Quarter 4 (Oct - Dec) 2005 Archive

Friday, December 30, 2005. MN; National interest: A home at last For advice on home buying, consolidating debt or foreclosure prevention, contact the Don't Borrow Trouble campaign at 612-312-2020or www.dontborrowtroublemn.org

Friday, December 30, 2005. FL: Regulators look into fraud complaints Some SW Fla. repair crews are overwhelmed, but others are scammers, investigators say

Friday, December 30, 2005. MS, FL: MS contractor accused of house repair fraud in FL Jimmy Claude Heckman, whose last known address was in Pearl, is being accused of taking 210-thousand dollars from a Florida woman to repair her hurricane-damaged home. Authorities say Heckman failed to complete the task.

Friday, December 30, 2005. LA: 600 New Orleans victims might have lived Louisiana authorities are investigating whether laws were broken during construction of the floodwalls, but until now there's been no attempt to quantify how much their failure may have contributed to New Orleans' death toll.

Friday, December 30, 2005. MO: Consumers 'took it on the ear' in '05 The Show-Me State also made it easier for homebuilders to avoid lawsuits for defective work (Senate Bill 168), and harder for homeowners to market their homes without paying commissions to real estate agents (House Bill 174).

Friday, December 30, 2005. TN: Cobb should leave builders His ties to homebuilders’ group pose questions of objectivity, favoritism

Friday, December 30, 2005. OH: Dominion Homes CFO resigns during government investigation Dominion Homes Financial Services has the fourth-highest rate of default by borrowers to whom it issued government-backed loans.

Friday, December 30, 2005. MO: Fired city employee denies allegation Art Genasci, 49, of Wentzville, was fired Tuesday from his job as the city's director of building, as part of an internal investigation into allegations of improper relationships with contractors and home builders, City Administrator Robert Lowery Jr. said.

Friday, December 30, 2005. OH, KY: Judge OK's Erpenbeck creditor deal A federal bankruptcy court judge in Lexington has approved a plan to distribute more than $2 million to creditors of former home builder Tony Erpenbeck, as well as his ex-wife.

Friday, December 30, 2005. NY: Lawsuit filed against builder "We will not grant anymore certificates of occupancy or any permits, and we've withdrawn any outstanding permits until the developer retains an engineer and comes up with a plan to cure the problem which he has created by locating houses within the ground water table," said Doug McGivney.

Thursday, December 29, 2005. NJ: A win for homeowners Despite the agreement by Centex Homes, homeowners like Sonia Giovine remain skeptical, even cynical, as to how their homes will be repaired and when.

Thursday, December 29, 2005. LA; National interest: Gutting, not scrubbing, often needed, group says Contaminated drywall must come out completely, the group said, and furniture, carpeting and other water-logged items should be tossed out.

Thursday, December 29, 2005. NJ: City cites builder in collapse Wood said her situation should be a wake-up call to the city and to developers who exchange safety for a quick buck.

Thursday, December 29, 2005. IL; National interest: Dealing drugs and mortgages Despite indictment, gang honcho secured state license for loans

Thursday, December 29, 2005. NC: Homebuilder sentenced to 27 months in prison for fraud Greg Smith was sentenced Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Graham Mullen, who said the prison term was "necessary to reflect the seriousness of the offense."

Thursday, December 29, 2005. CT; National interest: The Best Deal Possible From the beginning, this proposal had signs of an all-too-common ploy in which a developer uses the state's affordable-housing law to circumvent local zoning requirements.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. MD: Bill Would Raise Fines For Building Violations A Maryland lawmaker said yesterday that he would introduce legislation to increase fines for building violations in Montgomery County and give the county's Planning Board the power to subpoena witnesses and compel testimony in enforcement cases.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. From the Clark Howard site: The 7 Worst Scams The second biggest scam is home repairs. These people get upfront money and then do shoddy work or no work at all in some cases.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. PA: DA's office targeted by builder's lawyer Karoly for a time represented Goldstein, who was the live-in girlfriend of another Karoly client, Brodheadsville builder Dennis Slayton. Slayton is charged with 52 counts of theft for allegedly pocketing home buyers' payments without performing the promised home construction, in addition to drug and assault charges here and other drug charges in New Jersey.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. Oldie but a Goodie: 10 Things Your Builder Won't Tell You From Smart Money.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. National: Home sellers beware: Undisclosed info comes back to bite Disclosure laws vary from state to state.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. National interest: Day laborers' tough choice: rights or job Contractors prefer to hire workers on the corners--and immigrants, in general--because they are likely to accept less pay.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. FL: Charley victim starts contractor referral service By using public records to provide free information about builders, she hopes to help hurricane victims avoid hiring disreputable firms.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. MS: Lamar supervisors reject codes "It's a sad day when a majority of the board voted to enforce subpar construction over the homeowner," Hatten said, who added state lawmakers likely will be more strict when they consider the issue.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005. TN; National interest: Shelby County Home-builders Dropping New Home Warranty MEMPHIS -- Area realtors tell 3 On Your Side that some Shelby County home-builders are dropping the traditional 2-10 warranty on new homes for a lower cost warranty underwritten by the Memphis Area Home-Builders Association.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005. NJ: Light at end of tunnel for ethics reform Ethics In Asbury Park, the City Council adopted an ordinance that bans developers seeking approvals for projects from making political contributions. It is the third anti-pay-to-play ordinance to be adopted in the city.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005. CA: State Contractors Board Slams Shut Illegal Cabinet Operation Steven Lightfoot may find himself facing even more jail time. He was still on probation at the time of his arrest. Lightfoot had served time in Sacramento County Jail and was convicted of numerous counts of (PC288a) Lewd acts with a child under the age of 14.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005. FL: Unlicensed Santa Rosa Contractor Sought The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in locating an unlicensed contractor believed to have stolen more than $200,000 from victims of Hurricane Ivan. Investigators report that Jimmy Heckman, owner of Integrity Building Systems, contracted with local homeowners to complete restoration work of a home that had been damaged during Hurricane Ivan in Gulf Breeze. Heckman does not have a Florida contractors license.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005. WI: Should taxpayers foot bill for Market Square problems? The bank, which is owed more than $5 million on the troubled downtown apartment project atop Market Square Ramp, is seeking reimbursement for the cost of correcting construction defects and code compliance.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005. NJ: 3 On Your Side: New Ally For NJ Homeowners The action was prompted by a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling this year that says that even if a municipality has signed off on a property, it can still issue fines for building code violations at a later date.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005. OH, KY; Recent news on the Erpenbeck homebuilding scandal: Still trying to work the system No doubt the insult and threat didn't endear Spiegel to the family, but in ruling that they didn't rise to the level of creating judicial prejudice, the judge made a good point. The precedent he would set by stepping down could have widespread negative impact. In the future, any criminal who didn't like a judge could start mouthing off in an attempt to create bias and get a new judge.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005. PA: Convicted swindler's retrial petition denied A Clarks Summit builder, [Scott Binsack] convicted of taking an Effort woman's money without building the home he promised her, has until Jan. 14 to appeal a Monroe County judge's opinion denying his petition for a new trial.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005. TN: Codes chief's link to lobby questioned The man who regulates homebuilders for Metro government is also on the board of directors of a local homebuilders lobbying group — a position that could compromise his work, critics say.

