenor Park unit owners. The county plans to dismiss its lawsuit against Invsco today, assistant county attorney Joyce Stern said.
Last February, embattled owners at The Promenade high-rise in Bethesda agreed to drop their lawsuit against Invsco in exchange for a $200,000 settlement from the company, which had defaulted on millions of dollars of loans on that conversion.
At Grosvenor Park, a complex of high-rise buildings and town houses west of Rockville Pike near the Beltway, condominium owners had charged that the developer failed to live up to promises to refurbish a parking lot, some sidewalks and an outdoor stairway on the property, said Giloley, who specializes in condominiums for the consumer office. The unit owners filed a complaint in April 1982 with the county consumer office. After that office failed to reach agreement with Invsco, the county filed suit last November, Giloley said.
Giloley said his office took the position that consumers had purchased their condominiums based on promises of refurbishment made in the property report issued by the developers. "The homeowners maintained the work was never done," said Giloley, who noted that a consultant brought in by the county agreed.
Invsco general counsel William Laytin said in a telephone interview from Chicago that the company "is pleased a satisfactory settlement was forged between us and the county." He added, "There is no reason to comment on who had what position. I don't want to comment on any of the details involved."
Stern, the assistant county attorney, said Invsco officials had maintained that they had completed the refurbishment program and were not liable for subsequent wear and tear on the property. However, Stern said, they never documented this defense.