August 2008 Archives

Sunday, August 31, 2008. South Carolina: Home loan practices probed-Rise in fraud complaints brings state scrutiny, plan for new rules- Home foreclosures and mortgage fraud complaints continue to increase as state officials say they're investigating mortgage activity in the Upstate and preparing legislation that will bring murkier parts of the mortgage lending
business out of the shadows for the first time. Roughly 80 percent of mortgage fraud involves a conspiracy of multiple people such as appraisers, mortgage brokers and closing attorneys, according to McDonald and FBI figures.

Sunday, August 31, 2008. South Carolina: No easy fix for expensive problem Melinda Ballard felt so bad that she wondered if she had cancer. Eventually, she learned her illness was related to mold in the leaky Dripping Springs, Texas, home where she lived before moving to Charleston. "You almost feel like you're dying because it's such chronic fatigue," Ballard said.

Friday, August 29, 2008. Texas: KPRC Channel 2 in Houston exposes the clout of homebuilder and political mega-donor Bob Perry KPRC Channel 2 in Houston exposes the clout of homebuilder and political mega-donor Bob Perry. The investigative report features the work of Texans for Public Justice .

View the report or read the transcript.

Local 2 Investigates Texas' Top Political Donor

Thursday, August 28, 2008. Texas: HomeBuilderShowroom.com Sues Builders, Appliance Manufacturers Over Builder Homesite's ''Envision'' Feature Homebuilders named as defendants in the lawsuit include Beazer Homes, Centex, Weekley Homes, KB Home, Lennar, Pulte Homes, Standard Pacific and Toll Brothers. A copy of the lawsuit and more information about The Clearman Law Firm is available at www.clearmanlaw.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2008. Michigan: Lawmakers push for anti-SLAPP legislation-Bill would discourage suits meant to harass and intimidate public officials TRAVERSE CITY -- Two northern Michigan lawmakers expect to introduce legislation this week to discourage developers from using frivolous lawsuits to intimidate and harass public officials and local opposition groups. "My hope is triple damages would be sufficient to at least make someone who is thinking about a SLAPP suit think twice before filing it," Elsenheimer said.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008. National: CNN Money-Homebuyers urged to seize down payment aid -Homebuilders sweeten buyer incentives amid new tax credit, loss of down payment aid In a few weeks, a financing option used by almost 20 percent of new-home buyers to help scrape together a down payment is going away, making it tougher for many people to become homeowners. It's a loophole in the Federal Housing Administration rules that let builders and other home sellers channel money through a charity to help homebuyers cover their down payment. But lawmakers axed the programs _ effective Oct. 1 _ because almost 40 percent of FHA borrowers who went into foreclosure since October had down payment assistance.

Friday, August 22, 2008. National: Down payment assistance bites the dust Homebuyers may want to monitor H.R. 6694, a bill introduced by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, that would require the FHA to accept seller-financed down payments and authorize the agency to apply a risk-based pricing structure for FHA mortgage insurance on loans that utilized such down payments. The pricing would be adjusted on the basis of the borrower's FICO credit score. The bill has two co-sponsors, Reps. Gary Miller, R-Calif., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and has been referred to the House Financial Services committee.

