Quarter 4 (Oct - Dec) 2004 Archive

Monday, December 08, 2003. PA: href="http://www.wbng.com/data/web_4533.shtml" target="x">Consumer
Protection Lawsuit
The Pennsylvania's Attorney General's office
filed suit against Michael D. Robinson and Mike Robinson Builders. Robinson
is a Modular home builder.

Monday, December 08, 2003. NY: href="http://www.troyrecord.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=10623742&BRD=1170&PAG=461&d
ept_id=7021&rfi=8" target="x">Contractor files bankruptcy
Wedgwood Builders is in a heap of trouble. Since The Record first reported early this year on the battle between the Troy
contractor and a Capital District customer over shoddy and unfinished work on a house, the company, which has built modular homes around the area, has managed to dig itself in pretty deep.

Monday, December 08, 2003. NY: href="http://www.wten.com/Global/story.asp?S=1553897&nav=EjCvJWbx"
Builders Files for Bankruptcy, former General Manager Creates New Home
Building Company
Here is a sample of what is in the bankruptcy
documents: close to 100 estimated creditors who are owed as much as $10,000,000.
Companies like CR Drywall in Vorheesville are owed $75,000. C & S Building
Material in Latham is owed more than $33,000. Broughton excavation of Castleton
is owed more than $68,000. The list goes on and on. While all of this has
been going on, there is a new development. News10 has learned that one
of Wedgwoodâs owners has already started a new home building company.
And who will his new customers be? Heâs already fishing in familiar

Monday, December 08, 2003. MN--NATIONAL interest: href="http://www.austindailyherald.com/articles/2003/12/06/news/news3.txt"
Court decision could be historic
In the City of Austin versus Carriage
Homes Inc. and developer Arkell case, the theory of holding a responsible
corporate officer liable for violation of a public welfare statute -- if
upheld by the highest court -- would change everything.

Saturday, December 06, 2003. NY: href="http://www.wten.com/Global/story.asp?S=1250143&nav=EjCvFSSw"
Buyer's Beware: New Homes Have Problems Too
"It's a lovely home,
it's just unfortunate it's not structurally sound,"

Friday, December 05, 2003. Colorado: href="http://www.postindependent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031205/VALLEYN
EWS/31204002&rs=2" target="x">Petitioners
seek overturn of Rippy bill
The Colorado Public Interest Research
Group, or CoPIRG, has joined others in pushing an initiative aimed at battling
what it calls ãa harmful bill · that strips homeowners of
their rights to recover construction defects.ä

Friday, December 05, 2003. NATIONAL: href="http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/031204/dcth054_1.html" target="x">Freddie
Mac Promotes Consumer Choice With New Subprime Mortgage Arbitration
Freddie Mac announced today that effective August 1, 2004, it would no longer invest in subprime mortgages originated on or after that date that contain mandatory
arbitration clauses. Freddie Mac is the first among secondary mortgage
investors to adopt such a stance on subprime mortgages with mandatory arbitration clauses. This policy is aligned with the corporation's existing prohibition on the use of mandatory arbitration for prime market mortgage investments.

Friday, December 05, 2003. TX: href="http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=110&xlc=1094376"
target="x">Foundation repair industry on solid ground
The International Association of
Foundation Drilling estimates that the residential foundation repair industry
is now a $10 billion to $15 billion a year business.....Mitchell and Witherspoon
are critical of the homebuilding industry's widespread use of shallow foundation
slabs. Including piers would only up the cost by about 7 percent. It's
much more expensive, they say, to put in the piers after the house begins
to pull apart. Mitchell said he approached several high-volume homebuilders
and offered to put piers in for between $2,000 to $3,000 per house. The
piers, he added, would come with a lifetime warranty. "They weren't interested.
I got told, 'Our slabs are engineered.'" he said. "I said, 'It's not working."

Friday, December 05, 2003. NY: href="http://www.wten.com/Global/story.asp?S=1552389&nav=EjCvJVEf"
target="x">Local Modular Home Contractor Plans to File Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy spells
defeat. Defeat for Wedgewood Builders, but more importantly defeat for many families who have put money down for homes that they don't have. Defeat for the dozens of contractors, electricians, plumbers, painters and a major building supply company who are out hundreds of thousands of dollars. When Wedgewood Builders declares bankruptcy, they're not going down alone. [Home owner who provided this link stated one of Wedgewood's owners is now going
to keep on building under a new corporation, Cambridge Custom Homes.]

Thursday, December 04, 2003. TX: href="http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=1092974"
Hall witness says he's guilty
A developer who built a bribery case
against two city councilmen by wearing a wire, delivering wads of cash
and betraying his friends was rewarded for his undercover work Monday with
a plea deal that leaves room for him to avoid being sent to prison for
his own crimes.

Thursday, December 04, 2003. FL: href="http://www.wesh.com/2investigates/2680261/detail.html" target="x">Seminole
Suspends Local Home Builder [a different article from the one below]
county effectively put Cosmopolitan Homes out of business for a year and
threatened to make that five years if repairs aren't made according to
building code, WESH NewsChannel 2 reported.

Thursday, December 04, 2003. FL: href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/nationworld/orl-bizbuilder04120403
dec04,1,3493112.story?coll=orl-business-headlines" target="x">Seminole
Suspends Home Builder
A home builder accused of shoddy work will
not be allowed to construct new houses in Seminole County for a year.

Thursday, December 04, 2003. Washington State: href="http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20031123/business/156590.shtml"
Premiums Hammer Construction
Neither Newman nor Mahrt could say
how many lawsuits were filed against Washington contractors, how much these
suits have driven up premiums as a whole or how much insurers have paid
in settlements. Insurers don't collect industrywide statistics on claims,
Newman said. [The concept of build it right and honor the warranty still
evades many contractors, and the home buyer is blamed for the rising insurance

Tuesday, December 02, 2003. California: href="http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/7875817p-8815073c.html"
out by mold. A young couple flee their new home, fearing that is where
their son's illnesses originated.
The Hamres' legal struggle began
then, with Ryan stationed hundreds of miles away in Miramar, providing
support for the war in Iraq.Every night, Suzanne talked to him on the phone
about Tyler's health and their financial problems. Ryan felt outraged.
And helpless. "This is the issue that really sticks in my craw," Graves
said. "The easiest thing (Jack Wilson Construction) could have done from
the beginning was to find a suitable place for the Hamres to live, and
they didn't do that."

Monday, December 01, 2003. Texas: href="http://www.valleystar.com/localnews_more.php?id=51019_0_19_0_C"
filed against 2 area builders. Obra Homes, Armadillo Construction are accused
of contractual problems with homebuyers
There are two lawsuits
pending in Cameron County courts against Obra and Armadillo Construction
Inc. alleging that contracts used to sell thousands of homes across Texas
since 2000 ÷ most of which were built in the Rio Grande Valley ÷
have kept buyers in the dark about a state law that guards their rights
in cases of faulty construction. [The notice about the Residential Construction
Liability Act became law in 1999. The clause must be on the contract right
above the signature line.]

Sunday, November 30, 2003. New Jersey: href="http://www.app.com/app/story/0,21625,862684,00.html" target="x">SCI
pledges reforms: Little comfort for angry homeowners
sit for two days of State hearings.

Saturday, November 29, 2003. California: href="http://realtytimes.com/rtnews/rtcpages/20021107_imperfecthomes.htm"
Home Imperfections Demand Quality Follow-Up by Broderick Perkins
California, lawsuits over building defects scared off insurers and so decimated
the multifamily housing construction industry the state was forced to pass
a new law effective in 2003 that regulates how defect claims must proceed.
And swelling grass roots movements are brandishing a Homeowners Bill of
Rights that effectively says "We are mad as hell and we aren't going to
take it anymore." Why not simply build it right?