Monday, December 26, 2005. CO: HOAs claim victory in arbitration case The Colorado Supreme Court last month quietly let stand a Court of Appeals decision that homeowner associations cannot be forced into arbitration by builders and general contractors.

Monday, December 26, 2005. VA: Couple sues over Lake Anna home But problems with the house's septic drain field, landscaping and foundation have caused the couple one headache after another. Now they're seeking industrial-strength pain relief through a $1.2 million lawsuit against their home builder, Hand Construction Inc. of Fredericksburg.

Monday, December 26, 2005. Columbus Dispatch: Auditors at door of Dominion Homes State and federal agencies are investigating the business practices of Dominion Homes.

Monday, December 26, 2005. U.S.: Sales and marketing materials as warranties In Fortune View Condominium Association v. Fortune Star Development Co., 90 P.3d 1062 (2004), a general contractor was sued by condo owners for damage from leaks. It settled the lawsuit but went after the manufacturer of the EIFS siding system on the theory that in choosing the product to use, it had relied on the brochures from the EIFS company that specified the physical properties of the system.

Monday, December 26, 2005. Japan: Japan gov't responsible for building scam: LDP leader A Japanese ruling party leader on Sunday accused bureaucrats of goofing off for their failure to catch falsified earthquake safety data in a widening construction scandal.

Monday, December 26, 2005. U.S.: Mortgage Servicers Help Avoid Foreclosures What would happen if you got sick or suffered a drastic loss of household income, and then fell seriously behind on your mortgage payments? Think about that, because none of us is immune from patches of rough luck.

Monday, December 26, 2005. U.S.: President gives gift of pardons One of those pardoned, Wendy St. Charles, is a lawyer for a Denver homebuilder, MDC Holdings, parent of Richmond American Homes, The Denver Post reported. St. Charles was convicted on drug charges in 1984 and sentenced to four years in prison.

Monday, December 26, 2005. MS: Building codes spark divisive debate in Lamar A public hearing is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday before the Lamar County Board of Supervisors in Purvis. Supervisor Fred Hatten said the board could vote later in January.

Monday, December 26, 2005. Gulf Coast: Hurricane Andrew sparks new codes in Florida
After surviving a couple of decades with few serious hurricanes, Florida officials and residents thought their state could withstand a major storm. And then came Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Friday, December 23, 2005. U.S.: Feds Again Warn Mortgage Lenders Too Many "Creative" Mortgages Spell Trouble, Regulators Warn

Friday, December 23, 2005. IL; National interest: Home Buyers Need Faith in Builders and Inspectors If a $625,000 house has to be vacated and posted unfit for occupancy nine months after it was occupied, there should be major accountability issues.

Friday, December 23, 2005. FL: Man charged in construction defraud scheme Raymond Joseph Parsons, 41, received $137,834.75 in deposits from at least 18 people for work he wasn't licensed to perform, state attorney spokeswoman Chere Avery said.

Friday, December 23, 2005. SC: Estate faces foreclosure in Laurel Woods The estate of a developer of Laurel Woods, a neighborhood with the highest foreclosure rate in Horry County, is facing its own foreclosure of land in the manufactured home subdivision.

Friday, December 23, 2005. U.S.: Some companies shield executives from taxes At Ryland Group Inc., a big homebuilder based in Calabasas, Calif., CEO Chad Dreier has received about $12 million in gross-up payments since 2000, most of it to cover income taxes on restricted-stock grants. Other top executives at Ryland also get this benefit, amounting to an additional $5.5 million over the past three years.

Friday, December 23, 2005. OH, KY: Erpenbeck won't get new judge Ex-home builder merely 'judge-shopping'

Friday, December 23, 2005. UPDATE; Oregon: Licensed, Bonded, and Unaccountable Stuart punched in the name of Scott Aldrich, the Hillsboro contractor he wanted to hire, and found that not a single complaint had been filed against his company. Reassured, Stuart hired the firm. Twenty-two months later, Stuart is out $364,000 on a construction project he said was marred by delays, mistakes and mold that cost $75,000 to eliminate. Aldrich, who disputes Stuart's version of events, had a history that included seven complaints to the contractors board and a year-old personal bankruptcy in which he tried to discharge more than $170,000 in debts.

None of Aldrich's difficulties could be found on the agency's Web site, largely because the board gave him a license in 2002 to operate under a new company name with a clean history.

Friday, December 23, 2005. OR: Contractors board revising its Web site Recent criticism prompts the construction watchdog to address the shortcomings of its online resource ... Contractors haven't paid about half the $55 million in board-ordered damages over the past decade, The Oregonian found. Some builders with long records of dissatisfied customers and unpaid subcontractors have been allowed to stay in business, and minimal qualifying standards have let unskilled or insolvent builders get licenses.

Friday, December 23, 2005. OR: More Letters to the Editor [Re: Oregon Live's coverage of construction defect problems earlier in Dec.]

Friday, December 23, 2005. OR: Letters to the Editor [SCROLL DOWN TO "BEWARE ARBITRATION CLAUSE," re: Oregon Live's coverage of the Construction Contractor's Board and construction defects problems that were in the paper earlier in Dec.]

