Quarter 1 (Jan - March) 2004 Archive

Tuesday, March 30, 2004. National: FEC
Fines Centex Construction Units For Campaign Contribution Violation
FEC
asserts that Robert Moss, the former CEO of Centex-Rooney Construction
Co. Inc., Ft. Lauderdale, "encouraged employees to make political contributions
and to send copies of contribution checks to him or the company's CFO."
Employees understood that each of their political contributions for which
they submitted a check "would be considered in determining their year-end
bonus." FEC further states that "at bonus time, the contribution amounts
were increased to offset tax liability and added to the bonus amounts each
employee might have otherwise received from any incentive plan."

Monday, March 29, 2004. OH, KY: Father
and son plead guilty
Disgraced homebuilder Bill Erpenbeck and his
father Tony pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in federal court today
as part of a deal that drops several charges and recommends at least a
slightly reduced sentence for trying to tamper with Lori Erpenbeck's sworn
testimony.

Monday, March 29, 2004. FL: Bankrupt
Spring Hill home builder accused of fraud
In August, Ludwig abruptly
closed his Ludwig Designs, Inc. office on Forest Oaks Boulevard, Spring
Hill, and left town, leaving behind unpaid employees, delinquent credit
card bills and more than a dozen would-be homeowners, who had forked over
thousands of dollars on the promise of new homes.

Sunday, March 28, 2004. Ohio: Ryland
to tear up 32 yards, remove lead from ground
LIBERTY TWP. - Thirty-two
lead-contaminated yards in Lexington Manor subdivision will be torn up
starting next month under a plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency. Ryland Homes, which built 42 homes from 2001 to 2003 on a former
skeet-shooting range, has promised to remove up to 25,000 tons of soil
by fall.

Sunday, March 28, 2004. Arizona: Fighting
to protect promised views (KB Home)
According to the lawsuit, Baruch
showed Tober "a site plan" indicating that 21 "mini-estates" would be developed
on the property. Because this site plan was a "proprietary document" that
was "too large to copy," Baruch provided Tober with a "rendering" showing
how North Ridge would be developed, the lawsuit said. "Plaintiff expressly
informed Mr. Baruch, and Mr. Baruch understood, that the rendering would
be shown to potential buyers to assist them in determining whether to purchase
a home," the lawsuit said. Baruch, now an employee of KB Homes, refused
comment when contacted by the Tucson Citizen.

Saturday, March 27, 2004. texas: Texas
builders commission request opinion from the Texas AG on whether the TRCC
has the right to register builders.
Whether persons who register
under a municipal ordinance to perform home repairs within the municipality
are exempted from provisions of Property Code, chapter 416; whether Texas
Residential Construction Commission may seek to enjoin builders who have
not obtained a certificate of registration from the Commission

Friday, March 26, 2004. National Interest: State
Law Preserving Individual Rights and Limiting Mandatory Arbitration
There
is a widespread practice today, in sales, credit, employment, health care
and other agreements, to require individuals to waive important legal rights
and remedies. Mandatory arbitration clauses often contain such waivers

Friday, March 26, 2004. National interest: Small
Print that's Devastating Consumer Rights
Most Consumers Never Even
Notice ãMandatory Arbitration Clauses,ä Now Being Slipped Into
Everything from Bills to Contracts

Thursday, March 25, 2004. MN: Homeowners
seek help for mold, moisture problems
Caizzo told the Senate Commerce
Committee this week that her ordeal was ãa three-year-long legal
nightmare ÷ a nightmare of structural deterioration and decay, mold
and failing health, destruction of our lives, and over $70,000 in non-reimbursable
legal fees and expenses.ä