Thursday, August 21, 2008. Arizona: FORBES-Ariz. ruling finds leeway for home defect suits Arizona homeowners don't have to buy directly from builders to sue them for defective work, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously in a case with implications for consumers and businesses alike. "Innocent buyers of defectively constructed homes should not be denied redress on the implied warranty simply because of the form of the business deal chosen by the builder and vendor," Justice Andrew Hurwitz wrote in the unanimous ruling Tuesday.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008. Missouri: http://www.stjoenews.net/news/2008/aug/20/indictment-kc-builder-rattles-... " target="x">Indictment of K.C. builder, [Jeffrey Miller,] rattles neighborhood A Kansas City home builder is facing federal indictments, leaving a St. Joseph neighborhood in limbo. F. Jeffrey Miller owns Star Land & Development. The development company owns about 86 undeveloped properties in Thousand Oaks, a subdivision between Riverside and Leonard roads in southeast St. Joseph. Mr. Miller is awaiting trial in a $25 million mortgage and loan fraud scheme. He faces eight counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, money laundering and criminal forfeiture.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008. Texas: Agency recommends ending construction commission AUSTIN – A powerful state agency recommended Tuesday that the Legislature abolish the 5-year-old Texas Residential Construction Commission, which was supposed to protect consumers but has been criticized since its inception as a boon for homebuilders.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008. Texas: The Texas Homebuilder's Commission. A Case Study in Corruption. In an extraordinary report yesterday, the Texas Sunset Commission recommended abolishing Bob Perry's Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC pronounced trick). Perry is well known for being the largest political donor in the United States as well as the financial backer of the Swift boat attacks against Presidential candidate John Kerry. Since it's conception, the TRCC has been highly criticized for being too builder friendly and not providing consumer protection for new home buyers, with construction defects, as promised.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008. Texas: Report says Texas homebuilder agency should go AUSTIN (AP) - A review says the Texas Residential Construction Commission should be abolished -- because it's ineffective. The staff of the Sunset Review Commission found that the Texas Residential Construction Commission frustrates owners trying to get builders to address defects in their homes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008. Arizona: Arizona justices: Homeowners can sue builders over workmanship Homeowners don't have to buy directly from builders to sue those businesses for shoddy work, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. The high court ruled unanimously that the lack of a direct transaction does not prevent liability for breach of the implied warranty of workmanship and habitability.

Monday, August 18, 2008. North Carolina: Inflated appraisal nearly cost family its home The home was appraised at $114,500. The real estate agents dropped the price by $6,000 to make the sale. "We thought it was a steal," Marie Petrone remembers. It was a steal _ a steal from the Petrones. As the couple would discover, they were the unwitting victims of an unscrupulous appraiser and _ as uncovered by a six-month Associated Press investigation _ a poorly designed system unable to keep up with such dishonesty.

Monday, August 18, 2008. National: System to catch fraud in home appraisals ‘is completely broken’ “The system is completely broken,” Marc Weinberg, the acting director at the federal agency charged with monitoring the appraisal industry, told the AP before he retired earlier this year. “It’s amazing that the system ever worked at all.” Since 2005, at the height of the housing boom, more than two dozen states (including Missouri) and U.S. territories have violated federal rules by failing to investigate and resolve complaints about appraisers within a year. Some complaints sat uninvestigated for up to four years. As a result, hundreds of appraisers accused of wrongdoing remained in business.

Sunday, August 17, 2008. Texas: Checking it Thrice: Inspections soon to be required for contractors outside city limits If you're considering a move outside the city limits and planning to build or remodel a house, your contractor will be required to hire an inspector to make sure the job is done right come Sept. 1. In Texas counties, building and remodeling has relied largely on trust between the contractor and homeowner - with little or no way to control shoddy workmanship.

Friday, August 15, 2008. National: From Barn Raisings to Home Building Consumers Hire Amish Builders, Citing Craftsmanship, Costs; An Issue With Power Tools.
The Amish are known for careful woodworking, whether using the timber-frame technique, in which thick beams are assembled with wooden pegs and mortise-and-tenon joints, or the conventional "stick frame" approach using machine-milled lumber and nails. And in an industry known for unreliability and corner-cutting, the Amish -- a community known for its work ethic -- can be refreshing, customers say.

Friday, August 15, 2008. Federal Courts: Federal Judge Blasts Alston Clients, [NAHB and NAR] for Discovery Misconduct Calling the discovery misconduct by defendants in a patent case "among the most egregious this court has ever seen," a federal judge sanctioned thehomestore.com, the National Association of Home Builders of the United States, and the National Association of Realtors on Tuesday.

Thursday, August 14, 2008. South Carolina: Mold caused health issues, family says-By PRENTISS FINDLAY A Daniel Island family who fled their home after receiving mold test results is suing builder D.R. Horton Inc., alleging negligence resulting in permanent and life- threatening physical injuries.A separate mold-related lawsuit was filed against D.R. Horton last month on behalf of three other families.

Thursday, August 14, 2008. National: Unhappy homebuyers face double whammy-By Marilyn Lewis, MSN Real Estate Twists in state laws and consumer-hostile warranties make it doubly hard for owners to fix construction defects. Here's how to protect yourself when your new home is not up to snuff.