Thursday, December 22, 2005. Canada: Insurance scheme brings charges Gordon Garrity, director and president of Residential Warranty Insurance Services Ltd., and his son Michael, of St. Albert, Alta., executive vice-president of Residential Warranty Company of Canada Ltd., are scheduled to make their first appearance in Vancouver Provincial Court on Dec. 15.

Thursday, December 22, 2005. MO: Home Repair Contractor will Repay Consumers The state agreed to suspend the sentence and place Luckey on five years probation provided he pays $176,923.28 in restitution to the 48 known victims.

Thursday, December 22, 2005. IL: MoMax owner guilty Lawyers: Verdict is likely only comfort victims will get "The truth is that it's been a tragedy for everyone who has been involved with Fred Resnick (owner of Northbrook's MoMax Builders)," Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Sophia Lopez said. "The legal system is incapable of making these people whole."

Thursday, December 22, 2005. Japan: Police raid firms in building probe TOKYO --Police raided the offices of construction and architecture firms Wednesday as part of a widening investigation of buildings erected using falsified earthquake safety data.

Thursday, December 22, 2005. OH, KY: Judge not stepping down from Erpenbeck case A federal judge refused today to remove himself from Bill Erpenbeck's criminal case, saying that Erpenbeck's claims of bias amount to "simple judge shopping." The homebuilder - now in prison for bank fraud and obstructing justice - wanted a new judge before a re-sentencing decision in the case.

Thursday, December 22, 2005. NC: Homebuilder sentenced to 27 months in prison for fraud Smith pleaded guilty in September 2004 to three counts of mortgage fraud after a federal investigation showed he and more than a dozen real estate professionals conspired to inflate the selling prices of homes in subdivisions near Lake Norman, north of Charlotte.

Thursday, December 22, 2005. MS: Contractor charged with felony, misdemeanor GULFPORT - A contractor with a history of violating city ordinances is accused of illegally removing trees in Gulfport and repeatedly ramming another man's vehicle.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005. MS: Time for zoning, building codes in George County Without codes and code enforcement there is nothing to prevent unscrupulous developers from coming into the county and throwing together substandard houses that will not hold their value, resist fire, or damage by the tropical storm winds common to this area. It does not take much imagination to understand that shoddy construction can cost both lives and dollars.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005. National: IEQ Review IEQ's news page for this week; articles on mold, etc.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005. Seattle Times: Unreliable builder? Don't stick with him Q: I'm one of several buyers in a new Snohomish County housing development who's having trouble with our builder.

This builder is months behind schedule, won't return phone calls, installs the wrong products and won't change them. He even threatened me when I found a major mistake he'd made in my house and told me I'd better not go to an attorney.

We all feel powerless and have a sense he wants us to back out of our contracts so he can sell our houses for more. What are our rights, and what should we do about this situation? A: ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005. GA: Builder [Brian Epp] killed in dispute with new homeowner The homeowner, who remained at the scene and was questioned by investigators has said he fired in self-defense, Delk said. No charges had been filed as of late Wednesday, he said.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005. AZ: Valley Contractor Facing Attempted Murder Charge A contractor who allegedly shot a client after a home repair dispute turned violent is behind bars tonight facing attempted murder charges. Aaron Cullop is accused of shooting Sun City West resident Alan Clifton several times Tuesday morning inside Clifton's home.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005. NV; National interest: Nevada Court Cancels Big Construction Defect Award lawyers for 200 Craig Ranch Village homeowners said class-action status was appropriate because the damages suffered were predominantly related to concrete pads that did not conform to the subdivision's soil conditions. The homeowners had sought nearly $24 million. [Comments by readers can be posted at the end of this article. --Ed.]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005. PA; National interest: Open space battle not over Representatives for the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg offered no apologies Monday for a late mailing blitz that helped torpedo a referendum on open space preservation in South Middleton Township.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005. FL: Builder faces fraud charges Russell Ash is arrested and charged with grand theft and scheming to defraud.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005. National: Federal crackdown on illegal workers could cripple building, farming inustries "They never ask us for papers, in any job," said Ramiro, who asked to be identified by his first name only because of his illegal status. "Even if you give them a false document, they put you to work."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005. TN: HUD settles sham builders case The builders are Oaktree Homes LLC; Vintage Homes LLC; Bronze-Christian LLC; P&G Capital Partners LLC; Summit Homes LLC; Lenox Homes LLC; Riverbirch Homes LLC; Richard and Milton Grant Company; and Downing Homes Inc.

Monday, December 19, 2005. MI; National interest: Michigan Legislature Joins the Private Property Rights Revolt The legislature overwhelmingly approved a proposed amendment to the state constitution last Tuesday that would effectively negate the high court's decision within Michigan's borders.

Monday, December 19, 2005. AZ: Design errors frustrate some new homebuyers The problems are fixable and potentially liveable, but Sugameli said she's been arguing with the builder [Beazer] since nearly day one to do the work and what is behind some of the home's problems.

Monday, December 19, 2005. NH: Unhappy couple sues over inspection According to a lawsuit in Merrimack County Superior Court, the home's builder, Joseph Harnois of Epsom, and an Auburn home inspector made several false claims about the house that the Ralphs say will cost nearly $78,000 to remedy.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. National interest: KB Home v. RegisterFly.com Complainant [KB Home] having failed to establish all three elements required under the ICANN Policy, the Panel orders that relief shall be DENIED

Sunday, December 18, 2005. Maine: Reliable Builders in Maine [A consumer's site.]

Sunday, December 18, 2005. FL: Builder Faces Fraud Charges Ash, 40, was the owner of Coastal Construction & Aluminum at 1402 E. Gary Road. In October, the Polk County Contractor Licensing Board revoked his contractor's license and banned him from working in the county as a builder after a slew of complaints from former customers.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. IL; National interest: Gang raids lessen crime Today, Grant says gangs are following the pattern of the past Mafia families, which also started in drugs and gradually became more complicated.
The FBI has already seen street gangs moving into mortgage fraud and trying to influence elections — crimes more difficult to detect and disrupt.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. SC: Couple tells familiar tale of Apple Tree The Parkers say their home-buying experience has changed the view they once had of Barnhill and Apple Tree.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. TX; National interest; Mortgage Fraud: Neighbors suspect scam in home sales At least four other homes on a three-block stretch of Mr. Baugh's street in Prestonwood Estates have similar stories. The area has become either one of the hottest zones for eager investors or ground zero for a well-oiled mortgage fraud scheme.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. PA; National interest; Mortgage Fraud: Home retailer owns up Conner is being investigated by state officials for deceptive business practices and misrepresenting facts in manufactured home transactions.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. FL; National interest: Convicted real estate investor could go to jail for life "You can't manipulate the facts so a buyer will qualify for a mortgage that he or she otherwise couldn't get," Dollar said. "You're not helping anyone when you put them in a house where they can't make the payments. I get thousands of e-mails from people who've been shoved into deals they can't afford and the next thing they're looking at is foreclosure."

