Quarter 3 (July - Sept) 2004 Archive

Friday, July 09, 2004. MO: MIDDAY BUSINESS REPORT: Consumer groups applaud Holden veto of ‘repair' bill [requires free registration] Consumer advocates are applauding Missouri Gov. Bob Holden for vetoing a bill that would have made it harder for a consumer to sue a building contractor for shoddy work.

Friday, July 09, 2004. National: Senate Abandons Class-Action Lawsuit Bill WASHINGTON (AP) - Legislation that supporters said would target abuses of class-action lawsuits was rejected by the Senate on Thursday, a victim of election-year skirmishing between the two parties.

Friday, July 09, 2004. MI: Ex-school boss, lawman took contractor's bribes A former school superintendent and a retired lawman will soon leave homes upgraded at public schools' expense for federal prison cells, following convictions Thursday in the most widespread public corruption case in Macomb County's history.

Friday, July 09, 2004. MO: Consumer groups applaud Holden veto of ‘repair' bill He said the controversial bill, which is similar to bills pushed by contractors in other states, “places unreasonable obstacles that will prevent or delay homeowners from exercising their legal rights as a result of a homebuilder's mistake or malfeasance.”

Friday, July 09, 2004. MN--National interest: IEQ Corporation Assists Homeowners with Rising Costs of Water Intrusion and Mold. St. Paul, MN (PRWEB) July 7, 2004 -- IEQ Corporation, a leading provider of environmental consulting services, has announced it is offering free moisture surveys for Twin Cities homeowners.

Moisture surveys have become increasingly popular for detecting water damage caused by weather, construction defects, and window failure. Moisture tests can provide quick, meaningful information on the degree of water damage and its possible cause.

Friday, July 09, 2004. CO: Issues pull in big bucks home builders contributed another $277,000 to fight a measure to undo limits on builder liabilities;

Friday, July 09, 2004. PA: AG orders contractor to pay up Attorney General Jerry Pappert announced Thursday that Michael Evans, doing business as Evans Construction Co., must return nearly $15,000 to customers based on complaints he performed substandard work and failed to start projects he was paid to complete.

Friday, July 09, 2004. National: Confusion, Ire over Lemon Housing Law A new law is taking hold in many states, requiring owners of new homes to hold off suing the builder for repairs until they give the builder a chance to fix the problem. Homebuilders say it's only fair. Some owners of new homes say it's not fair to them and they want it repealed.

Thursday, July 08, 2004. AZ: Builders cleared in disclosure flap "I was pretty disappointed," Barmore said. "They just seemed to make excuses for the homebuilders."

Thursday, July 08, 2004. National interest: LandAmerica to Acquire Buyers Home Warranty Company/Best Home Warranty Company LandAmerica Financial Group, Inc. (NYSE: LFG - News), a leading provider of real estate transaction services, has signed an agreement to purchase Buyers Home Warranty Company/Best Home Warranty Company (BHWC), based in Burbank, California, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

Thursday, July 08, 2004. MO: Text of Governor Holdens Veto Letter of homebuilder's bill While it is a laudable goal to resolve disputes without litigation, this bill puts consumers at a distinct and unjustified disadvantage. Many homeowners do not have the know-how or legal tools to address construction defects, and this legislation would only further hinder their ability to rectify a homebuilder's mistake. This is especially troubling in light of the fact that many working-class Missourians are in the process of becoming first-time homebuyers as a result of moderately low interest rates. Many homeowners could be uncomfortable following the complicated requirements in this bill and will be forced to hire an attorney to assist them. Otherwise, homeowners who miss one of the many deadlines in the bill or fail to navigate the complicated procedures the bill mandates would have their lawsuits dismissed.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004. NJ: Fund-Raiser, Linked to N.J. Gov., Indicted TRENTON, N.J. - A Democratic fund-raiser linked to Gov. James E. McGreevey extorted $40,000 in campaign donations by promising a farmer that public officials would help him get more money for development rights to his land, federal authorities said Tuesday.