Wednesday, March 24, 2004. AL: Home
builder goes to jail, again
"His reaction was he still doesn't
realize he needs a license," adds Hargrove. "Hopefully we'll convince him
this time he needs one."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004. National interest--aspergillosis
(mold, fungi): MycoLogics,
Inc. Moves Closer Towards the Discovery of an Apergillus fumigatus Vaccine
DENVER,
CO (PRWEB) March 14, 2004--MycoLogics, Inc., an innovative biotechnology
company specializing in the development of novel antifungal drugs and therapeutic
and prophylactic vaccines against human fungal and parasitic pathogens,
today announced award of a Phase I SBIR grant by the Department of Health
and Human Services to derive a novel vaccine against Aspergillus fumigatus,
a ubiquitous spore-bearing fungus that causes multiple diseases in humans.
These diseases include allergic asthma, aspergillomas, and invasive pulmonary
disease of those with predisposing underlying conditions.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004. FL--National interest,
warranties on resale homes: Beware
of the Risks of Home Warranties
SANFORD, Fla. -- Home warranties
are supposed to give you peace of mind. Warranties cover home repairs,
from kitchen appliances to the roof over your head. Yet, Action 9's Todd
Ulrich found many consumers end up fighting with the warranty companies
over the most basic repairs.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004. TX: House
Construction in Spotlight
A buyer's inability to sue a homebuilder,
cracks in enforcement procedures against shoddy construction and a move
to raise standards were key themes Monday at the first Housing Construction
Standards Roundtable.

Monday, March 22, 2004. National: Press
Release: Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings Identifies Common Defects
in New Home Construction.
It is disturbing that after decades of
building homes; the home building industry continues to condone the underlining
causes of common new home defects. It would seem that after this much time
the root cause of these problems would have been addressed and the defects,
identified in this report, prevented.

Monday, March 22, 2004. WA: Condo
residents living in a bubble - Buildings encased in plastic while defects
are repaired
In all three cases, the plastic protects tenants'
units and shields workmen from weather while the condos are stripped to
their 2-by-4s, and building siding is removed and replaced. The problem
is EIFS -- Exterior Insulation Finishing Systems -- which resembles stucco
but is cheaper, says Bo Barker, a Seattle attorney who specializes in construction
defects. The material is impermeable, but if improperly installed, water
will seep in through cracks, joints and windows, get trapped and begin
to rot the building.

Monday, March 22, 2004. CA--[synthetic stucco]: Officials:
City was warned of project
COLTON - Two former Colton city building
inspectors say they warned city officials in the early 1990s that using
a cheaper, synthetic building coating would doom the now water-damaged
Colton Palms senior housing project, which the city plans to raze at an
$18 million loss to taxpayers.

Monday, March 22, 2004. NJ, [synthetic stucco]: Faulty
stucco case reaches high court
"This is a very bad ruling, because
it takes away the municipality's power to ensure code compliance in those
cases where the damage caused by the violation does not appear until after
the certificate of occupancy has been issued," said Mr. Dressel of the
Appellate Division's decision. "This decision undermines the necessary
power of municipalities to enforce the Construction Code."

Monday, March 22, 2004. WA--[synthetic stucco]: Condo
residents living in a bubble - Buildings encased in plastic while defects
are repaired
The problem is EIFS -- Exterior Insulation Finishing
Systems -- which resembles stucco but is cheaper, says Bo Barker, a Seattle
attorney who specializes in construction defects. The material is impermeable,
but if improperly installed, water will seep in through cracks, joints
and windows, get trapped and begin to rot the building.

Sunday, March 21, 2004. FL: Housing
Dept told to Reorganize
TAMPA - Mayor Pam Iorio ordered a reorganization
of Tampa's housing department Friday after learning that a construction
company got city work despite its ties to an indicted contractor barred
from city projects....``I don't consider a name change to change anything,''
Iorio said. ``I don't like that kind of game playing. ... I want to do
business with companies that have high ethical standards.''

Sunday, March 21, 2004. FL: Homeowners
say houses aren't hurricane-proof
Two homeowners have filed a class-action
lawsuit against the developer of their Miramar subdivision, charging that
their homes can't stand up to hurricane-force winds, as required by the
South Florida Building Code.

Sunday, March 21, 2004. OH, KY: Victims
get to face builder
But while other victims complained of lost
homes and money, bad credit and broken dreams, Jordan blamed Erpenbeck
for something much more devastating: the death of her husband.

Sunday, March 21, 2004. MO: Couple
convicted of bilking $185,203 in construction loan scheme
KANSAS
CITY, Mo. - A man and wife were convicted of bilking $185,203 from Clayco
State Bank in a construction loan scheme.