Thursday, August 14, 2008. National: How to avoid buying a lemon -By Marilyn Lewis, MSN Real Estate Hastily built brand-new homes can come with a host of problems, from leaky roofs and cracked foundations to windows that are installed upside down. Nancy Seats, president of Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings, {HADD}, a volunteer organization of consumers with construction-defect complaints, says her group fields thousands of complaints each year from homeowners whose homes have serious problems.

Cindy Schnakel, {HADD's Secretary} discovered problems the first night she and her husband spent in their brand-new Oklahoma City house. She was cleaning the ceramic kitchen floor tile when she found cracks. Here's how to protect yourself...read more:

Thursday, August 14, 2008. National: 8 ways to check up on your builder-By Marilyn Lewis, MSN Real Estate Never blindly accept any homebuilder without doing a little research. It will take quite a bit of legwork, but likely will stave off potential frustration and massive repair bills. Here’s where to start.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008. Arizona: http://www.inman.com/news/2008/08/12/hud-bankrupt-arizona-lender-violated-respa A bankrupt Arizona mortgage lender-First Magnus Financial Corp., paid $856,000 in bonuses, marketing fees and "non competition" fees to mortgage brokers, builders and real estate brokerages that referred nearly $1 billion in business to the company, according to two audit reports by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008. California: Builder fails to renew license R.W. Hertel is facing several financial problems, many stemming from disgruntled investors and homeowners irked about defective building.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008. California: Suit Against Homeowners Alleges Defamation, Loss of Business Jessica Jordan is one of two homeowners at SB Grand named in the suit, which she has posted on her site. Though the suit claims that the other homeowner, Alan Dylan, is also connected with truedowntown, Jordan says that's not that case. Her defense has been taken up by the The First Amendment Project, a nonprofit advocacy organization that handles free speech cases. Attorney Jamey Leonard could not comment on the case itself, but expressed that the goal of the organization's legal defense was to allow people to keep talking.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008. Kentucky: Court Rules Arbitration Clause Barring Statutory Remedies Invalid By Justin Kelly, ADRWorld.com- A Kentucky appeals court recently denied enforcement to an arbitration clause in a mortgage that only permitted the arbitrator to award actual damages and therefore prevented the borrowers from obtaining statutory relief to which they were entitled.

In a decision dated July 24th in Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. et al. v. Donald and Roxanne Abner (No. 2007-CA-000574-MR), the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled that the arbitration clause was unconscionable.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008. Colorado: Centex to pull out of Colorado Dallas-based homebuilder Centex will pull out of Colorado next spring, becoming the third big-name homebuilder to cease operations here. Centex follows Beazer Homes, which in June said it would leave the state in October, and Neumann Homes, which in November filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008. Arizona: Homeowners' Bill Of Rights -- Received 105% of required number of signatures. Prop.201; Ten-year warranty on new homes. Right to demand correction of construction defects or compensation. Homeowners participate in selecting contractors to do repair work. They can sue if no agreement with the builder. No liability for builders' attorney and expert fees but homeowner can recover these costs. Homeowners can sometimes recover compensatory and consequential damages. Disclosure of builders' relationships with financial institutions. Model homes must reflect what is actually for sale. Right to cancel within 100 days and get back most of the deposit. Prohibiting sellers' agents from participating in false mortgage applications.

Monday, August 11, 2008. New Jersey: VICTORY! Long Branch Homeowners Hail Appeals Court Victory-Court Deals Fatal Blow For City & Developer’s Case Castle Coalition
Institute for Justice
Arlington, Va.—Today, a three-judge panel of the New Jersey Appellate Division unanimously reversed the June 2006 decision of Superior Court Judge Lawrence Lawson, which allowed the city of Long Branch, N.J., to condemn a charming seaside neighborhood known as MTOTSA for a luxury condominium development. This is the latest in a series of major decisions from New Jersey courts, including the Supreme Court, recognizing that state law and the New Jersey Constitution place real limits on the power of government to condemn property for private development.

Monday, August 11, 2008. Missouri: Mid-Missouri sues developer to recoup loan deficiencies Bank alleges Major Hammett II manipulated documents as proof of collateral for Bolivar development-An Independence man who borrowed more than $5 million from Mid-Missouri Bank to develop real estate in Bolivar and later defaulted on the loans has been accused of fraud and misrepresentation in a lawsuit filed by the Springfield-based bank.