Saturday, November 29, 2003. Texas: href="http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=110&xlc=1091573"
regulations hit foundation repairers
Foundation repair company
owners are livid about the surprise news that their industry now is under
the authority of the Texas Residential Construction Commission. The commission
was created in the last legislative session with the intent of regulating
homebuilders and home remodelers. But it was only after the commission
began meeting in September that foundation repair contractors learned the
commission oversees them, even though the law never specifically mentions

Friday, November 28, 2003. FL: href="http://www.wesh.com/2investigates/2666870/detail.html"
Consider Changes To New-Home Laws
"The bill that I'm putting out
to the Legislature this year will ask the Florida Building Commission to
look at this on a real, micro level, and see at the local level, if you
will, and see what changes and corrections might need to be made to improve
the actual quality," Constantine said.

Friday, November 28, 2003. Tim Carter Colum, national:
70.xml" target="x">Cold
rooms sign of a bad builder
Yes, and there was a full solar eclipse
last week as well. Jeeesh! The phony answers and excuses some builders
offer up to cover mistakes seem to be as plentiful as grains of sand on
a beach.

Friday, November 28, 2003. OH: href="http://www.cincypost.com/2003/11/27/erp112703.html" target="x">Builder
guilty, but still free
The Easter ham hadn't been served when Bill
Erpenbeck pleaded guilty in April to one count of bank fraud for leading
a scheme that robbed more than 200 homebuyers of $33 million. As families
gather around their Thanksgiving turkeys, Erpenbeck and two other convicted
felons who participated in the bank fraud are still free, awaiting sentencing
in U.S. District Court. And by all indications, all three will be free
to enjoy Christmas and New Year's as well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003. FL: href="http://www.wesh.com/news/2660811/detail.html%20" target="x">Avoid
Problems When Buying New Home
The garage door screams when closing.
The toilets aren't bolted to the floor. The builder promises to make repairs
after closing. You believe him. If you don't close tomorrow, you have no
place to live. [HADD recommends doing more research than this article suggests.
See our Buyers Guide.]

Wednesday, November 26, 2003. FL: href="Avoid%20Problems%20When%20Buying%20New%20Home%20" target="x">How
to get New Home Problems Fixed
[Note: HADD's Buyers Guide recommends
more than this especially with regard to research.] "Tip No. 1: Hire a
certified home inspector to monitor construction...Tip No.2: Do not use
the home builder's lender...Tip No. 3: Before you sign up with a home builder,
do your homework. Drive to the neighborhood. knock on five houses. Ask
"How did the builder treat you?" "If a person is unhappy with their builder
they are not afraid to let people know about it," Check with the Better
Business Bureau. Snoop online, and finally, make sure you understand the
contract. Legally, the builder owns the house until the day you close on
it. Don't fall in love with it until it's yours."

Wednesday, November 26, 2003. FL: href="http://www.tcpalm.com/tcp/palm_beach_news/article/0,1651,TCP_1020_2446316,
00.html%20" target="x">Facing
suits, member of review panel quits
Peter Henn, a Boca Raton lawyer
and real estate developer named Friday to the Scripps Funding Corp. by
state House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, said he feared a former employee's sexual
harassment claim against him and lawsuits accusing his prior company of
shoddy construction work would "cause a distraction."

Wednesday, November 26, 2003. FL: href="http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/auto/epaper/editions/thursday/ne
ws_f3cb8420d6c122ac0017.html%20" target="x">Developer's
lawyer quits Scripps Funding board
development lawyer Peter Henn agreed Wednesday night to withdraw from the
board overseeing The Scripps Research Institute's move into Palm Beach
County after House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, the man who appointed him Friday,
learned of shoddy-construction lawsuits and a sexual harassment claim against
Henn in Indian River County...A third couple, Patrick and Yemin McDougal,
sued in October, alleging poor workmanship and bad management, as well
as building code violations on their $1.1 million home. Their suit describes
a collapsing wall and ceiling, flooded air handlers, mold, ant and roach
infestations and not enough hurricane strap-fasteners to hold the

Tuesday, November 25, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/columns/112503CONSTRUCTION.html%20
" target="x">SHODDY
Let's hope these sensible recommendations, suggested
last week, are included in the final report: stronger criminal penalties;
better protections for consumers (the homeowners warrantee program overseen
by the state Department of Community Affairs is said to be sorely lacking);
more training and resources for municipalities; and a central registry
of complaints so consumers will know which developers have a history of
shoddy building.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003. FL, National Interest:
To Get Problems In New Homes Fixed
Put all complaints in writing
and send them certified mail. Hire a certified home inspector to make sure
you understand the scope of your problems. Notify the division president
if there is one. Most reputable companies have a system in place to repair

Monday, November 24, 2003. National.: href="http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/2003-11-24-complaints_x.htm"
Repair second on list of consumer complainst.] Car buying leaves bad taste
in consumers' mouths
Home repair slights included companies going
out of business and reopening under other names, failure to complete work
and not complying with local codes

Monday, November 24, 2003. National.: href="%5BHome%20Repair%20second%20on%20list%20of%20consumer%20complainst.%5D%20C
repair slights included companies going out of business and reopening under
other names, failure to complete work and not complying with local

Monday, November 24, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1069570298226600.xml?starl
edger?oed" target="x">Failing
Roofs failed and ceilings fell in because they were
never attached to their supports. New developments were pocked with sinkholes.
Flooding in one Newark complex got bad enough to float a refrigerator.
And material that was supposed to contain fires was too poorly installed
and too full of holes to do the job. Information from Our Advertisers Yet
all of these dwellings passed inspection. That is what makes these tales
true horror stories.

Sunday, November 23, 2003. Texas: href="http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=1088844"
Doctors as dumb as Texas homeowners] Carlos Guerra: Doctors now learning
what average homeowners know well
Texas Watch, he said, also is
investigating doctors' complaints of lower premiums being offered for lesser
coverage or higher deductibles, insurance company proposals familiar to
many homeowners. "Let's face it," Lambe concluded, "we have been restricting
the rights of consumers because that is a lot easier to do that than it
is to take on the multimillion-dollar insurance lobby and hold the insurance
companies accountable."

Saturday, November 22, 2003. MI: href="http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=10550171&BRD=988&PAG=461&dept_id
=141265&rfi=6" target="x">Builder
pleads guilty to felony fraud charge
Wilson took money from four
prospective homeowners -- three in St. Clair Shores and one in Clinton
Township -- nearly three years ago to build homes for them, but failed
to complete them. He also was accused of writing a $53,000 bad check to
Metropolitan Title in Sterling Heights.

Friday, November 21, 2003. WA: href="http://www.zwire.com/site/tab2.cfm?newsid=10534529&BRD=2553&PAG=461&dept_i
d=506066&rfi=6" target="x">New
Home Owners Blast Washington Homes Builders
Many of the residents
are now concerned that as their one-year home warranties run out, so will
their right to make claims on problems not yet repaired. While the situations
vary, residents say that solutions have been slow in coming from Washington
Homes, which is part of the national building company, K.

Friday, November 21, 2003. FL, [happens in other
states too.]: target="x">Costly
Home Problems may start in Attic
We found design flaws and not
enough insulation in new homes throughout Central Florida. Those problems
can cost you hundreds of dollars a year in wasted electricity.