Sunday, March 21, 2004. National interest: Jordans
sue contractors who worked on mansion
In a lawsuit filed Wednesday
in Cook County Court, the retired NBA superstar and his wife, Juanita,
claim poor siding work led to more than $2.6 million in water damage to
their home......The Jordans claim they were led to believe that a synthetic
stucco wall finish, Exterior Insulation Finish Systems, would provide weatherproofing
seals to protect from air and moisture infiltration and "total defiance
of water penetration" with joints sealed "so tightly they'll defy even
the wind-driven rains of a hurricane."

Friday, March 19, 2004. NATIONAL: Builders
Turn To Law To Fend Off Suits
Suing a builder is not all that easy
for the individual homeowner. Large builders have deep pockets, and they
can easily survive prolonged litigation. California is now one of eight
states with Fix It legislation on the books, and 14 more are considering
such legislation to keep construction defects out of court, Thomas Miller
said. He doesn't like it. "Imagine having a builder who made the mistake
in the first place coming back to fix it?" Miller asked. (Note to the Building
Industry--Utilize your finances and lobbying efforts to address your industries
failures, rather than lobbying to lessen liability and erode homeowners'
rights.}

Tuesday, March 16, 2004. National: New
Lumber Treatment Rapidly Corrodes Fasteners
Residential use of
lumber treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA) has been banned for
health reasons. The pressure-treated-lumber industry has been developing
alternatives, including alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ). While not linked
to any health concerns, use of ACQ on lumber leads to a different problem:
The problem is not with ACQ itself, but with the fact that it is more corrosive
to screws and other fasteners used in building decks.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004. National: Do
it Yourself network on Mold
Rapid mold growth can reduce even the
strongest of walls and wood to a pile of rubble.

Monday, March 15, 2004. National: Appraisers
pushed to inflate values
The final results are in and they ain't
good: Appraisers are feeling big time pressure to overstate values. Indeed,
undue pressure is the primary reason the 500 valuation professionals responding
to an independent national survey say they refuse assignments.

Monday, March 15, 2004. National: Fannie
Mae alters policy
[regarding ARBITRATION] Home-loan giant Fannie
Mae will no longer invest in any mortgages that force borrowers to surrender
their right to sue lenders under a new policy announced last month.

Sunday, March 14, 2004. NATIONAL: Help
Keep Families Safe from Toxic Mold!
REDBOOK MAGAZINE's APRIL 2004
Issue. It's Invisible. It's Deadly. And it's in your HOME! Please - Send
the following sample letter to Congress, you'll be doing your part to protect
families from toxic mold in their home. Your support is necessary to keep
this lifesaving initiative going strong. Redbook will forward your letter
for you- Please, it only takes a minute.

Saturday, March 13, 2004. NEVADA : Linda
Justus vs. Bailey and Dutton
In the Second District Court of the
State of Nevada In and for the County of Washoe Linda Justus, an individual,
et al., Plaintiff vs. Bailey and Dutton, a Nevada General Partnership,
et al., Defendants Case # CV03-04564 Dept. 1

Friday, March 12, 2004. NC: Inspectors
look at complaint of shoddy Homestead work
Four homes suffer from
serious structural faults in the foundation, which could cost between $5,000
and $10,000 per house to repair.

Friday, March 12, 2004. MS: Bill
limits liability of MS builders
A bill that limits the liability
of home builders passed the Senate on Wednesday, with its author calling
the legislation "business-friendly" and its detractors calling it a boost
to special interest groups.

