(WSVN) - Their elevator has been broken off and on for almost five years and now one woman can’t get to her cancer treatments. How can you force someone to fix the elevator? It’s a question a desperate family had for Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Carolyn had one stroke. Then another and another.

Her body is failing her.

Diane Blankenship: “And and now she’s, she’s left side weak. She can’t, she can’t walk and so she’s bedridden.”

Diane quit her job to take care of her mother.

Diane Blankenship: “Every day I massage her hand to try to get feeling back.”

There was another thing that made Carolyn feel better.

Diane Blankenship: “Taking walks in a wheelchair, getting fresh air.”

But those days are gone.

Diane Blankenship: “We are, actually prisoners in this home. My mom is.

Diane and her mother live on the second floor at Wynmoor’s Nassua building, where the only way down for Carolyn is the elevator, which has been constantly breaking for the past four years.

Diane Blankenship: “I, was stuck in the elevator several times. Had to call 911.”

Diane has complained to the Wynmoor Association, the management company, and documented each failure of the elevator, which is also called a lift.

Diane Blankenship: “And we would complain about it and they would come out and say it was fixed, but the next day it would break again.”

Finally, Broward County had enough and in 2023, sued Wynmoor’s Nassau Village West Two, where Carolyn lives, to force them to fix the elevators.

They didn’t, so Broward fined them $8,250.

Diane Blankenship: “And I’m not the only one calling, many people here are calling.”

Carolyn then developed cancer.

Fire Rescue can’t take her up and down the stairs each time to her doctors appointments, so Diane had to hire a private company. It can be jarring, painful and expensive.

Diane Blankenship: “And she doesn’t have the funds. I’m not working because i’m a full time caregiver.”

And since they can’t afford it, it means Carolyn can’t get to her cancer treatments.

Diane Blankenship: “Otherwise, my mom, six months ago, would have had that cancer taken care of. She would not be like she is today.”

Finally the elevator was replaced but the new one doesn’t work.

Diane Blankenship: “We were told this one was fixed and it’s not fixed. If I can’t go up and down that elevator, it is not fixed.”

As she sits with her mother, Diane’s fuming turns to fury.

Diane Blankenship: “I am angry, I am and I’ve asked, and asked, and begged, and pleaded and nothing there, it’s still not working.”

And then Carolyn, who hadn’t spoken much, softly spoke up.

Carolyn Blankenship: “I’d like to fix the elevator so I can go on down it.”

Well, how does a resident force someone to fix an elevator, Howard?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “If you cannot get the association to fix it, if the county can’t force them to do it, you have to get a judge to order the association to get the elevators running. If they ignore the judge, they are in contempt and they can go to jail until the elevators are working and when you sue the association over the elevators, they have to pay your legal fees, so do that.”

We found out why the new elevators aren’t working. It’s because the emergency telephones aren’t installed.

The association is responsible for the phone. They told me they will be installed this week.

I spoke to the elevator company owner, Richard Clark, who said he was never told about Carolyn.

He said if his mechanic was on site, legally the elevator could be used without the phone. He was there and Carolyn started going to her doctors appointments.

Diane Blankenship: “My mother’s very happy. She can get her cancer taken care of. She will have six visits and after those visits, she should be healed and and smiling again.”

As for why it took years to get the equipment running, Wynmoor blamed COVID for the early years and they wanted to blame the elevator company for the time after that.

Also, the people who run Wynmoor didn’t know the county had been fining them until we told them.

Most importantly, Carolyn and Diane got what they wanted.

Diane Blankenship: “I am very happy we called Help Me Howard because we needed a lift and we got one.”

Glad we could help you and your mom, Diane.

Now, why did this go on for so long? Wynmoor is an enormous property with many small associations and one master association. I don’t think the left hand knew what the right hand was doing. Proof, the people who matter there didn’t know they had been fined by Broward County about the elevator.

Feeling down and need a lift? Let us elevate you to find a nice smooth ride for you.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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