Sunday, December 18, 2005. National: Brokers said to limit loan fraud crackdown A crackdown on mortgage fraud by federal law enforcement agencies will have limited impact without better self-policing by the home-sales industry, including more information from mortgage brokers about suspicious activity, a top FBI official said last week.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. National interest: Mould as a friend and foe [Article from Nigeria discusse how molds break down materials and can cause health problems and why it occurs in buildings, etc.]

Sunday, December 18, 2005. National: Bigger home trend addds to energy bills Soaring prices for natural gas and heating oil are making big open spaces much more expensive to keep warm. So homeowners contending with higher property taxes and, in some cases, larger mortgage payments, also are juggling bigger energy bills.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. MS; National interest: Strict building codes may solve problem Mississippi building codes vary from town to town and county to county, and they're not required. The Legislature, which convenes in January, might consider a bill that would help determine a statewide building code.

Sunday, December 18, 2005. National interest: Concrete housing shrugs off wind and mold Here's a question for homeowners about to rebuild along the hurricane-shattered Gulf Coast. Why rebuild with standard materials at risk to get swept away when the next storm blows through with a vengeance?

Sunday, December 18, 2005. Japan: Inspection firms financed by builders 9 of 11 agencies found sharingemployees, equity with construction companies Critics said it was unlikely these agencies could conduct fair inspections because they are obviously under the influence of the builders, both financially and in terms of personnel management. [Though this case is in Japan, it is not unlike what happens in any country, including the U.S., when the "fox guards the henhouse." --Ed.]

Sunday, December 18, 2005. FL; National interest: Iraqi homeowner to represent himself in suit against builder He said if Baba can't find a lawyer, he has the constitutional right to represent himself.
And that's what Baba, An Iraqi native with poor English skills, plans to do. It's something that's not done often because of the risk the average person takes when going up against a trained lawyer in the courtroom.
Merritt told Baba he won't get any breaks.
"You're held to the same standard that an attorney is," the judge said. [Many valid cases are never tried due to the homeowner's inability to find a good attorney who will take what amounts to an unprofitable case, assuming they were not prohibited from suing at all by an arbitration clause. --Ed.]

Saturday, December 17, 2005. National interest: Holmes on Homes Home construction and renovation TV show from Canada. Contractor Mike Holmes fixes the bad jobs often left by other contractors. Check site for air dates and channels. --Ed

Saturday, December 17, 2005. MA: Groton builder accused in bond flap GROTON -- Two months after heavy floods ravaged residents' homes, the Groton Planning Board is accusing builder Robert Walker, of Ryan Development, with stonewalling efforts to remedy a faulty drainage system, and possibly posting a fraudulent bond for $126,000.

Saturday, December 17, 2005. CA; National interest: Garamendi Wants Title Companies Investigated "[It's] rather an illegal relationship between the title companies and mortgage lenders, builders and realtors who get an illegal kickback direct to the title company," said Garamendi. "The consumer is unaware of prices, unaware they can shop around."

Friday, December 16, 2005. NJ: These homeowners say they're getting robbed In the months since this controversy erupted, the plight of the homeowners comprising MTOTSA (Marine and Ocean Terraces and Seaview Avenue) who stand to lose their properties has turned Long Branch into the national poster child for eminent domain abuse.

Friday, December 16, 2005. NV: Nevada court cancels big construction defect award A multimillion-dollar construction defects award was erased Thursday by a unanimous Nevada Supreme Court decision that held the case had been improperly given class-action status by a lower court judge.

The high court ruling favors Beazer Homes Holding Corp. and went against homeowners who sued the company after finding cracks in foundations, walls and driveways at their North Las Vegas properties allegedly caused by expansive soil conditions.

Friday, December 16, 2005. OH, KY: Is $34M stolen by Erpenbeck still out there? The former directors of the Peoples Bank of Northern Kentucky have hired an investigator with expertise in money laundering and hidden assets to try to determine whether Erpenbeck money is deposited in a Cayman Islands bank.

Friday, December 16, 2005. NJ: Contractor charged with theft of services East Hanover resident Troy R. Miller was served last week at a job site in Mountain Lakes with complaints charging him with theft by deception and theft by failure to make required disposition of property received.

Friday, December 16, 2005. Okeechobee news: Builder faces charge of grand theft Merle Dee Johnston, 69, was arrested after he allegedly used loan money for personal use instead of completing construction on an Okeechobee couple’s home. The complaint against Johnston also claims the general contractor failed to carry proper workers’ compensation coverage.

Friday, December 16, 2005. DE: Freebery files secret papers in fraud case Something is going on in the federal mortgage fraud case against former New Castle County official Sherry L. Freebery, but only the judge and Freebery seem to know exactly what that is.

Friday, December 16, 2005. FL: Florida starts $6 million program to train construction workers Florida has started a $6 million program to train construction workers after a statewide survey revealed nearly 14,000 job vacancies in the construction industry, Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings announced Tuesday.

Friday, December 16, 2005. VA: Couple sues over Lake Anna home The suit also complains that the home's footers and foundation walls "have not been constructed [installed] in accordance with applicable building codes and ordinances."

Friday, December 16, 2005. OH: Developer's record wiped clean Avon Lake developer Herman ''Bucky'' Kopf's conviction of obstruction of justice was expunged from his record yesterday by Lorain County Common Pleas Judge Thomas Janas.

Friday, December 16, 2005. National interest: Hot housing market boosted mortgage fraud Often the fraud officials have found involved other crime as well, including identify theft and the laundering of money generated from illegal activities, such as narcotics sales, the government said.