Friday, November 21, 2003. Colorado: href="http://denver.bizjournals.com/denver/stories/2003/11/17/story5.html"
to Repair law fails to keep promises. Again] Builders see little change
from reform
A new law touted by home builders as a fix for skyrocketing
insurance premiums hasn't made liability insurance for residential builders
any cheaper or more available since it was passed during the 2003 Legislative

Thursday, November 20, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.housingzone.com/news.asp?topicId=14531&docId=l:61622594"
building is rife, panel told;
Shoddy home construction is widespread
throughout New Jersey, with lax oversight, bureaucratic indifference, and
corrupt municipal inspectors contributing to a "consumer crisis," a state
panel in Trenton said Tuesday. The findings came as the State Commission
of Investigation opened a series of hearings aimed at drawing attention
to the problem and producing tighter construction regulations.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. PA: href="http://www.wayneindependent.com/articles/2003/11/17/news1/news2.txt"
Businessman ripped off customers
Attorney General Mike Fisher on
Friday announced that a lawsuit has been filed against a Wayne County modular
home builder accused of accepting substantial payments for work he failed
to start, complete or performed in a shoddy manner.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. CA: href="http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/7777019p-8669262c.html"
builder sentenced for fraud
Fresno home builder Edward Gray was
sentenced to 54 months in prison Wednesday for a fraud and money-laundering
scheme that cheated investors out of more than $5 million.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. TX: href="http://news9sanantonio.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=6273"
negotiates plea bargain in bribery scandal
A local home builder
indicted in the San Antonio City Hall corruption and bribery scandal is
currently negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. FL: href="http://www.sptimes.com/2003/11/20/Hillsborough/Former_Tampa_Housing_.shtml
" target="x">Former
Tampa Housing Chief Indicted
The 40-page, 60-count indictment outlines
allegations of how the defendants allegedly used federal housing funds
awarded to the city to award contracts to a builder and a non-profit group
which in turn provided favors to help LaBrake and McCarter build a a luxury
home on South Tampa.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. NJ investigation: href="http://www.nj.com/news/gloucester/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1069312581126510.
xml" target="x">Witnesses:
Home inspections mired in corruption
Along with graft, according
to some of the witnesses, developers often go out of business only to reopen
soon with no debts under another name. The bankruptcies leave homeowners
to cover defaulted loans, liens on the home and personally oversee the
end of construction.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/20/nyregion/20BUIL.html?ex=1069995600&en=40
93e2b673cdefe5&ei=5062&partner=GOOGLE" target="x">Panel
Says Inspections Don't Protect Home Buyers
During two days of public
hearings in Trenton, the State Commission of Investigation revealed the
results of a yearlong inquiry. Those findings suggest that the municipal
inspectors responsible for examining new homes were often ill qualified,
overworked or biased toward politically powerful developers who plied them
with gratuities like sports tickets, parties or golf outings.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-5/10693105831804
0.xml" target="x">Claims
of shoddy work plague Society Hill condos in Newark
Society Hill
was supposed to be one of the jewels in a Newark renaissance, offering
a slice of suburbia in a gritty city. Shortly after the condominiums came
on the market in 1988, then-U.S. Housing Secretary Jack Kemp called them
"a remarkable example of the best in affordable, inner-city housing." But
for many, the dream of home ownership crumbled to a nightmare because of
shoddy work by the builder, K. Hovnanian, state officials and a homeowner
said yesterday at a hearing held by the State Commission of Investigation
in Trenton.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. NJ, National interest:
details builders' gifts to inspectors
Public employees -- including
municipal code officials and inspectors -- have been illegally accepting
gifts of meals, liquor, parties and golf outings from builders and developers
seeking favors, according to testimony at a second day of hearings by the
State Commission of Investigation.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/news/expresstimes/nj/index.ssf?/base/news-4/106932287411
450.xml" target="x">Witnesses:
Builders often bribe inspectors
According to Karen Guhl, SCI special
agent, investigators looked at more than 50 government entities and authorities
wielding regulatory control over builders. They found officials routinely
accepted gifts in exchange for so-called "windshield inspections," a quick
drive past construction sites that ended in approvals without a true

Thursday, November 20, 2003. Texas. Insurance: href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/outlook/2235778"
insurance rule, same unfair credit scoring.
Consumers can have
no confidence in Montemayor's claim of a rigorous analysis of insurer data.
Despite being requested to do so, Montemayor has refused to collect the
data necessary for an independent analysis of the relationship between
credit scores and insurance losses, and he has refused to establish standards
for demonstrating proof. His rigorous analysis will rely upon numbers provided
by insurers with no opportunity for independently checking the veracity
of those numbers. And Montemayor also refused to require insurers to utilize
statistical measures that isolate the impact of credit scoring apart from
other rating factors. This refusal is particularly troublesome since a
University of Texas credit scoring study showed that credit is a proxy
for other factors used by insurers. What was Montemayor's reason for refusing
this basic consumer safeguard? Because such an analysis is too difficult
for some, if not most, insurers.

Thursday, November 20, 2003. Florida: href="
story?coll=orl-business-headlines" target="x">Inspections
law may undergo some tinkering. (
Randy Braden, area president
of David Weekley Homes, said the Houston-based company has told the city
of Orlando it plans to hire private inspectors for the houses it's building
in the Baldwin Park community northeast of downtow

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.c-n.com/news/c-n/story/0,2111,857667,00.html"
N.J. home checkups corrupt
The inspection of new homes in New Jersey
is riddled with corruption and is an often shoddy process that puts homeowners
in danger and costs them millions of dollars, according to the State Commission
of Investigation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. FL: href="http://www.wesh.com/news/2649534/detail.html" target="x">Mold
Problem Frustrates Sanford Homeowner
It's the hidden mold that
worries homeowners. They also wonder how homes so new can leak so frequently.
Out of 400 homes inspected, more than 45 had active leaks somewhere in
the home.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/search/index.ssf?/base/news-4/1069137671307900.xml?starl
edger?nex" target="x">Builder
gets more jail time to learn a lesson
When developer Eric Charles
was sentenced to nine years in prison in early 2001 for accepting $320,000
to build homes on Cedar Grove property he did not even own, he assured
the judge his victims would get back every penny. But the prison sentence
was not enough to put an end to his scheming.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. FL: href="http://www.wesh.com/news/2648817/detail.html" target="x">Building
Commission Considers Inspection Changes
There's new momentum to
change state law to make sure homes are constructed and inspected

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-5/10692239343146
40.xml" target="x">New
Home Warranties Show Cracks
During a Trenton hearing yesterday
that featured homeowner horror stories and a building inspector who conceded
his office had made serious mistakes, the SCI laid out a brutal assessment
of new construction in the state's sprawling suburbs.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. OH: href="http://www.wcpo.com/news/2003/local/11/11/erp.html" target="x">Woman
Devastated By Erpenbeck Fraud Wins Class Action Suit
year old Louise Schulte clearly remembers learning two years ago there
were problems with the title to her condominium at Sherwood Lakes in Boone

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NJ, Investigation,
National interest: target="x">N.J.
home inspection process needs repairs
For nearly seven hours yesterday,
the State Commission of Investigation heard homeowners' horror stories:
Faulty wiring and broken support trusses. Inspections supposedly done on
parts of a home that do not exist. Gaping sinkholes and collapsed sewer
lines. A lack of government oversight and no recourse for people who have
put hundreds of thousands of dollars into flawed homes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.courierpostonline.com/news/southjersey/m111903d.htm"
inspections under scrutiny at hearing
Another crack in New Jersey's
ethical armor appeared Tuesday when a blue ribbon state panel highlighted
crooked behavior and shabby habits in the building of new homes

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/news/times/index.ssf?/base/news-1/106923634713371.xml"
"Builders large and small, their bottom lines increasingly
defined by speed and volume rather than quality and craftsmanship, are
churning out second-rate structures assembled by unsupervised subcontractors
using unskilled, untrained laborers," said SCI Chairman Francis

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/news/expresstimes/nj/index.ssf?/base/news-4/106923630932
5650.xml" target="x">Too
many dream homes turning into nightmares, hearing told
-- Unscrupulous developers and corrupt local officials have turned the
American dream into a horror story, homeowners and state officials said

