Third Quarter (July-Sept) 2003 Archive

Tuesday, September 30, 2003. Texas: href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2127700"
target="x">Perry
Homes executive named to commission
Houston homeowner John Cobarruvias,
who applied for the commission, said he had hoped that Perry would appoint
a consumer advocate like himself. Cobarruvias, president of the Texas chapter
of Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings, said he's disappointed but not
surprised at the appointments. "We expected them to stack this commission
somehow, some way," said Cobarruvias. "I look at the makeup and just don't
see us having a chance of doing anything in support of the
consumers."

Monday, September 29, 2003. MO, National interest:
target="x">CONSTRUCTION
SITES IN KANSAS CITY & ST. LOUIS AREAS CITED FOR CLEAN WATER ACT VIOLATIONS
EPA
Region 7 is issuing administrative orders for violations of federal storm-water
regulations at 12 construction sites in the Kansas City, Mo., and St. Louis
areas.

Monday, September 29, 2003. MO: href="http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/neighborhoods/stories.nsf/Home/MO/Jeffers
on+County/Arnold/B4430B095190E00B86256DAD00780C7C?OpenDocument&Headline=Jefferso
n%20County%20developer%20cited%20for%20drainage%20controls" target="x">Jefferson
County developer cited for drainage controls
A St. Louis County
home builder is facing fines from the federal government for violating
storm water regulations at a Jefferson County construction site.

Monday, September 29, 2003. Kansas: href="http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascitystar/business/personal_finance/685
1467.htm" target="x">Do
research before hiring someone to fix your foundation
Before phoning
a handful of foundation repair companies for bids, homeowners who suspect
their basements need substantial repair should hire a third-party structural
engineer...Even after doing your homework it can be daunting finding the
right company.

Monday, September 29, 2003. New Jersey, NATIONAL
interest: target="x">Court:
Homeowners responsible for code violations
Code enforcement officials
cannot pursue builders who violate the state's construction code once a
homeowner moves in, an appeals court said Monday. Rather, homeowners are
responsible for code violations and must pursue remedies with the builders
on their own. [This is actually how it works in more areas than just
N.J.]

Monday, September 29, 2003. CA, National interest:
target="x">Builders
Shower Cash on Davis, Recall Candidates
Builders and developers,
perennially among the state's largest campaign contributors, have once
again emerged as a force in the race to recall Gov. Gray Davis, showering
the governor and his would-be successors with hundreds of thousands of
dollars.

Monday, September 29, 2003. California: href="http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_NEWS_ninspct28.a15bd.html"
target="x">DEFECTS:
Two Inland couples discover it's hard to win when government workers fail
to catch construction violations.
The California Contractors State
License Board, after investigating the Comrases' case, is taking steps
to remove Geldreich's license. The board said in its accusation that there
was evidence of "52 trade standard violations and 22 deviations from the
plans and specifications without authorization."

Monday, September 29, 2003. Texas: href="http://www.galvnews.com/story.lasso?wcd=13762" target="x">Big
business spent big bucks on Prop. 12
ãNow that Proposition
12 passed, toxic polluters, insurance industries and manufacturers of dangerous
products will be lining up at the Capitol to have arbitrary limits put
on jury awards,ä Lambe said. ãWhat voters have just done is
give politicians unchecked power to put any arbitrary, one-size-fits-all
cap on noneconomic damages in any civil lawsuit, not just medical
malpractice.ä
Donors: Texas for Lawsuit Reform $300,000, Bob Perry (homebuilder)
$100,000

Monday, September 29, 2003. Texas: href="http://dallas.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2003/09/22/story4.html"
target="x">On
shaky ground.
A new University of North Texas study shows that,
in recent years, more and more homes here have been built on soil that's
less than ideal for urban development

Monday, September 29, 2003. California. KB Home:
href="http://www.pe.com/localnews/inland/stories/PE_NEWS_ninspbx28.57830.html"
target="x">Some
urge buyers hire professional
Jay Moss, division president for
KB Homes, said his company will allow a private inspector on the building
site before the drywalling and at the walk-through, but only when the visit
is prearranged with the construction superintendent and when the home buyer
is present.