Friday, December 16, 2005. FL: Resisting Temptation In TBG&CC Affair The last time attention turned to TBG&CC, charter residents were hotter than a duffer stuck in a green-side bunker over Transeastern's revocation of the widely publicized hook that had snared most of them in the first place, a guarantee of free golf for life.

Friday, December 16, 2005. UT: Victims outraged as developer dodges jail in fraud case Investors in a proposed Midvale luxury hotel and golf course that never materialized took more than a monetary hit.
Along with losing almost $4 million, the 32 victims saw their reputations stained and their careers derailed.

Friday, December 16, 2005. IL: Customers of builder testify in his theft trial Resnick, 44, of Highland Park and his company are accused of bilking dozens of people out of more than $2 million.

Friday, December 16, 2005. National interest: Homeowner Warranties Don't Always Have You Covered But when she called back to American Home Shield to find out about the repair, she was shocked at what she was told.

"We were told that it was not covered. That the item that was broken on the unit was due to the homeowners' lack of maintenance."

But how could Robin have neglected the maintenance when she'd just moved into the house?

Friday, December 09, 2005. National interest: Developers Represented By Top EPA Official Sentenced To Prison Jimmy Palmer, the top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official for the Southeastern U.S., served as the lawyer for Mississippi developers while they were committing pollution violations that caused them to be sentenced to lengthy federal prison terms this week. [See also related article below posted Fri Dec 9, Developers sentenced in wetlands case. --Ed.]

Friday, December 09, 2005. CA: License fraud charged Lightfoot, who has served time in jail for child molestation, was on probation at the time of his arrest. He faces up to a total of five years in prison if convicted of license fraud, illegal contracting and violating parole, said contractors board spokeswoman Pamela Mares.

Friday, December 09, 2005. RI: Contractor Accused Of Stealing From Customer's Checking Account Michael McAteer was arraigned on 19 felony counts, including forgery and counterfeiting, and on a charge of skipping out on court.

Friday, December 09, 2005. MS: Building code battle heats up "This code puts more of a burden on everybody which the consumer doesn't get anything for," he said. Now, Cox and fellow developer Gary Sims are leading the fight against the building codes. They bought a newspaper ad inviting other opponents to a Dec. 27 Lamar County supervisors meeting and public hearing on the issue.

Friday, December 09, 2005. LA: Louisiana Passes New State Wide Building Code On November 29 Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco signed legislation for the state to adopt the International Building Code, a uniform code put out by the Virginia-based International Code Council, that will replace a patchwork of municipal controls that range from strict to none. The legislation, which was passed by the state Senate on November 22, not only requires that new construction adhere to the code, but that the it be applied to home repairs if costs are more than 50% of pre-storm valuation.

Friday, December 09, 2005. National Interest: Developers Sentenced in Wetlands Case The defendants, along with their two corporations, Big Hill Acres Inc. and Consolidated Investments Inc., were convicted this year of filling hundreds of acres of wetlands during the development of a 2,600-acre subdivision in Vancleave, Miss. They sold hundreds of houses on the site despite warnings from health officials that they were installing septic systems in saturated soil that would contaminate the property.

Thursday, December 08, 2005. National: Beware Interest-Only But now it's becoming evident that no one knows exactly how much risk there is, even the lenders.

Thursday, December 08, 2005. OH, KY: Erpenbeck guilty of threats Tony Erpenbeck's stay in a federal prison just grew a lot longer.

Thursday, December 08, 2005. CA: Murrieta denies one condo project, approves another In the wake of a City Council vote that denied a Washington Avenue condominium project this week, Murrieta officials said Wednesday they hope the developer does not pull a repeat of last summer's actions, when the home builder sued the city.

Thursday, December 08, 2005. CT: Building Official's Suspensions Stand Selectmen agreed Wednesday to let stand two separate suspensions of building official Stephen J. Giarratana for insubordination.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. Oregon: Construction Claims Task Force Follow the State of Oregon's Construction Claims Task Force in progress. Two of HADD's volunteers have appeared at the meetings and submitted statements and information to give consumer input. (See also earlier news articles from Oregon Live reporting on shoddy construction and lax building code enforcement.)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. FL: Florida Eminent Domain Case Pits Blue Collar Against Wealth In what has been called the largest eminent-domain case in the nation, the mayor and other elected leaders want to move about 6,000 residents, tear down their homes and use the emptied 400-acre site to build a waterfront yachting and residential complex for the well-to-do.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. CT: Official's Appeal Dealt A Setback The state may order local building officials to reinspect structures if it suspects that its building codes have been misinterpreted, the state attorney general says.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. Louisiana: Home Economics KB Home rides into this situation not as a rescuing knight but as a seeker of open-market opportunity. The company and its partner are already looking for creative ways to qualify disaster victims for new mortgages.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. RI: Contractor sought on 18 counts of fraud A local contractor is being sought on fraud charges after he allegedly drained at least $52,300 from an 83-year-old client's checking account.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. Louisiana: Builders target New Orleans [So far, KB Home and D.R. Horton--Ed] The construction would represent the first major housing investment in the New Orleans region since Katrina struck at the end of August, devastating the city and leading to flooding that destroyed or left uninhabitable thousands of homes.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. More on Erpenbeck: 'The Erp' threats on tape In the most graphic terms, Tony Erpenbeck was caught on tape instructing a would-be contract killer to mutilate and murder the federal judge and prosecutor who were involved in putting him behind bars and to bury alive the children of an FBI agent.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. NJ: Decline and fall of a developer The confrontation illustrated Spalliero's frequent ignoring of governmental rules most others follow.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. OH, KY: Erpenbeck gun-for-hire trial starts Jurors seated for the opening of Tony Erpenbeck's murder-for-hire trial Tuesday heard contrasting views of the former Northern Kentucky home builder - one as a would-be killer, one as a victim.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005. National: Down-payment-assistance programs deserve better regulation Those findings suggest that down-payment-assistance plans aren't always the charitable good deeds that their proponents insist they are. Foreclosure is one of life's most painful financial and emotional experiences, and it isn't "charitable" to help a family or individual who can't afford a home to buy one at an inflated price only to lose it to foreclosure. Home buyers who receive such "gifts" yet are unable to keep their home are victims, not beneficiaries, of this supposedly charitable bounty.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005. National: HADD's Sick Homes Group/Forum HADD moved it's Sick Homes group from yahoo to google recently. Please make note of the new site if you were a member of the group or would like to be. Requires free registration.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005. National interest: Sickness after the storm Besides irritating people and triggering asthma and allergy attacks, mold can trigger infections, be toxic, and cause cancer, said Sam Arbes, a scientist who specializes in mold issues at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005. FL: Pay ethics fine ethically Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty says she's going to pay her $3,750 fine for ethics violations. We hope that means she's going to pay it, plus her undoubtedly hefty legal fees, without help from developers.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005. NJ: Broken hearts, broken deals In the second of a four-part series, the Asbury Park Press examines indicted land developer Anthony Spalliero's background.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005. OR; National interest: Contractors board needs some teeth Will the Legislature's nine-member task force find solutions to these problems?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005. National: Mortgage Fraud Blog Links to numerous mortgage fraud news articles from around the country. New ones posted almost daily.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. National interest: Referral kickbacks take a beating It's one of American real estate's seamier practices, and it's almost impossible for consumers to detect