Thursday, March 11, 2004. OH, KY: Erpenbeck
slugged in jail fracas
Disgraced Northern Kentucky homebuilder
Bill Erpenbeck apparently is finding out the hard way that life can be
tough behind bars. A Hamilton County Sheriff's Office spokesman said this
morning that 20-year-old murder suspect Drew Sloan slugged Erpenbeck, 43,
in the face during an argument over what TV program to watch

Thursday, March 11, 2004. OH, KY: No
Cushy Prison for Erpenbeck
As attorneys square off on how much
time former home builder Bill Erpenbeck deserves behind bars, one thing
is certain: The man convicted of bank fraud is not heading for a so-called
"Club Fed" prison with cushy amenities and an easy life.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004. texas: Wilson
challenge points up Democrats' divisions
Of the $206,250 Wilson
raised during the Feb. 10-March 1 period, the largest contribution was
$22,500 from the Hillco PAC; Hillco is a major Austin lobbying firm with
close ties to Craddick. Other contributors include big-name Republicans
like Austin consultant Reggie Bashur and Houstonians Richard Weekly and
Bob Perry. Weekly heads Texans for Lawsuit Reform, which advocates limitations
on lawsuits and damages, and Perry is a homebuilder and major GOP contributor.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004. OH, KY: Investigators
turn to bankers
Prosecutors have described Erpenbeck as the leader
of the scheme. But they claim he was working in concert with the bankers
and employees at his Edgewood homebuilding company.

Monday, March 08, 2004. OH, KY: Feds:
Give builder 30 years
Erpenbeck, who led a scheme that bilked Erpenbeck
Co.'s lenders and homebuyers out of nearly $34 million, didn't participate
in Enron's nationwide scandal, but he's in hotter water than Fastow, Assistant
U.S. Attorney Kathleen Brinkman said. She is recommending that Erpenbeck
receive the maximum 30-year sentence for bank fraud.

Monday, March 08, 2004. OH, National interest regarding
ARBITRATION: Akron
case may alter consumer disputes
An Akron woman who bought a Daewoo
car from Fred Martin Motor Co. in Barberton has won an appeals court decision
that may set new standards for the use of arbitration clauses in consumer
disputes.

Monday, March 08, 2004. UT, National interest: Home
buyers, beware of mortgage 'deals' that can cost you
There are
many reasons why Utah is among the worst of all states in mortgage default
and foreclosure. Most local builders are honest and hardworking, but we
have our share of builders out there who greedily overvalue entire subdivisions,
using their own mortgage companies and appraisers to enable their schemes
and to hide reality from their clients.

Sunday, March 07, 2004. FL, National: Expatriate
developer must face charges in April
A former Ottawa real estate
developer has been given more time to return to Canada and answer to 83
criminal charges. ...Police believe the couple are living in Florida.

Sunday, March 07, 2004. Canada: Developer
offers to buy mouldy home
On Thursday David Choo said the company
offered to buy back their home in early 2001, but they refused..."This
is the first that either of us has heard of it, so this is a total and
complete surprise to us," said Somerville, who added that her lawyer also
has no record of an offer from Ashcroft.

Sunday, March 07, 2004. texas: Homeowners'
woes remain. Mold claims down, but many are still waiting for rate relief.
Now,
Mr. Lambe said, "Texans are paying more and getting less protection than
ever before. Insurers are flat-out stealing money from Texas homeowners
in the form of excessive premiums."

Sunday, March 07, 2004. National interest--FREE SPEECH
issue: Canton
woman wins Web free speech case
Paul Levy, staff attorney with
the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said the ruling bolsters the
fight by consumer groups to stop corporations from snuffing out free speech
on the Internet.

Saturday, March 06, 2004. GA, National: Clark
Howard's Warning to Home Buyers
Homebuyers who wouldn't close on
an older home without an inspection gamble on new construction largely
because they believe the warranty or county inspectors will protect them
and their investment.

Saturday, March 06, 2004. TX: Warranty
exemption leads to questions
HARLINGEN ÷ Some new houses
built within 50 miles of the Texas-Mexico border are not subject to warranty
requirements under a state law approved last year by the legislature. House
Bill 730 created the Texas Residential Construction Commission to enforce
warranties on new homes built statewide. But a provision in the law exempts
houses constructed in economically distressed regions within 50 miles of
the border. Such regions, specifically those known as colonias, are already
regulated by different standards.

