Debris removal companies under investigation

Published: Updated:

CAPE CORAL, Fla. State Attorney General Pam Bondi opened an official investigation into three debris removal companies. The City of Cape Coral hired for two of the contractors under investigation.

Bondi says the state is looking into accusations the companies may have charged taxpayers higher rates.

City officials say the contractors cancelled services days before the storm hit, causing major delays.

These delays leave many neighbors growing impatient.

Fran Hunter lost three trees from the storm. She says they have been chopped up and ready for pick up the day after Hurricane Irma hit.

“It’s killing my grass and I don’t know when they’re going to come and remove it,” Hunter said. “I watch the news and everywhere around us is getting it picked up but nothing is ever mentioned here.”

Some Cape Coral residents decided to take debris removal into their own hands.

John Destefano is loading up piles of storm debris from his neighbors’ yards and dropping it off in a nearby empty lot.

“A lot of the neighbors have been worried about debris in their yard,” Destefano said. “So, we are lucky to have an empty lot and we’re just trying to keep it in one spot, keep it weighted down.”

Destefano blames the contractors, not the city.

“There’s always more vetting that could be done, but at the same time, the companies — they write a check and they better be able to cash it,” Destefano said.

Destefano says he will continue removing debris until the city finds a solution.

One of the companies under investigation that Cape Coral hired is Ashbritt Inc. They were also hired by Collier County.

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