Renting a shore home the summer after his senior year has always been a dream of 18-year-old Domenico Marsico. But that dream turned into a nightmare for the Northeast Philadelphia high school grad and his six friends. When they arrived at the home on East Spicer Avenue in Wildwood, NJ, they discovered that it was infested with roaches.
“We walked in and there were bugs everywhere,” Marsico said. “We’ve all been keeping our clothes in our cars.”
Things soon went from bad to worse after the group called city officials to complain. Even though there were seven people on the lease for the home, code enforcement officers told them that only three people were allowed to live in it. With their summer dreams crushed, the teens were forced to leave.
“This has been our dream since we were in grade school to have fun our senior summer,” Marsico said. “Now all that hard work is just down the drain.”
The teens claim they each paid $2,000 to the building’s owner, Fausto Ricart, for a total of $14,000.
“I worked hard for three years, saving up this money and for him to just come in and take it from us is absolutely ridiculous,” said Shawn Scornaienchi.
Ricart was ultimately issued 12 summonses for violations, including overcrowding and maintaining a nuisance. He’s also accused of illegally leasing units to two other groups of teens at a nearby building that’s under foreclosure and owned by a bank.
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano says he’ll also push to have Ricart’s mercantile license revoked.
“He knows the law because my inspectors let him know the law,” Troiano said. “I’d rather have an empty building than a building where somebody can be killed through a fire from overcrowding.”
Ricart allegedly told police he no longer had the money to provide refunds. However, the teens say Ricart eventually gave them $6200 and promised an additional $5,000 over the next 10 weeks.
“I’m not happy we couldn’t get the rest of the money,” Scornaienchi said. “But I don’t want to drag this out. I want to enjoy my summer.”
The teens say they’ve been staying at a motel paid for by Ricart over the past few days. They are now searching for a different and legal summer home.