Fraternity faces repairs

By Susan Jacobson MCT

The University of Central Florida has won the rights to a rundown fraternity house worth more than $1 million that could eventually house students if hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs are made.

Orange Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Mackinnon handed the university a victory in December after a long dispute with Pi Kappa Alpha – known as the Pikes – about maintenance of the distinctive white house with columns on the university’s Greek Row.

Mackinnon found that the defendants breached their lease with UCF by failing to maintain and repair the 10,000-square-foot house, which she awarded to the university. Repairs could cost more than $600,000, said Maribeth Ehasz, vice president for student development and enrollment services.

“It’s not in livable condition at all, and it’s going to take quite a bit to repair it,” Ehasz said. “It is in very bad shape.”

Over the years, the owners of the house, the nonprofit Eta Phi Chapter Alumni Association, received notices to repair damages and fix fire-code violations but never completed all the work, the judge wrote.

Gregg Ormond, a Coral Gables attorney who represents Eta Phi and Pi Kappa Alpha, said the building is in disrepair because the university would not let the alumni association fix it and made demands that could not be met within the required timetable.