David D'Amiano is charged with extortion, mail fraud and bribery. According to an indictment released Tuesday, D'Amiano told the owner of a Piscataway farm he would not get premium value for his property unless he made donations to the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004. CA: KB Home and Richmond American Homes Class action status is being sought in a lawsuit filed against KB Home and Richmond American Homes of California Inc. on behalf of homeowners in the Haysley Hills development. The suit alleges that KB Home underestimated the costs of maintaining the neighborhood, and is now charging residents association dues that are double the amount that they were told they would have to pay per month.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004. NY: Builder in larceny case faces new charge Charles J. Hotaling, a Nassau builder who will soon be sentenced for mishandling the money he was paid to build a luxury home, has been charged with third-degree grand larceny in a different case, officials said.

Hotaling was arrested early last week on the felony count, said Joseph Ahearn, an assistant district attorney for Rensselaer County. The complaint came from Jean Hill, 52, of Brunswick, who said she paid Hotaling $97,000 for a home-improvement project that was only partially completed.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004. MS: Flooded neighbors seek help from county After weeks of heavy rainfall, some Byram residents have had enough. Last Friday, one subdivision was underwater. The streets were filled with water five feet deep.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004. OH, KY: Cash Buyer settlement approved U.S. District Judge William S. Bertelsman has approved a settlement between Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky, U.S. Bank and the homebuyers that releases $3.5 million to $4 million in construction liens on about 65 Erpenbeck-built homes.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004. MO, From the SE Missourian: Holden vetoes bill for home repair mediation "This bill puts an undue burden on homeowners, requiring them to wait up to three to six months before being made whole," Holden said. "These delays could cause considerable health or safety risks."

The mediation requirement isn't justified, Holden said, because homeowners typically only resort to legal action after a contractor refuses to make repairs.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004. Missouri: Home mediation bill vetoed Holden's veto letter to lawmakers said the legislation would have made it too hard for home buyers to be compensated for defects, and that the bill "fails to adequately protect consumers" and gives an unfair advantage to contractors.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004. NY: Avella, Baysiders rally to protest Huang construction The property at 39-39 223rd St. is being developed by a son of Tommy Huang, the notorious builder who was convicted of a felony count of ignoring asbestos contamination and spilling hundreds of gallons of fuel oil in the basement of the historic RKO Keith's Theater in Flushing. He is also known for having destroyed the historic, landmarked lobby of the theater.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. MO: Home Mediation Bill Vetoed Holden's veto letter to lawmakers said the legislation would have made it too hard for home buyers to be compensated for defects, and that the bill "fails to adequately protect consumers" and gives an unfair advantage to contractors.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. Canada: Canadian Advocacy Groups form to help New Home Buyers "The combination of a lack of skill or competency requirements for all trades to build homes, the highly competitive nature of the construction industry and a lack of proper accountability mechanisms continues to reward shoddy construction, low bids and cost-cutting measures. Homeowners/buyers must overcome horrendous hurdles to identify and/or repair problem housing."

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. SC: Mansion mold problem severe The mold problem at the Governor’s Mansion is worse than previously thought and will keep the first family away at least until September.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. PA: Fired administrator sues Nockamixon Township officials In the suit, Babb accuses Supervisor Kenneth Gross III, who works as a real estate agent, of accepting payments from an unnamed builder for steering clients to him. Also, Babb accuses Supervisor Henry Gawronski of using his position to obtain government discounts for items he buys for personal use and to avoid paying sales tax.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. National: Critics Say HUD-Realtors Collaboration Hoodwinks Homebuyers THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® assisted the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for over a year to develop its recently distributed Radon Gas and Mold Notice and Release Agreement, but critics contend it was strategically written to downplay the danger of radon exposure so as not to hinder the sales process and may put the eventual occupants at risk for radon-induced lung cancer.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. OH, KY: Erpenbeck victims still holding bag "Where is the remorse for all the people who have been hurt?'' the judge asked.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. OH, KY: No Dull Moments at the Erpenbeck Circus Hundreds of people got hurt -- financially, emotionally and otherwise -- in the Erpenbeck home-building scandal. It's good to remember that as we laugh at the plot twists and larger-than-life caricatures that emerge week to week in a story that has been part soap opera, part Lifetime movie and part World Wrestling Federation cage match.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. OH: Investigation involves local businesses As the investigation surrounding Schmid McCathern Builders continues, more businesses and homeowners are being added to the list of people directly affected by what may be a long-standing web of deceit and corruption.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. IL: Condo owners say work is shoddy The Johnsons are one of several condo and townhouse residents to voice their complaints over what they called shoddy workmanship at the new, $12 million complex by local developer David Russo. Woodstock-based Dearborn Group is both the builder and on-site management company.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004. National: Eminent Domain: Being Abused? Cities across the country have been using eminent domain to force people off their land, so private developers can build more expensive homes and offices that will pay more in property taxes than the buildings they're replacing.