Monday, August 11, 2008. National: Pillar To Post Uncovers Defects in New Homes-Know Problem Spots Before Spending Thousands According to Pillar To Post, North America's largest home inspection service, one of the biggest misconceptions about new home construction is that the home will be free from problems. In addition, municipal inspectors are believed to inspect every home, when in fact, they don't look at every home, particularly in some larger community developments. At best, they do a representative sampling of the houses being constructed.

Monday, August 11, 2008. National: U.S. Official Says Housing Crisis Continues As Homes For Sale Still Outnumbers Buyers US HUD Secretary Steve Preston blamed part of the current problem with sub-prime mortgage loans that soured into foreclosures on confusion on the part of buyers, aggressive selling tactics by builders with in overbuilt housing markets and mortgage instruments that were a bad financial risk for the investors that "probably should never have bought."

Sunday, August 10, 2008. National: LOST SOVEREIGNITY-OIL-RICH FUND EYEING FORECLOSED US HOMES There's a new land grab starting in America. Foreign money, which up to now has focused its attention on investing in iconic commercial real estate - like Barneys New York and the Chrysler Building - is now moving to scoop up tens of thousands of discounted foreclosed homes across the country.

Sunday, August 10, 2008. National: Mortgaging our children's future A key feature of the housing bill that President Bush just signed into law was the federal bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac... Read More

Sunday, August 10, 2008. Arizona: Feds: Failed Tucson lender paid illegal fees A federal auditor's report alleges that failed Tucson mortgage lender First Magnus Financial Corp. paid illegal fees to real estate companies and builders to secure business and stifle competition.

Sunday, August 10, 2008. National: To Dismay Of Buyers, Sellers, Ghost Homes Don't Fade Away Dowling and his neighbors live in a ghost of a subdivision. The lots have been prepped for construction; plumbing is in place. Roads are paved, and street signs are up. But common areas aren't getting maintained, and property values are falling.

Sunday, August 10, 2008. National: Taking steps to make sure your builder won't go bust It's always wise for would-be home buyers to make sure that the builders they choose are on solid footing. But at a time when many companies are teetering on the brink of financial ruin, it's necessary to be as picky about the builder as the floor plans and options he offers.
There already have been 35 "major" implosions and 27 "tiny" ones among the building community, according to the Home Builder Implode-o-Meter

Friday, August 08, 2008. National : Predatory Lending and Fraud for Commission (FlippingFrenzy.com) Every day, in every city all over the country, real estate industry professionals, consumers and homeowners alike participate in fraudulent real estate transactions. Recently, one Flipping Frenzy reader came forward to share her experience with predatory lending and fraud for commission. READ MORE........

Friday, August 08, 2008. ILLINOIS: Contractor investigation update, police look into case Moline, ILLINOIS --Tonight police are looking into a case involving contractor who was recently the focus of an 8 On Your Side Investigation. A Rock Island woman says she was at the end of her rope dealing with Jim Payne of Builders Plus. She never thought hiring a contractor was much of a risk.

Friday, August 08, 2008. Massachusetts : ‘Abuse’ seen in 40B law-Pols probe affordable housing projects A state Senate oversight committee has scheduled a hearing next month to address concerns that affordable housing developers may have abused state laws, and to review the role of state agencies charged with overseeing those laws.

“We continue to see more and more hard evidence that Chapter 40B has been overtaken by unscrupulous developers and transformed from a well-intentioned affordable housing law into a magnet for fraud and abuse,” state Sen. Robert Hedlund, a Weymouth Republican, wrote in a letter to state Sen. Marc Pacheco, chairman of the Post Audit and Oversight Committee.

Friday, August 08, 2008. National: LA Times- Union blames builders for mortgage problems Lending units of KB Home, Lennar, Richmond American and other builders steered buyers into risky mortgages, a report by the group says. Homeowners who purchased at newer developments are more likely to have 100%-financed, adjustable-rate mortgages because of builders' efforts to push risky subprime loans, according to a report from the Laborers' International Union of North America.