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1069240265105930.xm
l" target="x">New
home inspections called corrupt, dangerous
TRENTON - Inspection
of new homes in New Jersey is riddled with corruption and is an often shoddy
process that puts homeowners in danger and costs them millions of dollars,
according to the State Commission of Investigation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. OK.: href="http://www1.journalrecord.com/viewStory.cfm?recid=11192003s2.txt"
study Texas insurance regulations on mold problem
ãIn a
perfect world, none of this would have to be happening because people that
build houses wrong would correct the mistake before anyone was affected,ä
Schnackel said. ãBut we donât live in a perfect world and
unfortunately, when people wonât regulate themselves in an ethical
way, then the law usually ends up getting changed.ä She said enforcement
of existing building codes may be key to reducing mold problems. ãI
think the building code inspection is really lacking and I know that is
at least in part because they donât have enough people to inspect
every single house,ä Schnackel said. ãHowever, there are so
many houses going up that have code violations that itâs hard to
believe that theyâre really even making the effort. When I see a
whole development that all has the same code violation ö and I can
see it ö I have to wonder why nobody caught that.ä

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. WI: href="http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=wsj:2003:11:16:288318:FRONT"
A Contractor's Building Or Remodeling Project Goes Awry, Consumers Are
Left Asking: What Can We Do Now?
The Reeds were among the unhappy
homeowners who testified on behalf of a bill that would require all new
Wisconsin homes to be inspected while they're under construction. The bill,
which was supported by the construction industry, passed both houses of
the Legislature, and is sitting on the desk of Gov. Jim Doyle, who is expected
to sign it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. FL--National interest:
Changes May Bring Flooding Problems
"Why do we, as politicians
and elected officials, every time a developer comes in with a zoning change,
we grant it? We have to quit doing that," Northey said.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. NY: href="http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/10915.htm" target="x">Fungus
Among Us
Experts cite several reasons for the increase, including
underqualified contractors who don't know how to avoid water leaks during
construction; the growing use of new building materials that are susceptible
to mold; and airtight buildings with dirty ventilation systems.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003. National: href="http://www.inman.com/inf/boma/story.asp?ID=38346" target="x">Consumer
group promises alternative to industry-restricted policies
of America, an outspoken consumer group, is stepping up its attack on the
nation's insurance industry with the launch of its own line of insurance
products÷ones that won't factor consumers' credit scores or past
claims histories into underwriting formulas. The insurance is expected
to become available late next year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003. New Jersey.: href="http://www.app.com/app/breaking_news/857361.html" target="x">Witnesses
say home inspectors often incompetent, overworked
inspection of new homes in New Jersey is riddled with corruption and is
an often shoddy process that puts homeowners in danger and costs them millions
of dollars, according to the State Commission of Investigation.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003. California: href="http://www.nbcsandiego.com/politics/2644853/detail.html"
Halts Pending Regulations
Lobbyists for California homebuilders
applauded the governor's order Monday."The ones he asked to have reviewed
are the ones that may be affecting the performance of business in California,
and affecting the health and strength of the California economy," said
Tim Coyle, vice president for governmental affairs for the California Building
Industry Association. "It's the pebbles, not the boulder," added Coyle,
attributing California's "hostile business climate" to a steady buildup
of small state regulations. Coyle declined comment on which regulations
homebuilders want dropped. But the industry, which aims to build 187,000
homes and apartments in California this year, often expresses dissatisfaction
with environmental rules.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003. Texas. David Weekley.:
IN RE: WEEKLEY HOMES, L.P. In the Texas Supreme Court concerning
an Amicus Brief by Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003. FL: href="http://www.wesh.com/2investigates/2643424/detail.html" target="x">Osceola
Homeowner Sues Builder, Still Loses
The original developers were
run out of town, and homeowners claim county inspectors missed key mistakes
that could have caused their homes to collapse..."[I] never collected.
It's in bankruptcy. He went bankrupt after the judgment," Young

Monday, November 17, 2003. New Jersey.: href="http://www.prweb.com/releases/2003/11/prweb89863.php" target="x">Media
Advisory. NJ HADD Representative to testify at new home construction defect
Tracey Kelly, President HADD NJ, will testify at a hearing
on abuse of new home construction and inspections. This hearing is being
conducted by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation.

Monday, November 17, 2003. Texas: href="http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/opinion/7269884.htm" target="x">What's
the score? Star Telegram Opinion
And you should keep an eye on
what Montemayor decides in coming months regarding the extent to which
insurers can use credit scoring. That could affect your insurance bill,
up or down, for many moons.

Monday, November 17, 2003. New Jersey: href="http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/jersey/index.ssf?/base/news-5/10690519138268
0.xml" target="x">SCI
hearings aim to shield homeowners
SCI officials said their ongoing
18-month investigation has focused on a cross section of the state's major
builders and smaller, fly-by-night builders that disappeared after projects
were completed, leaving homeowners with little recourse. Their investigation,
which delved into at least four counties -- Essex, Monmouth, Ocean and
Passaic -- also uncovered laziness, incompetence and corruption in the
code-enforcement system, the officials said.

Sunday, November 16, 2003. FL: href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-subizhousingfollo16111603nov16
,1,2548047.story?coll=orl-business-headlines" target="x">Senator
Wants to see Homes Better Built
Dismayed by the shoddy workmanship
of Central Florida's home builders, state Sen. Lee Constantine said he
will push in next year's Legislature for tougher construction standards
for new homes.

Sunday, November 16, 2003. NJ [not same case as below]:
of house is unfinished story
The couple alleged the men never meant
to finish the house but planned instead to file for bankruptcy so they
could sell the house at a more desirable price because the property had
appreciated in value. A judge agreed there was enough evidence to justify
such an investigation, but aside from that first victory in court, the
Corbos said they have seen little justice.

Sunday, November 16, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.nj.com/news/times/index.ssf?/base/news-1/106897715281943.xml"
easy fix for builder's default
"The builder default thing is a
real problem," he said. "It's amazing what people have been through, and
there is no remedy in place. It's very easy for someone to register as
a builder. If you bail out of the business, pocket the money and file for
bankruptcy, down the road you can file under a different name and keep
on going."

Sunday, November 16, 2003. NY: href="http://www.wten.com/Global/story.asp?S=1395132" target="x">Home
Building Nightmare: New Scotland Man Says Builders Force Him to Mortgage
his Future
The house was a mess, his wife was about to deliver
their third child and Jim Daniels had to get a roof over their head. "we
were supposed to be in the house by end of September 2002," says Jim

Sunday, November 16, 2003. FL: href="http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/7254804.htm" target="x">Pembroke
Pines man arrested in Miami-dade building department scandal
and county officials made the fifth arrest Thursday in a growing scandal
at Miami-Dade's Building Department, in which numerous new and remodelled
homes received fraudulent county approvals even though they had never been

Saturday, November 15, 2003. FL: href="Pembroke%20Pines%20man%20arrested%20in%20Miami-dade%20building%20departmen
and county officials made the fifth arrest Thursday in a growing scandal
at Miami-Dade's Building Department, in which numerous new and remodelled
homes received fraudulent county approvals even though they had never been

Saturday, November 15, 2003. FL: href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/custom/growth/orl-matzinger09110903nov
09,1,5905313.story?coll=orl-dp-weekend-2-main" target="x">Osceola
settles claim but keeps deal quiet
Deyne Matzinger cashed a $5,000
check from the taxpayers of Osceola County because county building inspectors
overlooked critical flaws in her home. But she is not allowed to talk about
it. Here's why: County officials fear that if the word gets out, they could
be inundated with requests for money from people in similar

Friday, November 14, 2003. TX: href="http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/dispatch/2003-11-14/pols_feature10.h
tml" target="x">Did
Farmers Insurance Keep Secrets From the State?
An internal Farmers
Insurance Group memo, obtained by the Chronicle, suggests the insurance
company tried to keep "troublesome" claim files away from state officials
investigating the business practices of Farmers and other industry giants
for more than a year -- possibly avoiding state scrutiny into how claims
were being handled.