Friday, September 26, 2003. Michigan: href="http://www.detnews.com/2003/politics/0309/24/e01-279901.htm"
target="x">PAC
gives Macomb's Marrocco clout
...a shift in Marrocco's influence
from the local to the statewide level. Marrocco, who grossed more than
$160,000 that night from builders and related professionals whose projects
he regulates, was christening the "Anthony Marrocco Victory PAC."

Thursday, September 25, 2003. PA: href="http://www.poconorecord.com/local/tjd45224.htm" target="x">Homeowners
plan more protests
PHDA wants the FBI to rejoin the investigation
of alleged home-sales fraud that it left in 2001 after two weeks. Members
also want state and county officials to more aggressively prosecute fraud
allegations that include use of inflated appraisals, phantom financing
and coercion.

Thursday, September 25, 2003. NATIONAL: href="http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/09/19/eveningnews/consumer/main574300.
shtml" target="x">What's
Hiding in Home Contracts
(CBS) When Mary Cohn tried to sue the
company that built her home for producing a house filled with defects,
she didn't exactly find a welcome mat at the courthouse.

Thursday, September 25, 2003. OH: href="http://www.cincypost.com/2003/09/23/erp092303.html" target="x">Tapes:
Bank tried to cover overdrafts
Newly revealed tapes show that just
weeks before the Erpenbeck Co. bank fraud investigation erupted into a
public scandal in spring 2002, top executives at Peoples Bank of Northern
Kentucky hatched a last-ditch effort to quietly cover numerous Bill Erpenbeck
overdrafts without raising the suspicions of the bank's board of
directors.

Thursday, September 25, 2003. Texas: href="http://dallas.bizjournals.com/dallas/stories/2003/09/22/story4.html"
target="x">On
shaky ground.
A new University of North Texas study shows that,
in recent years, more and more homes here have been built on soil that's
less than ideal for urban development. Williams' study concludes that
concrete-slab
foundations are particularly prone to crack or break when soil expands.
But builders use them anyway to save money, he said.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003. Texas. Grand Homes.:
target="x">Survey
can help potential homeowners avoid heartache
The builder, Grand
Homes, has made some repairs over the past year. They did not return News
8's calls for a response concerning the condition of Misich's house or
a response to the J.D. Power survey, which placed Grand Homes at the bottom
of its customer satisfaction list.

Thursday, September 11, 2003. PA: href="http://www.poconorecord.com/topstory/" target="x">Attorney
Generals Office Continuing to take Claims
The Pennsylvania Attorney
General's Office will continue to consider new consumer complaints in its
Poconos real estate fraud investigation, including new allegations against
the individuals and companies whom the state is already suing.

Thursday, September 11, 2003. Texas: href="http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=110&xlc=1053123"
target="x">Judge
rules couple can't sue KB Home
A state district judge Wednesday
told a couple who lived in the KB Home Creekside subdivision they couldn't
sue the homebuilder for not disclosing the couple was sold a house in a
100-year floodplain.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003. PA, National interest:
Leaflet
campaign unfairly stopped, homeowners association alleges
The security
force at A Pocono Country Place stopped activists from distributing leaflets
about a Saturday forum on real estate fraud, according to the Pocono Homeowners
Defense Association..."A huge number of the foreclosures are coming out
of PCP," Wilson said. "So why wouldn't the board of directors want their
homeowners to know about this forum?"..."We were not asking anyone to purchase
anything," Wilson said.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003. PA, National interest:
target="x">Realty
fraud discussion Saturday at ESU
Wilson hopes the officials sitting
on the panel will assure the public that builders, appraisers and mortgage
brokers accused of fraudulent home-sale practices will finally and swiftly
be prosecuted, more than two years after the situation was exposed..."This
thing is downright rotten," said Wilson. "I have never seen a cover-up
so effective."