Sunday, July 04, 2004. SC: Mold cleanup at mansion to take two months COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Hazardous mold growing in the Gov.'s Mansion will keep South Carolina's first family out of their home until at least September, officials said Friday.

Friday, July 02, 2004. NJ: Contractors past troubles no concern WASHINGTON TWP – The company picked for the $1 million contract to build the Falcon Fields recreation complex has been barred from doing work in neighboring Mount Olive since 2001 because of concerns over workmanship.

Friday, July 02, 2004. FL: WCI Shares dip with lawsuit Robert Hanna, former president of WCI's Palm Beach Gardens homebuilding division, filed a whistle-blower's suit in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach on Wednesday. He alleges that he was fired last year for objecting to "arbitrary" changes the company made to a 2003 business plan that he maintained could mislead investors.

In the suit, Hanna accused the company's founder, Al Hoffman, and other executives of falsely inflating revenue and profit projections to conceal financial problems and keep the stock price up.

Hanna alleged that Hoffman and other senior officials created a special "cushion fund" to guarantee their bonuses because they expected the company to miss projections.

Ken Plonski, spokesman for Bonita Springs-based WCI, did not return calls Thursday. On Wednesday, he denied the allegations and said Hanna was dismissed for performance reasons.

Friday, July 02, 2004. OH, KY: 70 Months for Tony Erpenbeck Three months after Bill Erpenbeck was sent to prison for 30 years, his father and sister were given shorter sentences Thursday in connection with the bank fraud that forced what was one of the Tristate's biggest home builders into insolvency.

Friday, July 02, 2004. MA: Bank dismisses mortgage for mold-affected Davis family ...on May 28 the Department of Housing and Urban Development released a "Radon Gas and Mold Notice and Release Agreement" ( www.aerotechlabs.com that is now a requirement for all HUD home sales contracts to make certain that purchasers know radon gas and mold may cause health problems.

Thursday, July 01, 2004. GA: PTC may halt builder after settling problems uncorrected in one home Peachtree City officials may soon take action against a company that apparently built a million-dollar plus home on top of a debris pit, according to Mayor Steve Brown.

Brown said the home at 115 Peninsula Drive, owned by Tom and Lynn Fedor, has had excessive settling problems since it was built over a year ago by Regency Homes. The Fedors have tried to work with Regency Homes to get repairs made to no avail, Brown said.

Thursday, July 01, 2004. FL--Orlando Sentinel, (requires registration to view articles): Prosecutors say men bilked home buyers A Celebration man was the "ringleader" of a group that swindled mortgage lenders and Central Florida home buyers with credit problems out of $670,000 in an elaborate scheme that lasted more than five years, Attorney General Charlie Crist said Friday.

Thursday, July 01, 2004. AZ: KB Home fined for discrepancy in CG operation Facing possible revocation of its sales license for insufficient notice of potentially hazardous land conditions, KB Home-Phoenix was fined instead.

Thursday, July 01, 2004. OH, KY: ERPENBECK ARCHIVE List of articles from the Kentucky Post on the Erpenbeck scandal

Thursday, July 01, 2004. OH, KY: Homebuilder's Father Sentenced In Erpenbeck Scandal Tony Erpenbeck still claims he did not threaten his daughter despite the fact the conversation was recorded.

Thursday, July 01, 2004. OH, KY: A Loophole for Erpenbeck? Bill Erpenbeck had the book thrown at him when he was sentenced to 30 years in jail for bank fraud, but the book used by U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel might be thrown out by a Supreme Court ruling that could make current federal sentencing rules unconstitutional.

Thursday, July 01, 2004. IN: Signs of protest going up in yards of subdivision "Before you consider buying a home in The Bristols, make sure you know all the facts," warns the message, which then directs callers to a homeowners' Web site (bristols.home.insightbb.com/bristols).