Friday, November 14, 2003. MN: href="http://www1.finance-commerce.com/recent_articles/031112.htm"
faces jail time in case headed for Supreme Court
In case that could
have broad implications in the construction industry, Stillwaterbuilder
John Arkell will argue before the Minnesota Supreme Court today that he
shouldnât have to serve jail time for a building code violation.
But officials will argue that the misdemeanor was serious enough to endanger
the public welfare in Austin.

Friday, November 14, 2003. NY: href="http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/9302.htm" target="x">SPOREY
City inspectors
found that the mold condition in Bianca Jagger's Park Avenue apartment
is "immediately hazardous" to human health, and that there's a ton of it
- 120 square feet in just one room.

Friday, November 14, 2003. NJ: href="http://www.state.nj.us/sci/" target="x">HOME
The SCI has established a special
e-mail address to report information regarding political corruption, organized
crime and waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. All contacts are
strictly confidential.

Friday, November 14, 2003. NJ, National interest:
" target="x">State
crime panel targeting home construction
TRENTON - The State Commission
of Investigation will turn its focus toward the home-construction industry
next week with two days of public hearings into abuses in new-home construction
and inspections in New Jersey.

Friday, November 14, 2003. North Carolina: href="http://www.twincities.com/mld/charlotte/business/industries/7162733.htm"
neighborhood sees prices rise, tax values plunge
The FBI and real
estate experts say that legitimate same-day home flips for such high profits
are extremely rare. And if documents are falsified to get a loan, that's
a federal crime.

Friday, November 14, 2003. North Carolina: href="http://www.twincities.com/mld/charlotte/classifieds/real_estate/7162734.ht
m" target="x">Mortgage
Fraud Sweeps Charlotte
The schemes involve hundreds of home sales,
at prices from less than $100,000 to more than $1 million.

Friday, November 14, 2003. New Jersey: href="http://www.state.nj.us/sci/ncirelease.pdf" target="x">New
Jersey to hold hearings on Home Construction/Inspection Abuses (PDF)
New Jersey Commission of Investigation will hold public hearings on wide
spread Home Construction and Inspection abuses. The hearings will begin
Tuesday November 18 and Weds November 19 at 9:30 in Committee Room 4 on
the first floor of the Statehouse Annex. Please see
for details of this special event.

Thursday, November 13, 2003. New Jersey: href="www.state.nj.us/sci/ncirelease.pdf" target="x">SCI
construction probe/ public hearings to begin
The State Commission
of Investigation will hold public hearings on the wide spread abuses in
the construction and inspection process in new homes.

Thursday, November 13, 2003. FL, National interest:
Investigation Prompts Changes For Realtors
"Today, I guess I'll
have to start recommending more home inspections for new homes," a Realtor

Wednesday, November 12, 2003. Texas Insurance: href="http://www.khou.com/topstories/stories/khou031108_gj_DefendersFarmersInsur
ancePart2.2ef363f1.html" target="x">Should
state reopen Farmers Insurance investigation
Hunter says the state
should reopen that investigation, but that may not happen because last
year the state settled an unrelated lawsuit with Farmers and the Defenders
discovered, buried in that settlement, a promise by the state to drop several
investigations, including those involving the claim files.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003. FL, National Interest:
Compares 2 Local Inspectors
Romboli signed off on an inspection,
giving the go-ahead to pour a slab, the concrete that runs under the whole
house and serves as the floor. He OK'd the inspection without ever walking
on the property...He's the same inspector we found had time to joke around
with builders and workers for more than an hour. He's the same inspector
who's the easiest on builders, a man who passes 99 percent of all inspections
he conducts, while the average pass rate for the 17 building inspectors
in Lake County is only 87 percent.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003. FL, National interest:
,1,4939511.story?coll=orl-home-promo" target="x">Delays,
fixes but finally they move in
Of eight families who allowed the
Orlando Sentinel to follow the construction of their houses this year --
from the clearing of the lot to the final walk-through -- five are now
getting settled in their new homes. One remains dissatisfied; two are still
waiting for construction to finish.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003. KY: href="http://www.kypost.com/2003/11/12/kerp111203.html" target="x">Last
of 32 liens may be released
Ed Monohan, an attorney for 32 cash
buyers of Erpenbeck homes and condominiums, said all the banks have agreed
to release liens they placed on his clients' homes. Erpenbeck never repaid
$5.5 million in loans the homebuilder used to construct the homes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003. FL, National interest:
Recreates Local Inspector's Day
"All the rules in the world are
great but if they're not actually getting done, if it isn't happening,
then the consumer isn't protected," Stock said. [Keep in mind, when reading
this article, that MOST inspection dept's are protected from being held
accountable by "sovereign immunity."--HADD]

Tuesday, November 11, 2003. Texas Insurance: href="http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/business/7234167.htm" target="x">Insurance
Commission Screws Consumers Again. New rules skip insurer rate caps.
told [department officials] months ago that they needed to have a collar"
on insurers' use of credit history, said Powers. "Everyone told them weeks
and weeks ago -- not to mention that the Legislature said they needed to
set a collar. The fact that they're not doing that is just wrong."

Tuesday, November 11, 2003. FLORIDA--National Interest:
ry?coll=orl-home-promo" target="x">Attentive
Buyers Can Thwart Flaws
The Sentinel/WESH survey found cost mattered
little when it came to quality. The cheapest house ($69,000) and the most
expensive ($1.9 million) each had leaky windows and cracking.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003. FLORIDA--National Interest:
Spend Little Time on Homes
It's a building inspector's job to enforce
minimum building-safety rules, making sure your newly constructed home
doesn't leak, blow away or deteriorate too quickly.

Monday, November 10, 2003. FL: href="http://gainesvillesun.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20031109/LOCAL/211090
306/1007" target="x">Under
your home
For Linda Heiser, a North Florida homeowner, the only
thing more shocking than finding a landfill under her living room was learning
she wasn't alone.

Monday, November 10, 2003. NY [same story as in most
states]: href="http://www.silive.com/news/advance/index.ssf?/base/news/1067265918315490.x
ml" target="x">Build
today, gone tomorrow
such strong demand can dampen builders' incentive
to ensure their clients' satisfaction. This has given rise to the common
practice of building, marketing and selling homes under a corporation name,
and then dissolving the corporation once the clients take control of their
homes. In some cases, builders work under so many different corporate names,
it's difficult to keep track of who is building what.

Monday, November 10, 2003. FL, NATIONAL interest:
,915314.story?coll=orl-home-promo" target="x">Builders'
clout keeps regulations weak
It doesn't hurt, either, that the
builders gave more than $453,700 to candidates for governor, the Legislature
and the state Cabinet during the 2002 election cycle, according to the
Institute on Money in State Politics. The money went to 163 candidates,
as well as the Republican and Democratic parties. Construction services,
building materials and equipment suppliers gave an additional $1.7 million,
the institute said.

Monday, November 10, 2003. FL, National interest:
7635.story?coll=orl-home-promo" target="x">Code,
inspections let flaws through [This is not just happening in
too much to do and too little time to do it, inspectors can -- and do --
miss code violations.

Monday, November 10, 2003. FL, National interest:
May Play Role In Some Building Problems
It's no wonder builders
have friends in the State Capitol. Last year, Florida home builders spent
more than $1.2 million on candidates, parties and causes, one-third of
it to Bush's re-election.

Friday, November 07, 2003. Texas (and Nationwide):
rsInsurance.26bef4e6.html" target="x">Did
Farmers Insurance mishandle mold claims?
So what are they talking
about? Farmers Insurance and routine damage claims the company received
from homeowners, many of them because of mold. But it turns out the Defenders
have discovered documents, internal Farmers documents, that now show Farmers
may have botched many of these claims in Texas and even nationwide, during
the so-called mold crisis, possibly jeopardizing their customers' health,
their homes and their finances.