Monday, September 08, 2003. NATIONAL, From "Forbes.":
target="x">Home
Builders Raise Roof On CEO Pay
The U.S. housing industry is showering
its executives with huge pay packages just as economic signals are flashing
that the industry is headed for a slowdown. Last year, the median total
compensation awarded a housing sector chief executive was $6.2 million,
up 33% over 2001. Not exactly chicken feed. Top executives pulled down
anywhere from $10.5 million to $26 million apiece.

Monday, September 08, 2003. Florida: href="http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/broward/sfl-scode28aug28,0,3203454.
story?coll=sfla-news-broward" target="x">Pines
man arrested in connection with shoddy construction in Miami-Dade
The
arrest of a Pembroke Pines resident after an investigation into building
code violations should be the first of several, according to Miami-Dade
County Inspector General Christopher Mazzella's office. According to Mazzella,
investigators with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and the Miami-Dade
building and zoning departments found a "widespread scheme" by past and
present county employees, building contractors and others to violate codes
designed to protect the public from shoddy construction.

Monday, September 08, 2003. PA (story in Kansas City
Star): target="x">Attorney
General sues Poconos homebuilders, alleging deceptive tactics

PHILADELPHIA
- The Attorney General filed a civil lawsuit Thursday accusing a Poconos
builder and executives at his company of using deceptive sales tactics
to persuade dozens of first-time home buyers to purchase houses at inflated
prices.

Thursday, September 04, 2003. Wisconsin: href="http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=1428391&nav=51s7Ho33"
target="x">Creative
Custom Homes Seeks Arbitrator for Dispute
Creative Custom Homes
says it will now use an arbitrator to handle its disputes with some
homeowners.

Thursday, September 04, 2003. Wisconsin: href="http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=1418537&nav=51s7Hg0i"
target="x">Homeowners
Seek Town's Help in Dispute With Homebuilder
Several homeowners
in the Fox Valley say their houses are falling apart, and they are not
going to take it any more. Tuesday night they asked the Harrison town board
to block construction by any home builder who hasn't fixed problems with
existing homes.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003. National: href="http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/P58043.asp" target="x">Insiders
are bailing on home-builder stocks
Is the housing boom
doomed?

Wednesday, September 03, 2003. Idaho: href="http://www.constructionweblinks.com/Resources/Industry_Reports__Newsletter
s/Sept_1_2003/idaho_contractor.htm" target="x">Idaho
Contractor Waives Right Under AIA Contract to Contest Architect's Decision
by Failing to Send Demand for Arbitration to AAA
"...contract provided
that the architect's decision was "final and binding on the parties subject
to arbitration." Under the contract, either party could demand arbitration
of the dispute by filing "notice of demand for arbitration· with
the other party to the Agreement·, with the American Arbitration
Association· and· with the architect."" [HADD president's
comment: EVEN contractors who WANTED this right to cure law passed can't
figure out how to use it correctly.]

Tuesday, September 02, 2003. CA: href="http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/7368370p-8289526c.html"
target="x">Fresno
man admits to $5m federal fraud charges
A Fresno home builder admitted
Friday that he cheated investors out of more than $5 million by luring
them into purchasing nonexistent securities.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003. California: href="http://www.housingzone.com/news.asp?topicId=14519&docId=l:47015814"
target="x">Builder
Is Indicted in Fraud Case
An Orange County home builder was charged
Wednesday with diverting $340,000 in construction funds for his own use
and unlawfully selling homes at a development in Altadena that was left
unfinished.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003. Texas: href="http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/business/6671895.htm" target="x">DOMESTIC
DISPUTE. Supporters, detractors debate law's purpose, protections
"This
law does absolutely nothing to help consumers," said Cheryl Turner, a Dallas
lawyer who represents homeowners in cases of severe home defects. "If you
ask anyone who has been through a dispute, 2-to-1, they felt the law was
stacked against them," she said. "There was not any need for this
law."

Monday, September 01, 2003. Florida, National importance:
Law
Can Hold You Responsible For Builders' Mistakes
OVIEDO, Fla. --
Action 9 uncovers an outrageous example of how Florida's contractor lien
law holds you responsible for a builder's mistakes.