Saturday, March 06, 2004. GA: Metro
Builder Denies Theft Charges
ãIf I owe somebody money, to
me, that's a civil case. I don't know why I'm here,ä he said

Friday, March 05, 2004. CA: Now,
J-Lo takes on her crummy contractors!
Poor water-proofing and shoddy
construction of windows, doors and the pool are some of the flaws cited

Friday, March 05, 2004. OH, KY: Lawsuit:
Builder's father hid assets
Three months before the Erpenbeck Co.
bank fraud scheme surfaced in the spring of 2002, attorney Richard Erpenbeck
formed a holding company that his dad, Tony Erpenbeck, used to fraudulently
hide assets, claims a new bankruptcy lawsuit.

Friday, March 05, 2004. FL: Bankrupt
Spring Hill home builder accused of fraud
BROOKSVILLE - A bankrupt
home builder, who reneged on contracts to build custom homes, was charged
with defrauding 10 customers of more than $160,000.

Friday, March 05, 2004. OH: Judge
makes ruling in 19 Action News' lawsuit against mayor
The company's
argument says that Campbell's actions are a direct violation of the First
Amendment of the United States Constitution which guarantees freedom of
the press. The city's legal staff filed a response, saying that the mayor's
decision was "related to the legitimate public interest of controlling
the content of its own speech," among other things.

Friday, March 05, 2004. PA: Exeter
homebuilder named in suit
State Attorney General Jerry Pappert
announced Thursday that his office filed legal action against a Luzerne
County builder/developer accused of constructing and selling townhouses
that had significant structural defects.

Friday, March 05, 2004. Texas: Organized
Crime - Protection Racket Scam
Be it by civil conspiracy or criminal
intent, today's management empires work with the largest housing mills
ever known to mankind - Pulte, K.B. Home, Centex, etc.- establish cash
cows for management companies. These regimes exist today via unconscionable
contracts hidden in purchase agreements that come attached to what is largely
homestead property. The contracts deliberately circumvent the consitutional
protections of the Homestead Act, and other rights including Freedom of
Speech (no signs, no villifying the developer on the internet, etc.).

Tuesday, March 02, 2004. MN: 2
bills seek to hold builders accountable
Sponsored by Rep. Barbara
Goodwin, DFL-Columbia Heights, and Sen. Larry Pogemiller, DFL-Minneapolis,
the bill seeks to mitigate the financial blows suffered by homeowners like
the Rices and possibly prevent problems by requiring contractors to stand
by written estimates and certification for home inspectors.

Monday, March 01, 2004. NV: Builder
to settle board complaint
after two hours of testimony, D.R. Horton
officials abruptly ended the hearing when the Contractors Board requested
permits and certifications for the homeowner's lot. In ending the hearing,
D.R. Horton offered to fix the walls without claiming responsibility for
their failure.

Monday, March 01, 2004. National: Loss
to bankrupt builder is not tax deductible...[also scroll down to Home Warranty
question]
Q: I just completed building my new home. The builder
turned out to be a snake. I fired him when it became obvious he would never
finish my house. After I filed a lawsuit against him, he filed bankruptcy.
[Answer in article] [Under Warranty question and Answer] At the National
Association of Home Builders convention in Las Vegas earlier this year,
I asked your question to a representative of one of the nation's largest
home warranty companies. He asked me not to use his name because he could
get fired for being honest. He told me it is standard procedure for many
home warranty companies, including his, to deny coverage of large claims,
saying the situation is a noncovered pre-existing condition.