Friday, November 07, 2003. CALIFORNIA: href="http://distressed-homeowner.tripod.com/constructiondefects/"
California Homeowners- Your Legal Rights.
When consumers buy a
new home or contract for additions and/or remodeling of an existing home:
They have the right to safe and sound, quality construction. Regardless,
substandard new-home construction and remodeling is a growing national
problem. Protect yourself!

Thursday, November 06, 2003. FL--National interest:
Could Determine Quality Of New Homes
"We found out that we didn't
have a ventilation system ..."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003. Wisconsin: href="http://www.channel3000.com/news/2575998/detail.html" target="x">State
Passes Home Construction Bill
MADISON, Wis. -- The state Legislature
passed a bill Thursday that expands building code inspection to all new

Wednesday, November 05, 2003. Indiana, of national
interest: href="http://www.reporter.net/cgi-bin/LiveIQue.acgi$rec=15608?lr_story"
problem caused by building code violations, official says
need to be built to building code," he said. "When it isn't this can be
the result."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003. FL--National Interest:
Organize To Discuss Building Problems
After inspecting one house,
neighbors organized a meeting with us to discuss the problems they are
having with their builder.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003. Texas. KB Home: href="http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=110&xlc=1079519"
Home suit awaits state court action
In 1995, KB Home informally
asked the FTC if it could change its warranty to use binding arbitration.
The FTC refused but noted that KB Home could request a modification. KB
Home made no formal request but arbitrarily instituted binding arbitration
clauses. When the FTC got complaints, staff investigated and confirmed
the practice. In December 1999, the FTC warned KB Home and demanded it
cease. KB Home ignored the FTC's pressure until February 2001 when it made
verbal assurances it would stop. Kovacic told Judge Ellison that KB Home
attorney Shaunessy erred when he said the FTC "failed to act when they
have knowledge of what was going on," and "was currently choosing not to
act." Shaunessy retracted that statement after being warned to do so by
the FTC, Kovacic said.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003. FL, National interest: href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-asechousingmain05x110503nov05,
1,5492529.story?coll=orl-home-promo" target="x">Mexican
migrants carve path of hope to Orlando
No one questions their work
ethic, but their paucity of skills and frequent lack of supervision have
resulted in often-shoddy new homes. A yearlong investigation by the Orlando
Sentinel and WESH-NewsChannel 2 found widespread problems in homes built
during 2001. The flaws range from leaky windows, block walls riddled with
stairstep cracks and mold to wavy rooflines, bowed interior walls and cabinets
without shelf supports.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003. FL, National interest:
Finds Problems In DeBary Neighborhood
DEBARY, Fla. -- You might
expected to have a few minor problems with a new home -- maybe a loose
outlet or some trim work that isn't finished, but a wall without concrete
between the blocks?

Tuesday, November 04, 2003. FLorida--NATIONAL interest:
340.story?coll=orl-home-promo" target="x">Top
builders downplay homes' flaws
"There's a lot of shortcuts going
on out there," said Richard Taylor, a veteran framing subcontractor who
said he stopped working for tract builders because the pay was too low
and the pace too fast.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003. Florida--NATIONAL interest:
80 Percent Of New Homes Have Problems
Our team inspected more than
400 new homes and found problems with almost every one.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003. Florida: href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-housingmain04110403nov04,1,846
340.story?coll=orl-home-promo" target="x">BUILDING
HOMES: BUILDING PROBLEMS Top builders downplay homes' flaws
require free registration) Although the number of problems per house varied
by company, the types of faults were universal from builder to builder.
In other words, homes by Lennar or Ryland had the same problems -- such
as major cracking or sloppy interior drywall or mold -- as Centex homes;
there were simply fewer instances of these faults.

Monday, November 03, 2003. TX : href="http://www.housingzone.com/news.asp?topicId=14519&docId=l:58123727"
brings a flood of concerns;
Residents who live along Vogel Creek,
which has a history of frequent flooding, are expressing concern about
a Habitat for Humanity development under construction nearby.

Monday, November 03, 2003. FL: href="http://www.sptimes.com/2003/10/23/Hernando/Creditors_confront_bu.shtml"
confront builder in court
When Strickland asked how he could declare
bankruptcy after collecting $400,000 in gross income in 2003, Ludwig offered
a vague explanation, blaming mortgage companies and subcontractors for
his troubles.

Monday, November 03, 2003. FL: href="http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/7125488.htm" target="x">Panel
that oversees construction wary of overhauling rules
Broward County
isn't likely to overhaul the way it oversees home construction despite
a study, commissioned by the county, that found some new models didn't
meet hurricane standards.

Monday, November 03, 2003. Texas: href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2197947"
Houston builder state's top political donor
DALLAS -- A Houston
home builder who avoids fund-raisers and publicity has donated more than
$5.2 million to state candidates and causes since January 2000, making
him the state's most prolific giver over that time, a newspaper reported

Monday, November 03, 2003. FL--National interest:
35.story?coll=orl-home-promo" target="x">Homes
often are rush jobs, critics assert
The faster they lay block or
drive nails or run air-conditioning ducts, the more money they make. Production
is key, critics say, not quality.

Saturday, November 01, 2003. Texas: href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/2196579" target="x">Money
talks in the great state of Texas
Bob Perry, who isn't related
to the governor, succeeded in winning enactment last spring of a new law
creating a review process for consumer complaints against builders that
is designed to reduce lawsuits against companies such as his. And, last
month, the governor appointed a top executive of Bob Perry's firm to a
commission that will create standards for putting the law into

Friday, October 31, 2003. Texas: href="http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=1076688"
may bolster City Hall bribery case
Home builder Peter Estevez is
negotiating a plea to fraud charges, and the deal could make the businessman
a stronger witness in the government's bribery case against two former
city councilmen.

Friday, October 31, 2003. Florida: href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-asechousingmain31103103oct31,1
,1570669.story?coll=orl-home-promo%20" target="x">Region's
new homes flawed
Yearlong investigation finds almost 80 percent
of 406 new Central Florida homes full of problems. (REQUIRES FREE

Thursday, October 30, 2003. Florida: href="http://www.wesh.com/2investigates/2597032/detail.html%20"
Investigation Uncovers Big Problems. Part I.
The builders who built
these homes refused to be interviewed for this investigation. We even sat
down with their public relations firms and showed them our findings. They
spoke with the builders and returned this response: "There is no way they
(the builders) want to participate," and "they (the builders) don't see
what the problem is."

Thursday, October 30, 2003. Florida: href="http://www.wesh.com/news/2591695/detail.html" target="x">Home
Investigation Begins Tonight
We'll show you county inspectors who
rubber-stamp work without careful examination, builders who fight tooth-and-nail
against making even the simplest repairs then never delivering, and a system
approved by state lawmakers that makes it terribly difficult for homeowners
to get any kind of relief.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003. Florida: href="http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/031029/flw030_1.html" target="x">Orlando
Sentinel and WESH-TV Launch Investigative Series on New-Home
series will air on WESH-TV for 20 consecutive weekdays -- from Thursday,
Oct. 30 through Wednesday, Nov. 26 -- during the station's 6:00 p.m. and
11:00 p.m. newscasts. The Orlando Sentinel's comprehensive, eight-part
series begins Friday, October 31 and continues Sunday, Nov. 2 through Wednesday,
Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 9 through Tuesday, Nov. 11. Coverage on the Web
features video, a searchable database of home problems by builder, photos,
photo galleries and the entire newspaper series -- and is accessible on
both OrlandoSentinel.com/buildingproblems and WESH.com.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003. Oklahoma: href="http://ardmoreite.com/stories/102603/loc_contractor.shtml"
facing charges for embezzling couple's money
Charles Jewell, Healdton,
was charged Friday in Carter County District Court with two counts of
by a contractor. The charges accuse Jewell of "fraudulently appropriating
the sum of $28,539" from Bill and Donna Foreman and later taking another
$2,208.75 from the couple. Conviction carries up to five years in prison
on each count.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003. National: href="http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/10/22/170257.shtml"
Democrats Kill Lawsuit Reform
"Defendant corporations don't want
to be held liable for their misconduct, and if held responsible they want
to pay less money, and that's what it comes down to," said Sen. Dick Durbin,
D-Ill. "That's what this is all about. They want to protect themselves
and limit their liability."