Friday, August 08, 2008. Florida: Brevard homebuilder charged in fraud scheme 43-year-old Brevard homebuilder has been arrested after an investigation by the State Attorney’s Office, the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office said today. James Jackson, owner of J. Jackson Homes, was arrested July 31 and faces charges of organized scheme to defraud in excess of $50,000, misappropriation of construction funds and making or furnishing false statements.

Friday, August 08, 2008. California: KB Homes Defaults On $3 Million Payment To Vallejo Schools VALLEJO -- A nationwide homebuilder was sent a notice of default Wednesday for failing to make a scheduled $3 million payment to the Vallejo City Unified School District for the purchase of 17.2 acres of school property.

Friday, August 08, 2008. National: Beazer Homes' 3Q Loss Narrows On Lower Expenses Home builders have been struggling amid the dismal housing market, hurt by high inventories and foreclosure counts as well as sliding housing prices. Monday, the troubles drove Florida condominium developer WCI Communities Inc. ( WCI) to file for bankruptcy protection. Some analysts fear Beazer - which in February announced plans to close its mortgage-origination operations and to stop building homes in some cities - may be subject to a similar fate.

Thursday, August 07, 2008. National : Highest Unsold Home Supply Since '82 Seen Needing 50% Reduction Homebuilders are facing record foreclosures, waning consumer confidence and stricter mortgage standards. Almost one of every 10 U.S. mortgages was in trouble during the first quarter, the highest in records dating to 1979, according to the Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association. Delinquencies, or home loans with payments 30 days or more overdue, rose to 6.35 percent of outstanding mortgages and the share of homes in foreclosure rose to 2.47 percent.

Thursday, August 07, 2008. California: FirstFed posts another loss tied to home mortgage loans LA Times A demonstration was scheduled Thursday at the Westwood headquarters of KB Home to protest loans with five-year initial rates that the home builder issued in a partnership with Countrywide Financial Corp., now part of Bank of America Corp. Organizers said borrowers "will be trapped in their loans and unable to refinance before their interest rates reset" because of high loan amounts and decreasing home values.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. SC: UPDATE: Another Family Plans to Sue D.R. Horton Family rejected builder's inadequate offer; says builder used shoddy construction practices and home is so contaminated with mold that they had to move out.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. FL: UPDATE on Construction Co owner who tried to have IRS agent killed Randy Janes Nowak, R.J. Nowak Enterprises: Prosecutors say Nowak wanted to hire a hit man to kill the revenue agent because he owed about $300,000 in personal income tax obligations. He also had four years' worth of outstanding corporate tax returns and stood to lose a rumored $4 million hidden in an offshore bank account, prosecutors said.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. Los Angeles Times: FirstFed posts another loss tied to home mortgage loans A demonstration was scheduled Thursday at the Westwood headquarters of KB Home to protest loans with five-year initial rates that the home builder issued in a partnership with Countrywide Financial Corp., now part of Bank of America Corp.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. US: Treasury Department Hiring “Dumb” To Advise “Dumber” Treasury Department said Tuesday it had hired investment firm Morgan Stanley to help the government assess the risks facing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. Michigan: Compromise needed on limiting liability of home inspectors Legislation concerning home inspectors was sailing through the state Legislature until a last-minute amendment stalled it. While the association supports the licensing of inspectors, a last-minute amendment has members worried about the future of the industry. Critics say the amendment shifts all the liability to the home inspector for anything that goes wrong with the home for an indefinite amount of time.

Association spokesmen note home inspectors carry insurance to protect them in situations where they miss finding a problem with a home, but contracts between the home buyer and inspector generally stipulate to what extent the inspector can be held liable.
Prospective home buyers want to take advantage of the good deals out there in the housing market, but they don’t want to be taken. That’s only reasonable. And that’s why a good home inspector is needed to help a buyer decide if the house is worth what the seller is asking or what the buyer is willing to pay.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. Mike Morgan blog: The World’s Grandest Ponzi Scheme Unravels "Why was it OK to run To Catch A Predator until we puked? Because the sexual predators were not buying air time. Do you realize, Dateline would not even have had to change the name of the show. They could have just changed the format from sexual predators to Wall Street’s financial predators."