Friday, February 27, 2004. Texas : Third
Ward urged to resist outside developers
Bob Perry, owner of Perry
Homes, has long been a political power broker in Texas, donating record
amounts of money to candidates for state office. In September, less than
a month after receiving $100,000 from Bob Perry, Gov. Rick Perry named
a top executive from Perry Homes to a commission implementing a new law
designed to reduce lawsuits against builders.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004. OH, KY: Builder:
My crime is not Enron
Attorneys for Bill Erpenbeck are pressing
their argument for leniency for their client on a bank fraud conviction
by comparing his crime to that of former Enron Chief Financial Officer
Andrew Fastow. They are insisting that Erpenbeck's former bankers are to
blame for much of the scheme that he is accused of leading, and attempting
to diminish the magnitude of his crime.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004. OH, KY: Builder
auction raises $73.5K
When Bill Erpenbeck pleaded guilty to bank
fraud in April 2003, he agreed to repay eight banks the millions of dollars
he and others stole from them. After a U.S. marshal's auction that ended
Thursday, he's 0.26 percent -- or $73,500 -- closer to that goal.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004. PA: Homeowner
activists want foreclosures halted
The Pocono Homeowners Defense
Association is seeking a moratorium on all Monroe County mortgage foreclosures
until investigations and prosecutions of alleged home sale fraud are completed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004. National: Home
Builders Launch Tort Reform Initiative [Watch out for builder-protection
legislation in your state!]
Building on the success of efforts
to pass state Notice and Opportunity to Repair laws in last year's legislative
sessions, NAHB is raising the industry's profile as a major player in reforming
the country's civil justice system.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004. National: Consumer
Survey Says Professionalism, Integrity Win Customersâ Trust and Business
When
choosing a construction firm, customers say that trust and integrity are
more influential than the price of the bid.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004. NY: Mobile
Home Company Fined
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said his office
received 17 complaints since 2000 about shoddy work and installation by
the company, which operates manufactured home parks and dealerships in
Chemung, Livingston, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans and Oswego counties.

Monday, February 23, 2004. Texas: Probe
of GOP growing
Texans for Public Justice, which urged Earle to
probe TRMPAC's use of corporate funds last March, calculates that half
of more than $9 million in contributions supporting 21 Republican House
candidates and two Senate nominees in 2002 came from just five entities.
They are TRMPAC, the political arms of Texans for Lawsuit Reform and TAB,
the Associated Republicans of Texas, and Houston homebuilder Bob Perry.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004. OH, KY: U.S.
Marshals Service To Hold Online Auction
Bill Erpenbeck Jr. was
once the third largest home builder in Cincinnati. Erpenbeck and his father,
Tony Erpenbeck pled guilty to fraud, stealing money from home buyers instead
of giving it to the banks. The property taken from Bill's home will be
auctioned this week.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004. National: Nationwide
Consumer Testing of Backyard Decks and Playsets Shows High Levels of Arsenic
on Old Wood
EPAâs recent decision to reject a pesticide that
would replace the controversial wood preservative chromated copper arsenate
(CCA), which was recently phased out for residential uses, is raising questions
about the industryâs ability to quickly market a suitable substitute...Meanwhile,
a host of lawmakers, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Reps.
Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) and Sue Myrick (R-NC), along with environmental
groups urged EPA to deny the ACC registration because it contains hexavalent
chromium, a carcinogenic compound widely known as the Erin Brockovich chemical.

Sunday, February 15, 2004. NV--National: EDITORIAL:
Arbitration and legislative intent
On appeal, the Supreme Court
sided with the contractor. The justices found a 1971 law governing public
works projects, which states all contracts "shall include ... a clause
permitting arbitration of a dispute between the agency and the contractor,"
was "ambiguous." Even though the language of the law seems clear -- arbitration
is an option when disputes arise -- the court said the Legislature "intended
... to mandate arbitration." And what was the basis for this conclusion?
Testimony from contractors, who are hardly neutral parties.

Sunday, February 15, 2004. Ohio: Builder
to submit lead cleanup plan to EPA
The biggest cleanup of residential
lead contamination in Greater Cincinnati could cost Ryland as much as $2.5
million, on top of at least $7.5 million for buying back 27 homes.

Saturday, February 14, 2004. Arizona: KB
Home sales division faces hearing on license
A KB Home development
known as SK Ranch was found by the state Department of Real Estate not
to have disclosed important details about use of the land many years ago.
This included a crop-dusting operation that leached contaminating chemicals
into the ground, which was then an airport.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004. National: New
Jersey Buyers of 'Dream Homes' Relate Their Nightmares
"It is unconscionable
that in this, the 21st century -- an era in which the mere flick of a switch
brings us crystal-clear, close-up images of Mars -- that hardworking, law-abiding
citizens here at home are victimized by a system that often cannot decipher
and implement the simplest features of a warranty," Schiller said.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004. National.: IMPORTANT
NEWS: Fannie to Set New Policy On Arbitration Clauses
Fannie Mae
will announce today that it will no longer invest in mortgages with clauses
forcing borrowers to give up their right to sue.