Sunday, December 04, 2005. FL: State investigates manufactured home dealer The state's probe is the result of a six-month investigation of the Grand Strand's manufactured home industry by The Sun News.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. FL: Manufactured Money? A couple who bought a manufactured home in the Bryant's Landing subdivision in Conway are suing home seller Apple Tree Housing Center, claiming the company's owners inflated the value of their home with a fraudulent appraisal and then deposited $26,000 into their bank account to make it appear they had cash for a down payment.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. NJ: Greed, go-go girls and graft In the first of a four-part series, the Asbury Park Press examines how indicted land developer Anthony Spalliero used his influence with officials to build an empire.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. OR; National interest: Licensed, bonded, and unaccountable None of Aldrich's difficulties could be found on the agency's Web site, largely because the board gave him a license in 2002 to operate under a new company name with a clean history.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. IL: County receives cash for what building inspectors find Given the amount of building inspection violations in La Salle County, it appears many board members were correct that there is some shoddy home-building workmanship throughout the county.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. AZ: Yuma County to hire accountant to investigate contractor YUMA, Ariz. A bankrupt Yuma County homebuilder [Henry Abel] once accused of theft and fraud for taking as much as $250,000 and not doing work could still face criminal charges.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. National: Morgage deduction comes under scrutiny The panel argues that the deduction mostly helps rich people and drags down the economy. The real estate industry says eliminating it will hurt middle-class families and send home prices falling.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. National: Lax lending rules put homes, owners at risk With the housing market cooling and loan demand shrinking, banks and other lenders are turning to nontraditional and sometimes riskier mortgages to bring in more business and make up their lost revenue.

Sunday, December 04, 2005.Elizabeth Dole, then Commissioner of the FTC, Addressed Defective Housing in 1979 Still recommended reading today.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. IN: Tornado Damage Worse Than First Thought In some of the older housing developments in Newburgh, which went up during booms in the 1970s and 1980s, Winge said he has found storm-damaged homes that were built far below the building-code standards of the time. Some houses never were anchored to their foundations, and some exterior brick walls weren't connected to interior walls, as required by laws in place when they were built.

Sunday, December 04, 2005. From the Kansas City Star: Real estate investor convicted The convictions came in the first of two trials anticipated for Brent Michael Barber, who was indicted three times over the last 16 months in mortgage and real estate fraud schemes.

Friday, December 02, 2005. From Motley Fool, an investment news site: Is your home worthless? If you're like most Americans, a substantial portion of your money feeds the cash-hungry beast in which you live.

Friday, December 02, 2005. UT: Racial Bias Boasted On Home Builder's Web Site The Web site of home builder Bigg Homes said, ``Black race population percentage significantly below state average,'' with the ``significantly below'' in bold.

Friday, December 02, 2005. U.S.: Down payment gift mortgages too risky When home sellers indirectly give down payment money to buyers, they jack up prices by about the same amount, causing buyers to overpay.
Such loans have higher default and foreclosure rates.

Friday, December 02, 2005. MS: Grace period for Gulf Coast mortgages ends Like many homeowners around here, Janet Kisling owes a pile of debt on little more than a pile of debris. She has a $1,000-a-month mortgage on a home that is uninhabitable.

Friday, December 02, 2005. AZ; National interest: Construction defect suit shouldn't hurt property values Once these repairs are completed with the proceeds of the litigation, the house or condo often is in better condition than when first sold.

Friday, December 02, 2005. MO: Capital Title owner gets 52 months for looting escrow funds Former Capital Title Co. owner Peter M. Shaw was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison and ordered to repay $3 million for looting accounts that held customer money for real estate transactions.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. MO: O'Fallon Missouri Building Inspector Fired; Allegations Involve Unfinished Inspections, Gifts An O'Fallon, Missouri, city building inspector has been fired for allegedly comprising his city position, with local home builders. Two other inspectors have been disciplined and the city's investigation is being turned over to the St. Charles County Prosecutor.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. MO: News video on home inspections Inspections were signed off on, on homes with significant defects; inspector acquired material for his new home in exchange for signing off on contractors new homes.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. WI: Forum on eminent domain set Tue Dec 6th, University of WI, Madison

Thursday, December 01, 2005. National: Is your private property in jeopardy? One of the more onerous concepts introduced in the master plan is the idea of "Amortization of Non-Conforming Uses." This scheme allows structures that do not meet the new regulations to continue in use for a specified period of time. If the structures are not brought into compliance by the deadline, the owner loses his right to the property, which could be taken by government, without compensation.

No private property within any municipality or county is safe from this new vision of sustainable development.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. NJ: Opinion: Property limbo The use of eminent domain, unfortunately, puts all property owners in real estate limbo.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. MO: Eminent domain panel wraps up work The nine-member group includes attorneys, legislators, a developer, the state's public counsel for utility consumers and a representative of the Missouri Farm Bureau.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. KS: County eminent domain hearings begin tonight "Everyone is welcome to come and we'll be taking public comment," Hodge said. "We will be submitting a recommendation to the county."

Thursday, December 01, 2005. CA; National interest re Eminent Domain issues: Judge: County can force sale of Conway Ranch The county wants to buy the property to preserve the land for agriculture and wildlife habitat and keep valuable water rights out of the hands of developers.