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. Pennsylvania: http://worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=71523 " target="x">Jury awards developer additional $19 million for government land grab A county that originally paid $2 million for a tract of land it had seized to construct a park has been found guilty by a jury of greatly undervaluing the property and has been ordered to pay up to an additional $19.25 million to the developer the county seized it from.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. MN with multi state connections: Parish case UPDATE: Minnesota Home Builders Sentenced for Mortgage Fraud Michael and Ardith Parish, Parish Marketing Development Corp. (PMDC), Minnesota home builder, and Christopher Troup, their son-in-law and agent company. Partners in this real estate conspiracy were: Ramiz Yousef Saadeh, MN, former US Bank officer who admitted to providing false verifications of deposit to PMDC on behalf of straw buyers; Kristopher Robbins, SD, closing agent who admitted to permitting conspirators to forge signatures on mortgage doc's; Melissa Smith, OH, "straw buyer" in mortgage fraud scheme; Donald Yeager of OK who inflated appraisals; John Rubischko, MN, mortgage fraud and identity theft.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. IN: Beekay Development and builder BRG Quail settle subsidence suit Amazing pics of cracked up house. House was so bad the utility co's shut off service. As article states, homeowner was only able to recover economic damages, (actual damages), nothing for her frustration, time, stress, etc., which is important to note in such articles because of tort reform propaganda that implies people "profit" from construction defect cases.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. UT: UPDATE: Rude awakening More on the "Dare to Dream" homebuilding investment scam.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. NC: Cary homeowner has backyard river KB Home development dumped water on existing homeowner's propery; bottom line, keep after builders who do this because once they finish development it may be impossible to hold them accountable. Don't count on city to make builder fix drainage problem especially after builder leaves.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. TX: KB Home employees go unpaid More than 80 percent of the cases of wage theft reported to Workers Defense Project are from construction workers.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. Integrated Building And Construction Solutions: PDF of window installation showing what "flashing" is and how it's installed to prevent leaks At a minimum, the warranty will become
invalid if the window isn’t installed to the manufacturer’s specifications. More
seriously, if window flashing is not properly installed, rain water can leak behind
the windows and enter walls. If wet building materials can’t dry, moisture has the
potential to seriously damage the home. Moisture intrusion can lead to mold growth,
a cause of unhealthy indoor air. It can also lead to wood rot, which creates structural
problems. (Not an endorsement and not necessarily the only correct way to flash and install windows; posted for informational purposes only. --Ed.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. DE: Entire community sues for repairs Canal Landing Townhouse Association filed a Superior Court lawsuit against developer Louis Capano and Associates and the project's architect and engineer, charging that design flaws, sloppy work and poor supervision caused the damage. Capano's company and the other defendants have denied any liability and sued seven different subcontractors...County officials approved the project as it progressed, including the design, certified by the firm Architectural Associates. But because county inspectors did not scrutinize the paper or plastic wrap that keeps out water, no problems were detected at that stage.

Soon after residents moved in, however, many noticed wet and damp spots and had the problems repaired through their warranty agreements. But problems reappeared in repaired units and popped up in other units, said Charlie Ingersoll, the community's first homeowner and now the association's president.

"As the problems persisted, we discovered it was more pervasive,'' Ingersoll said. "And after engaging engineers and professional opinions, we discovered it wasn't just an age or happenstance situation.'' (Improperly installed or missing house wrap, flashing, etc, an extremely common construction shortcut reported in builder complaints to HADD. Learn more about drainage planes, flashing, wrap, etc, go to www.buildingscience.com and www.jlconline.com to name just two resources. --Ed.)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. CT: Developer suing Blooming Grove Developer Rick Tedaldi suing town and Joe, Larry & Curly Development for letting him buy land that was a wetland. As any homeowner would be told for making the same mistake, "You should've done your homework!" --Ed.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. WA: South Seattle builder charged with bilking investors Laurence Anthone, owner of MA Quick Construction charged with 19 counts of theft and securities fraud