Wednesday, October 29, 2003. National: href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/2188359" target="x">Attack
on consumer reporting, First Amendment
Unless the Supreme Court
overrules the 9th Circuit, consumer reporting on products and health and
safety issues will be severely chilled. The ultimate victims will be millions
of consumers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003. Georgia: href="http://www.wsbtv.com/money/2586980/detail.html" target="x">Clark
Howard's Advice on Home Warranties
ATLANTA -- New home construction
jumped to the second highest level of the year and many metro area homebuyers
were likely offered warranties on their residences. Even so, there are
no guarantees that homeowners won't end up paying for their own repairs
during that first year.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003. Georgia: href="http://atlanta.bizjournals.com/atlanta/stories/2003/10/27/story2.html"
nails local home builders
Atlanta buyers have more complaints about
their new houses -- an average of 14.39 problems per house -- than the
typical U.S. home buyer, according to the 2003 New Home Builder Customer
Satisfaction Survey by J.D. Power and Associates. Atlanta buyers experience
1,439 problems per 100 homes, which tops the national average of 1,372
construction problems per 100 homes built, or 13.72 problems per house,
according to the survey.

Monday, October 27, 2003. Texas. Insurance: href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/editorial/outlook/2177754"
choice for insurance commissioner
Commissioner Jose Montemayor
must show consumers in this state that the Texas Department of Insurance
is not the Texas Department for Insurance Companies. Montemayor should
either stand up for the consumers or step down as commissioner.

Sunday, October 26, 2003. National: href="http://www.sierratimes.com/03/10/22/article_blanton.htm" target="x">The
Seventh Ammendment takes a hit;
A new study claims the ãAmerican
Dreamä of home ownership is being built on a rotten foundation ÷
and itâs beginning to crumble. That foundation, say homeowner advocates
who conducted the study, is a relatively new clause found in more and more
new home contracts ÷ mandatory binding arbitration.

Sunday, October 26, 2003. National: href="http://rutlandherald.nybor.com/News/State/Story/27965.html"
questioned over Jeffords threat [An oldie but a goodie]
A lobbyist
for the Louisiana Home Builders Association was questioned by U.S. Capitol
Police for allegedly making a death threat against Sen. James Jeffords,

Sunday, October 26, 2003. National interest: href="http://sacramento.bizjournals.com/sacramento/stories/2003/05/12/editorial4
.html" target="x">Homebuilders
asked for it
No one buys a home looking for a lawsuit. If the builders
want the lawyers to go away, they should build it right the first

Sunday, October 26, 2003. National: href="http://www.msnbc.com/news/982260.asp?0cb=-419187470" target="x">The
McMansion Next Door
The housing industry says that we want bigger
and bigger houses. But I think theyâre not taking credit for their
marketing skills. Last yearâs annual report for Pulte Homes, one
of the nationâs biggest builders, contains an astonishing fact: if
you adjust for inflation, houses of the same size and comparable features
are the same price today as they were in the 1970s.

Texas Dept of Insurance Picture height=428 width=300 align=LEFT>Thursday,
October 23, 2003.
Texas. Insurance: href="http://www.wfaa.com/localnews/news8/stories/wfaa031022_am_creditscoring.2c
606112.html%20" target="x">Law
aims to protect consumers against 'credit scoring'
"The tax cut
George W. Bush gave me I paid to my insurance company," Houston resident
John Cobarruvias said. "Thanks a bunch."

Thursday, October 23, 2003. National.: href="http://www.sierratimes.com/03/10/22/article_blanton.htm%20" target="x">The
Seventh Ammendment takes a hit;
New study claims arbitration clause
harms homeowners. Seventh Amendment: "In Suits at common law, where the
value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by
jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise
re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules
of the common law. "

Tuesday, October 21, 2003. MN, National interest
: href="http://www.builderonline.com/article-builder.asp?channelid=55&articleid=10
719&qu=penal+code%20" target="x">Minnesota
builder faces jail time over building code violation, pending state Supreme
Court ruling.
In an unusual case, the Minnesota Supreme Court will
rule on whether general contractor John Arkell, president of Carriage Homes,
will go to jail for violating the state's building code on the Southwinds
project, a 38-unit condo development in Austin, Minn., near the Iowa

Monday, October 20, 2003. California: href="http://www.randbhomes.org/index.php%20" target="x">This
website is about our Reynen and Bardis nightmare
We have spent
thousands of dollars on our own geotechnical and structural engineers.
Our engineers reports state that Reynen and Bardis built our home incorrectly.
Reynen and Bardis refuses to stand by their warrantee and have yet to fix
our major structural issues.

Monday, October 20, 2003. Ohio. Ryland Homes : href="http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/10/19/loc_libertylead19.html%20"
homeowners bought lots of trouble
back houses and will pay cleanup
costs, likely to be in the millions. It says it was stunned, too. Ryland
cites a written assurance from an environmental firm, hired by the land's
previous owner and developer, that said the site was safe for

Sunday, October 19, 2003. Ohio. Ryland Homes : href="http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2003/10/19/loc_libertyryland19side.html%2
0" target="x">Ryland
buys back homes, pays for cleanup
Once the extent of problems was
known and 20 families sued Ryland and others, Ryland agreed to buy back
28 homes. Settlement terms are confidential. But according to Butler County
property records through Oct. 14, the company has purchased 11 homes for
a total of $3.1 million.

Sunday, October 19, 2003. Florida. : href="http://www.mynightmarehome.com%20" target="x">New
Website. My Nightmare Home.
I purchased this home in good faith
after being assured it was sound! Within months my daughter and I were
swarmed by Termites and every year since in the spring its the same. The
builder did nothing and still has done nothing his response was call your
Insurance company that's what I paid for.

Sunday, October 19, 2003. NATIONAL : href="http://www.naplesnews.com/03/10/realestate/d954314a.htm%20"
Bruss: Here are five vital terms for home purchase offer
5. Consider
a mediation and/or arbitration clause. Most printed home purchase forms
provided by real estate agents include a mediation and/or arbitration clause.
Smart home buyers consider these clauses very carefully. A mediation clause
in the contract means if a dispute arises between the seller and buyer
after the sale closes, the parties agree to submit the problem to mediation
before suing in court. An expert mediator can often get the parties to
agree to a reasonable settlement, usually at minimal cost during a one-day
mediation. But a binding arbitration clause means the buyer and seller
agree to submit any dispute which might arise to the decision of an arbitrator
who will hear the evidence and make a binding decision. Agreeing in advance
to arbitration means giving up the right to a court jury trial, court rules
of evidence, and the right to appeal, even if the arbitrator's decision
is contrary to law. Agreeing to mediation of future disputes before filing
a lawsuit is usually cost and time effective. However, smart home buyers
don't give up their legal rights when buying a home by agreeing in advance
to binding arbitration.

Sunday, October 19, 2003. NATIONAL : href="http://www.delawareonline.com/newsjournal/business/2003/10/06arbitrationbe
in.html%20" target="x">Arbitration
being forced on consumers
These binding arbitration clauses have

been standard in credit-card and stock brokerage contracts for years, but
they are migrating into the fine print of everyday consumer services, including
cable TV, cell phones, online retailers, gyms, auto financing firms, travel
agencies, summer camps and doctors. [From HADD--and home builders and warranty

Sunday, October 19, 2003. New jersey : href="www.app.com/app2001/story/0,21133,835146,00.html%20"
SCI probe inspections in 3 towns
The Monmouth County prosecutors
office and the State Commission of Investigation are engaged in parralel

Friday, October 17, 2003. N.J. : href="http://www.nj.com/news/jjournal/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1066299021116092.xm
l%20" target="x">Developer
Joe Barry and Janiszewski 'bag man' Byrne charged
of Hudson County's most prominent waterfront real estate developers, Joseph
Barry, has been indicted on charges he paid nearly $140,000 in bribes to
then-County Executive Robert Janiszewski in exchange for $8.8 million in
federal and state loans and grants.