Conaway Preservation Group includes some of the largest homebuilders in the Sacramento region, including developers Steve Gidaro and John Reynen.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. SC: Choosing a builder proves tricky for homebuyers The construction case is just one of hundreds attorney Mike Kelly has seen over the years. Kelly says in the Palmetto State, builders have more money, resources and power than homeowners, "It's not exactly a level playing field." [Check HADD's Free Download link on the HADD home page for more information on choosing builders and resolving complaints.]

Thursday, December 01, 2005. TX: Kyle under fire for housing ordinance Kyle city leaders describe a lawsuit filed against them by the NAACP and Home Builders Association of Greater Austin as "unfounded" and "frivolous."

Thursday, December 01, 2005. PA: Karoly named, not charged Lawyer John Karoly was named an ''unindicted co-conspirator'' Wednesday in new charges filed against Brodheadsville home builder Dennis Slayton.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. TX: Bond set for alleged home builder thief Midland police arrested Jon Whitaker, 37, owner of Homes by Whitaker, on Tuesday for allegedly modifying invoices from subcontractors and over charging his clients for the subcontractors' services.

Thursday, December 01, 2005. From the Kansas City Channel 9 site: Family Battles Home's Toxic Mold Problem Flink reported that the tests showed extremely high levels of three different kinds of mold, starting at the foot of the family's staircase and covering nearly half the house. It is consistent with long-term water problems and not the average indoor mold, he said.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. Tennessee: Caulk Is Cheap Building a house properly costs money. Cheap people don’t like to spend money. Cheap people who use caulk as the only line of defense against water are not building your house properly. In the name of all that is good and decent, I beg every builder to spend the few extra dollars it takes to buy real flashing materials, and a little more to bring in some skilled labor to install it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. Colorado: HOAs claim victory in arbitration case The Colorado Supreme Court last month quietly let stand a Court of Appeals decision that homeowner associations cannot be forced into arbitration by builders and general contractors.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. Texas: Are problem home builders your problem? If you build your own home, it'll probably be one of the largest investments you'll ever make. So who's protecting you if something goes wrong? Over the last few months, the 11 News Defenders have dug through every complaint ever filed with the state's construction commission about builders and remodelers. We've made some astounding discoveries.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. U.S.: Many are unprepared for a downturn "Homeowners in markets where prices drop are in for a hairy ride,"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. U.S.: RealtyTrac survey sees increase in foreclosures On Monday, RealtyTrac, an Irvine-based online marketplace for foreclosure properties, released its October 2005 Monthly U.S. Foreclosure Market Report, which showed an 18.6 percent increase in foreclosures in October over the previous month.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. U.S.: Is real estate fraud getting the greenlight? Bruce Morris, executive vice president, quality control, Saxon Mortgage Services, Glen Allen, Va., said deception has advanced so far, so quickly that, "every portfolio in the country has fraudulent loans in it."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. FL: County officials suspend Sebastian home builder's license until Jan. 31 In a 7-0 vote, the board continued Building Official Buddy Akins' Nov. 15 suspension of Pryor's license through Jan. 31, barring him from getting new permits, and ordered him to begin satisfying the angry customers' complaints.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. OH, KY: Erpenbeck trial postponed Tony Erpenbeck's trial on attempted murder and kidnapping charges was postponed Tuesday for a week after the 71-year-old former home builder collapsed in the Fayette County jail with low blood-pressure Monday night.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. MI: Home builder report gives buyers new tool Called Builder Check, the company utilizes surveys of home buyers to help would-be purchasers make more informed decisions. [HADD would like to get feedback on this from consumers when it is implemented.]

Wednesday, November 30, 2005. TX; National interest: Are problem home builders your problem? If you build your own home, it'll probably be one of the largest investments you'll ever make. So who's protecting you if something goes wrong?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005. CA; National: After California congressman resigns, prosecutors say case is far from over Another co-conspirator appears to be Thomas Kontogiannis, a New York developer.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005. OH, KY: Erpenbeck trial postponed after defendant collapses [Homebuilder]Erpenbeck faces seven counts of retaliating against a federal official and soliciting to commit murder. Federal prosecutors say Erpenbeck tried to arrange for the contract killings of U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel and former U.S. Assistant Attorney Kathleen Brinkman and for the kidnapping of an FBI agent's children.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005. National interest: Six Flags admits defeat in takeover fight Snyder, former ESPN executive Mark Shapiro and home builder Dwight Schar have become directors of Six Flags, replacing chief Executive Kieran E. Burke, Chief Financial Officer James Dannhauser and board member Stanley S. Shuman.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005. NC: FBI agent pleads guilty, to resign from bureau The charges against Blowers, once the chief legal counsel and ethics adviser for the FBI bureau in Charlotte, stemmed from a pair of trips he took to Las Vegas in 2000 with homebuilder David Simonini, a former informant who was under FBI investigation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005. National: Mortgage Fraud articles mortgagefraudblog.com posts new mortgage fraud articles almost daily.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005. National: Roger Cregg Appointed Chairman of Detroit Branch of Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Roger A. Cregg, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Pulte Homes, Inc. (NYSE:PHM), has been appointed Chairman of the Board for 2006 of the Detroit Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Monday, November 28, 2005. CO; National interest: HOA's claim victory in arbitration case The Colorado Supreme Court last month quietly let stand a Court of Appeals decision that homeowner associations cannot be forced into arbitration by builders and general contractors.

Monday, November 28, 2005. FL: Wilma exposes flaws in installation of barrel-tile roofs Poor installation has also been an issue, Dixon said.

"In the great majority of the problems we've seen, technicians did not install [the tiles] properly or there were other problems with workmanship," Dixon said. "That's something that will have to be addressed because the installation technicians don't seem to be following the instructions as they are supposed to."

Monday, November 28, 2005. FL: Builder's problems leave dozens of homes unfinished The subcontractors have filed a total of 110 liens against Designer Homes and the new property owners.

Monday, November 28, 2005. From Insurance Journal: Contractors Slow to Sign Up Under Idaho's Proof of Insurance Law Less than 10 percent of Idaho home builders and contractors have signed up for the state's new contractor registration list that takes effect in January.

Sunday, November 27, 2005. National: Desperate to sell houses, investors are offering cash Investors who helped fuel the U.S. housing boom by bidding up prices are now so desperate for buyers that some are offering cash bonuses in markets such as Washington, D.C.

