If the disease that overcomes homes because of defective drywall could be likened to a heinous epidemic, Patient Zero might be a North Miami importer on a mission to find the building material during a severe shortage in 2004.
Salomon Abadi, through his company, La Suprema Enterprise, is the person who connected Miami construction supply company Banner Supply to Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin.
On Friday a Miami-Dade jury awarded $2.5 million to one couple whose home was built with the defective import, which has spawned the most expensive investigation in Consumer Product Safety Commission history. The case found Banner Supply liable for damage to Armin and Lisa Seifart's Coconut Grove home.
Although Abadi wasn't named in the Seifarts' lawsuit, the jury assigned his company 5 percent of the blame for the destruction of their home.
For at least a decade, American drywall suppliers have turned to China during surges in demand for domestic drywall. Its origins were unimportant, said Michael Gardner, head of the Gypsum Association, the industry's leading trade group. Indeed, a 100,000-sheet shipment of 4-foot-by-12-foot board was sent to Port Manatee on Florida's Gulf coast in 1999.
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