Friday, October 17, 2003. R.I. : href="http://www.thewesterlysun.com/articles/2003/10/15/news/news2.txt%20"
The felony charge stems from
a complaint by Richmond resident Maryann Huntington, who said she was
after hiring Boisclair to finish her basement. The man, she said, left
her basement in shambles after taking $6,710 in checks and charging roughly
$12,949 to her credit card at Home Depot. The entire job was billed to
cost $7,600, but the complaint says Boisclair made out with a total of
$19,659, never finishing the job.

Thursday, October 16, 2003. New jersey: Developer
accused of paying bribe <Kelly16vil@aol.com> A Newark

Thursday, October 16, 2003. MI: href="http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=10320814&BRD=988&PAG=461&dept_id
=141265&rfi=6" target="x">Macomb
Township homeowners complain about builder
Maiani, the homeowners
said, built homes in timely fashion but ignored requests to perform repairs
in a reasonable time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003. Florida: href="http://www.winktv.com/x6151.xml" target="x">Builder
Loses Right to Build Homes in Charlotte County
A Florida homebuilder
has indefinitely lost the right to build any more homes in Charlotte County.
The Charlotte County Contractors Licensing Board voted to remove permitting
privileges for Richard Hawkes, the owner and contractor for Holiday

Monday, October 13, 2003. National.: href="http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/031001/phw059_1.html" target="x">Court
Ordered Notice Program Begins to Owners of Homes and Other Structures in
Class Action Lawsuit About Louisiana-Pacific's Nature Guard(R)
Calif., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- A notice program began today, as ordered
by the Superior Court of California, County of Stanislaus, to owners of
homes and other structures about a class action lawsuit and upcoming trial
against Louisiana-Pacific Corporation ("L-P"). The lawsuit is about the
durability of Nature Guard¨ roofing shingles. Notices will appear in
California, Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon editions of publications, and
be mailed to those who are included with known addresses.

Monday, October 13, 2003. GA: href="http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cherokee/1003/09homesuit.html;COXne
=n&urvf=10660658323110.0676532768938698" target="x">Homebuilder
loses slander lawsuit
A lawsuit backfired on a Cherokee County
homebuilder who sued a customer for complaining that work on his home was
unfinished and shoddy.

Monday, October 13, 2003. Indiana: href="http://www.thejournalnet.com/Main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=113&Article
ID=38962" target="x">County
wants Davis Homes to halt
Residential builder Davis Homes faces
a 60-day suspension on new construction in Johnson County for failing to
complete the required inspection process on five houses.

Monday, October 13, 2003. NY: href="http://www.silive.com/news/advance/index.ssf?/base/news/106544798693420.xm
l" target="x">Frustration
mounts, but is anyone listening?
With residents questioning how
a builder with a history of violations can pull permits for new construction
or wondering why final certificates of occupancy are so hard to come by,
the blame is heaped in every direction.

Sunday, October 12, 2003. National: href="http://www.thehill.com/business/093003.aspx" target="x">Freddie
Mac supporters are lining up
The National Association of Realtors
and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), two of Washingtonâs
biggest campaign contributors, have come out against an administration
proposal to shift oversight of the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs)
from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to the Treasury

Sunday, October 12, 2003. PA: href="http://www.poconorecord.com/local/tjd46024.htm" target="x">Specter:
Speed up state's fraud probe
SCRANTON ÷ U.S. Sen. Arlen
Specter says Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher's office still needs
to move faster in combatting alleged Poconos real estate fraud.

Sunday, October 12, 2003. FL: href="http://www.sptimes.com/2003/10/12/Hernando/Families__dreams_in_p.shtml"
dreams in pieces
Eric Ludwig touted himself as an experienced builder
who could deliver dream homes inexpensively. But most clients got nothing
for their money.

Friday, October 10, 2003. California. KB Home: href="http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/news/6980361.htm"
Transition Team [includes chairman of KB Home]
Eli Broad, Los Angeles,
chairman of AIG SunAmerica, founder and chairman of KB Home and founder
of the Broad Foundation.

Monday, October 06, 2003. AZ--National interest:
tml" target="x">Foreclosure
rate on rise Valley-wide
In the midst of the hottest housing market
in Phoenix history, a record number of people are losing their homes to

Sunday, October 05, 2003. Kentucky: href="http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/local/6905908.htm"
needs more inspectors, homeowners say
The chief inspector, Dennis
Morris, said he and his staff of two have struggled to keep up with the
housing growth and inspect all homes under construction in a timely manner.
Another assistant building inspector will start work next week.

Sunday, October 05, 2003. KY: href="http://www.kentucky.com/mld/kentucky/news/6894680.htm" target="x">Building
inspections are criticized
The homeowners say building inspectors
signed off on their houses when they should have caught problems and cracked
down on the builders.

Saturday, October 04, 2003. MA: href="http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2003/10/04/agency_
under_scrutiny_safety_chief_warns_staff/" target="x">Agency
under scrutiny, safety chief warns staff
State Public Safety
Joseph S. Lalli yesterday held an "emergency meeting" of inspectors and
staff, warning that state and federal investigators probing allegations
of misconduct in the agency's licensing procedures are watching their every
professional move.

Saturday, October 04, 2003. NV, National interest:
Assurance Program Fails to Deliver Quality
Yet two years after
their training program was instituted, the Teamsters have failed to find
one subcontractor who has been certified...

Saturday, October 04, 2003. href="http://www.sltrib.com/2003/Sep/09292003/monday/monday.asp" target="x">
Home, sweet . . . mold: Spores can be a home torment
Toxic mold
can develop even in the desert in the middle of a five-year drought...
"If there's a construction defect, oftentimes that is the underlying cause
of how you get water intrusion and how you get mold."

Saturday, October 04, 2003. KY: href="http://www.wtvq.com/education/MGBJ5J8T9LD.html" target="x">Careless
Home-Builder Ordinance
"...homeowners in Georgetown and the surrounding
area say they need help from the city to target builders and developers
who are cutting corners while constructing homes. Also, homeowners say
building inspectors with the city do not perform a thorough job during

Friday, October 03, 2003. Wisconsin: href="http://www.channel3000.com/wisctv/2491881/detail.html"
Help Fix Builder's Mess
The Reeds wanted a modest retirement home
in a tiny southwest Wisconsin village. What they got was an unfinished
house they couldn't live in...Most of their construction loan was gone,
and so was their builder.

Friday, October 03, 2003. NY: href="http://www.citylimits.org/content/articles/articleView.cfm?articlenumber=1
040" target="x">BUYING
Since last year, scores of New York expats have
joined lawsuits charging that 26 Pocono-area builders, realtors and appraisers
pushed over 200 mostly first-time homebuyers into foreclosure and financial
ruin by offering them inexpensive country homes, then ruthlessly bilking
them with a complicated scam.

Thursday, October 02, 2003. Texas KB Home: href="http://news.mysanantonio.com/story.cfm?xla=saen&xlb=180&xlc=1063741"
change, Mirasol top SAHA agenda
KB built the 247 single-family
homes at Mirasol. The homes came under scrutiny after some residents complained
about poor workmanship, inferior materials and designs that omitted back
doors and windows, making it difficult to observe children playing in the

Wednesday, October 01, 2003. Texas: href="http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2129732"
are not shaped by God
But here, where a homebuilder such as Bob
Perry can give $580,000 to Gov. Rick Perry and then have a top executive
of his company be named to a panel that will formulate hoops through which
home buyers must jump before they sue over defects, construction regulations
are a bit lax