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. Canada: Book Review: 'Greater Fool' by Garth Turner Author critiques Canadian housing market and notes similarities to the U.S. such as subprime loans.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. FL: UPDATE: Global Homes case: Bayshore school worker arrested after allegedly lying to get mortgage Further investigation of Global Homes' pot-growing operation and mortgage fraud.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. US: Builder CEO blasts ban on down-payment help DR Horton sad that problem-ridden "down payment assistance programs" are going away. Up to a third of some builders homes were sold using this program that the IRS called a scam and that has been compared to money laundering. See HADD's message boards under mortgage issues for more. -Ed.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008. KY; Nat'l interest: Couple wins foreclosure appeal against Bank of New York Trust Company and Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Violation of lending laws; unconscionable and unenforceable arbitration clause.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008. NC: Pierce Homes going out of business Article says they are liquidating the business but does not mention bankruptcy.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008. CA: Cloverdale homeowners sue Del Webb, (which is owned by Pulte) Dozens in Del Webb retirement community suing due to leaks, cracks, mold, faulty construction.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008. ID: Builder of abandoned homes, what went wrong? Crestwood Construction's owner Justin Walker closed it's doors and filed for bankruptcy.

Monday, August 04, 2008. US: We're overinvested in homes Government subsidies contributed to housing debacle; Congress' answer is to add more subsidies.

Monday, August 04, 2008. US: Some experts saw Fannie, Freddie collapses coming (But they were not listened to, just like predictions of housing bust, etc were not listened to. --Ed.)

Monday, August 04, 2008. FL: Levitt auction set for this week Moecker Auctions is selling off bankrupt Fort Lauderdale homebuilder Levitt and Sons’ stuff Thursday at 2200 W. Cypress Creek Road, in Fort Lauderdale.

Monday, August 04, 2008. US: WCI Communities files for Ch. 11 Bankruptcy Financially troubled homebuilder WCI Communities Inc. and approximately 130 of its wholly-owned subsidiaries have filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Monday, August 04, 2008. US: Mortgage Fraud Blog Current mortgage fraudsters in the news including MN homebuilder Parish.

Monday, August 04, 2008. US: Pick a home builder who has a solid foundation There already have been 35 "major" implosions and 27 "tiny" ones among the building community, according to the Home Builder Implode-o-Meter. And the Web site has 15 builders on its "ailing" watch list, including some of the biggest names in the business...When a builder becomes severely crippled, his buyers usually go down with him. Current customers often lose their deposit money or end up with a partially completed house. Recent buyers who have closed on their homes and already moved in could be left with no one to come back to fix the numerous items that invariably require attention.

Monday, August 04, 2008. US: Housing Crash Current articles on the bailout, etc.

Sunday, August 03, 2008. International: "Greenopia" Site claims to tell readers which building products are truly green and which are just "gree-washed" by industry hype.

Sunday, August 03, 2008. MSNBC: When building green harms the environment: Sometimes materials are not as environmentally friendly as you think Today, Browne, as the founder of greenopia.com, a site that helps consumers distinguish between those products that are highly efficient and have a low footprint from those that are masquerading as environmentally conscious (likely to take advantage of the growing green-materials market), has a much better idea as to what home-building materials and procedures are the greenest. The site is now a go-to resource for truly green construction, as buying greenwashed materials isn't just the slightly less environmentally friendly alternative; these products can increase your carbon footprint significantly. (We have no idea yet if this is a reliable site but it looks interesting. Would appreciate reader feedback on our message boards if you have an opinion. --Ed.)

Sunday, August 03, 2008. NM: Builder, Wife Charged With Fraud, Embezzlement C. Scott Everett faces 48 counts of racketeering, fraud, embezzlement, forgery and tax evasion, according to a joint announcement made Monday by the state Regulation and Licensing Department and the Taxation and Revenue Department. The announcement follows 16 months of investigation.

Marie Everett faces 18 similar counts. The couple are owners of Scott Construction Co.
... Everett was recognized as Builder of the Year in 1992 and Member of the Year in 1997 by the Home Builders Association of Central New Mexico. He has served as the association's president in the mid-1990s.

Sunday, August 03, 2008. Canada/U.S.: Holmes on Homes episodes Some of the episodes are about construction defects in NEW houses though most are about renovations gone bad.

Sunday, August 03, 2008. FL: Audit problems? Don't try to have the IRS agent whacked Construction co. owner Randy Nowak of R.J. Nowak Enterprises Inc, tried to have IRS agent auditing his business killed. Undercover FBI agent was posing as hit man.