Monday, February 09, 2004. Colorado: Moldy,
not oldie, problem
Home ownership is the American Dream, but for
many toxic mold has transformed that dream into a nightmare. If you are
concerned about the hazards of mold contact your congressional representative.
The pending legislation appears to be stalled in a committee. With enough
public pressure, perhaps Congress will act.

Monday, February 09, 2004. NJ: AG
wants Old Bridge files on 5 employees
The state Attorney General's
Office has subpoenaed four years of Old Bridge Township records relating
to the offices of municipal engineer and construction official, including
any gift or benefit provided to any township employee.

Saturday, February 07, 2004. Kentucky: The
Erpenbeck story
Erpenbeck Co., led by Bill Erpenbeck and joined
by siblings Jeff, Gary, Lori and Rick Erpenbeck, rose through the 1990s
to become the third-largest home builder in Northern Kentucky. The company
was renowned for its lavishly detailed luxury home plans and for parties
including company cruises. But the company grew out of control in the late
1990s, became cash-strapped, and Bill led a scheme to steal $33 million
in payoff checks from homebuyers, depositing them after closings into company
accounts instead of transferring them to his company's lenders.

Friday, February 06, 2004. OH: Erpenbecks
jailed in witness case
Federal investigators uncovered a scheme
in which Erpenbeck stole payoff checks from homebuyers by putting them
in company accounts at two banks -- Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky and
Firstar Bank, now U.S. Bank -- instead of forwarding the money to Erpenbeck's
lenders, who had paid for construction of the new homes. More than 200
homebuyers were bilked out of $33 million, and millions more went unpaid
to Erpenbeck subcontractors.

Friday, February 06, 2004. OH: [Scroll
down to] "Growing anger"
Bill Erpenbeck just keeps finding new
ways to tick people off. Anger among his hundreds of victims has been growing
for months as the former homebuilder roamed Florida despite pleading guilty
to one count of bank fraud last April for stealing $33 million from lenders
and home buyers, destroying one of the largest building companies in the
region and killing an up-and-coming bank.

Friday, February 06, 2004. OH: Erpenbeck
charged with intimidating witness
In a major, unexpected twist
in the Erpenbeck case, former home builder Anthony "Bill" Erpenbeck, Jr.,
and his father, Anthony "Tony" Erpenbeck, Sr., have been charged in federal
court with intimidating a witness. That witness is Lori Erpenbeck, Bill's
sister and Tony's daughter.

Friday, February 06, 2004. Kentucky: Embattled
Ky. Builder Arrested Hours Before Presentence Hearing
It's unclear
what the charges are, but Cincinnati television station WLWT confirmed
Friday that Erpenbeck -- the embattled northern Kentucky builder who pleaded
guilty to defrauding homeowners, subcontractors and banks out of $33 million
-- was held overnight at the Hamilton County Justice Center in Cincinnati.

Friday, February 06, 2004. Ohio: Erpenbecks
jailed in witness case
A sobbing Bill Erpenbeck and his haggard-looking
father, Tony Erpenbeck, were charged with obstruction of justice in U.S.
District Court in Cincinnati today after FBI agents wire-tapped a conversation
they had with Lori Erpenbeck.

Thursday, February 05, 2004. Ohio: Erpenbeck
jail time debated
In a 33-page court filing Tuesday, the government
says Erpenbeck should receive a prison sentence of 324 to 405 months, or
27 to 34 years. Whitaker has told the court that an appropriate sentence
would be zero to six months. On Jan. 23, he filed a document that said
Erpenbeck would be better able to compensate his victims if he were placed
on probation or house arrest.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004. NJ, National interest:
New
Home Construction Issues, Public Hearing
The SCI will be holding
two days of public hearings to look at the many problems with New Home
Construction in the State of New Jersey.

Monday, February 02, 2004. MN: Another
homebuilder charged with fraud
A Minnetonka man who is the former
owner of a luxury home building business could face multiple years in jail
after being charged with 19 felony counts of defrauding more than $2 million
from homeowners, subcontractors and banks since the late 1990s.