Sunday, August 03, 2008. NC: Homeowners caught in the middle Sandra Anderson Builders, owned by Greensboro’s mayor pro tem and longtime affordable-home developer Sandra Anderson Groat, is in the process of going out of business. Two plumbers, a materials supplier and a brick company have placed more than $300,000 worth of liens for unpaid work on 13 properties the company built in the subdivision, including some properties where families now live.

That’s left homeowners concerned about whether they will be responsible for those debts, and if the one-year warranties on their homes will still be in effect when Groat’s company goes out of business.

Friday, August 01, 2008. US: UPDATE: Press Release by AmeriDream, a down payment assistance "charity" More on so-called charities that operate what the IRS has called a scam, and HUD tried to shut down. DPA's result in higher foreclosures, inflated property values. Builders are the biggest users of DPA's and have moved on with their profit when the homeowner defaults. Tax payers are picking up the tab for multi-billion dollar housing "rescues." DPA's were banned by the housing bill as being too risky but AmeriDream's press release indicates they are still lobbying hard to change that and bring them back.

Friday, August 01, 2008. OK: Oklahoma Bar Association's Dan Murdock criminally charged As general counsel of the bar association, he is responsible for investigating misconduct charges against Oklahoma attorneys.

Friday, August 01, 2008. US: Men Charged in Sale of Countrywide Customer ID’s Countrywide employees stole and sold customers sensitive information; Wahid Siddiqi, Rene L. Rebollo Jr. arrested.

Friday, August 01, 2008. US: Discuss Arbitration on Public Citizen's blog RE: The arbitration debate trap, report released this week and posted here on HADD Headline News as well as HADD Message boards under Arbitration.

Friday, August 01, 2008. US: American Dream has become a nightmare The real lessons of the housing crisis have gotten lost. It's portrayed as the financial system run amok; the housing market became a casino. The remedy is to enact rules that prevent a repetition. All this is partly true. But it ignores a larger truth: Our infatuation with homeownership, embedded in dozens of government policies, has turned housing - once a justifiable symbol of the American Dream - into something of a National Nightmare...Congress's response to the present crisis is more of the same.

Friday, August 01, 2008. VA: Montgomery Co. court hears legal dirt Showcase Home Builders owner Roger Woody sues bloggers for criticism; plaintiffs say it's a SLAPP lawsuit (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation).

Friday, August 01, 2008. CA: Ryland Homes draws up plans to leave Northern California The Calabasas company said it will complete three new-home communities and sell its remaining available land.

Friday, August 01, 2008. MA: Respite for those ripped off by contractors For more information visit the Department of Public Safety’s page on the state’s Web site, www.mass.gov

Friday, August 01, 2008. GA: Bankrupt home developer owes $131,000,000 Stephen H. Macauley, The Macauley Companies, bankrupt.

Friday, August 01, 2008. Oregon Live: Bankrupt Legend Homes wrestles with banks, furloughs most of its workers By Jeff Manning. The company is locked in a heated contest of wills with some of its lenders over access to proceeds from potential home and property sales. Some of Legend's lenders, particularly its largest, Key Bank, have been reluctant to approve any plan that would allow the company to use its cash for anything other than covering its bank debt.

Friday, August 01, 2008. TX: American nightmare: Unpaid bills, shoddy work plague Taylor homeowners Summary: Problems with builder First Home; unpaid subcontractors and suppliers trying to collect their money from the homeowners (liens), shoddy work, and a "warranty" that the builder never completed application paperwork for. First Home's number disconnected, website gone. Affiliates LLC and First Home owned by Pete Stucky. District attorney said his office had been contacted with complaints about this builder but no investigation is underway. (It's rare for this to qualify as "criminal" in any state, unfortunately. --Ed.)

Friday, August 01, 2008. MD; PA: UPDATE: Altieri Homes cuts staff, plans for new projects as debts mount Several PA Altieri customers have had liens placed on their homes by unpaid subcontractors

Friday, August 01, 2008. NV; Nat'l interest: Banks Overwhelmed by Foreclosure Crisis Summary: Banks lack know-how or acceptance of price declines, to be able to sell foreclosed homes to qualified and interested buyers, so house just sit there unsold.

Friday, August 01, 2008. The National Law Journal: Big business acts the bully Corporations use mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts to bully Americans, hide complaints, and have their own kangaroo court. In support of the Arbitration Fairness Act in congress (H.R. 3010).