Sunday, November 27, 2005. TX; National interest: Protecting consumers, promoting business the bureau president did cite a BBB statistic claiming for every one complaint the organization receives, there are twenty problems never reported.

Sunday, November 27, 2005. MO: Botched home repair sparks reform Joplin woman’s grant-funded rehab project goes awry

Sunday, November 27, 2005. AZ; National: New-home lull shifts the rules People showed up and instead of snapping them up like they have been, they said, "I'll take a pass.' That freaked out the builders."

Sunday, November 27, 2005. National: Realtors' bullish housing outlook questioned When real estate agents try to sell a home, they often zero in on the positives big closets, great space for entertaining, lots of potential to expand and hope everything from creaky floors to dated appliances gets overlooked.
It's the same tactic that the trade group representing many home sales agents, the National Association of Realtors, appears to be using right now: It asserts in a new report that a healthy housing market is here to stay and prices won't likely decline.

Sunday, November 27, 2005. IN: Local builder [Woodland Homes--Steven Jahn] enters filing for Chapter 11 The company has satisfactory standing with from the Better Business Bureau, drawing only two complaints in the past 36 months, the bureau reported. But builder Jahn has been the subject of numerous of civil suits. Plaintiffs, including the state of Indiana, have sought to recoup money for everything from supplies and services provided to unpaid taxes.

Sunday, November 27, 2005. National: Green Building Breakthrough Portland Engineering Firm Shows Path to Achieving Platinum-LEED Green Building Certification on Conventional Building Budget.

Friday, November 25, 2005. OH, KY: Erpenbeck tapes ruled admissible The 71-year-old patriarch of Northern Kentucky's homebuilding family was indicted in April for allegedly trying to hire a contract killer to murder Senior U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel and retired assistant U.S. attorney Kathleen Brinkman a year ago. He also is accused of threatening to kidnap the children of FBI agent Timothy Tracy.

Friday, November 25, 2005. National interest: Builders join program to raise bar for new construction The cost would add about $30 a month to a typical mortgage, but with rising natural gas prices, a homeowner would probably save slightly more than that in annual energy costs, Andrews said.

Friday, November 25, 2005. MI: Beware of shady mortgage lenders The growth in home ownership has brought with it an influx of fraudulent mortgage lending practices.

Friday, November 25, 2005. PA: Monroe DA wants Karoly disqualified in theft, drugs case against builder Lawyer John Karoly aided a fugitive client facing theft and drug charges and wrote him checks totaling $170,000 over five months, the Monroe County district attorney says in court documents filed Wednesday.

Friday, November 25, 2005. From The Hartford Courant: Faulty House Prompts Lawsuits Frustrated, the homeowners - and now the state - are demanding answers to how the town's building official, Stephen J. Giarratana, either missed or ignored dozens of code violations in the house, for which they paid $240,000 to a builder later discovered to be unlicensed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005. TX: Builders leave Better Business Bureau Some builders are dropping their membership in the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Houston because they don't want to use the alternative dispute resolution process, a process they agreed to as terms of their membership. Instead, they'd rather disputes go through the American Arbitration Association or the Texas Residential Construction Commission.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005. Oregon; National interest: NAMIC Concerned about Oregon's Single Construction Liability Insurer From Insurance Journal

Wednesday, November 23, 2005. Japan: Blame game starts over fears of losses The scandal over unsafe buildings in and around Tokyo has housing developers, builders and architects falling over themselves to pin the blame on each other for false structural reports.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005. PA: Poconos fugitives taken into custody Slayton, who was charged in April with 52 counts of theft and two counts of writing bad checks for allegedly taking more than $500,000 from customers to fuel a crack cocaine habit, failed to appear for a bail revocation hearing on Oct. 12, which prompted Judge Arthur Zulick to issue the bench warrant.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005. From The Pocono Record: Wanted builder caught in N.J. Fugitive Brodheadsville home builder Dennis Slayton has been arrested in Linden, N.J., but will likely face multiple charges there before being extradited back to Monroe County.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005. CA: Lawsuit against councilmen dismissed "This lawsuit was a perfect example of malicious prosecution," Enochs said Tuesday upon learning of the ruling. "I hope this sends a message to developers that they cannot just file unfounded lawsuits."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005. National: Rate your Real Estate Agent RealtyRators.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. VA: A local couple says their contractor didn't hold up his end of their bargain The Nicholson's paid nearly 52,000 dollars for the beginnings of construction; Newschannel 10 has learned DeLong never paid the people who actually did the work.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. FL: Fight over Laurel Lakes homes gains momentum Builder's lawyer informs owners they are locked out of their houses

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. KY: Robert Reid's Shady Dealings Earn Him 'Hall Of Shame' Induction Since we shared Connie and Tom's story, the Troubleshooter department received 22 different complaints about Reid.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. WI: Ex-builder faces sentencing in fraud The former chief executive officer of homebuilding firm Bielinski Brothers Builders Inc. awaits sentencing Jan. 20 in federal court for what prosecutors have called southeast Wisconsin's biggest fraud case.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. FL: Troubling Record For Trusted Name In Home Repair Home Depot is a name many homeowners trust for home repair, but an Action 9 investigation has exposed the troubling record of Home Depot's roofing contractor after last year's hurricanes. Action 9's Todd Ulrich found homeowners stuck with leaky roofs that fail basic inspections.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. AZ: Construction scams on the rise Any type of building or repair work that requires a building permit, or will cost more than $750 in materials and labor, requires by law a license.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. LA: First mandatory statewide building code likely to pass Louisiana's first mandatory uniform statewide building code is likely to be approved today, House and Senate sponsors predicted Monday night.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. National: Hedging your bets Worried that the value of your home may fall?
Go ahead, bet on it. Or if you don't, maybe your mortgage holder will.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. National: WITH REAL ESTATE, THIS TIME IT REALLY IS DIFFERENT To their own hazard, the public has largely accepted arguments from partisan real estate boosters justifying absurd prices as resulting from legitimate market fundamentals

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. PA: Houses planned near super fund site The housing project is located south of the Moyer Landfill, between the landfill and a tributary of the Skippack Creek

Tuesday, November 22, 2005. National: Affordable housing goes green Such homes may cost more to build, but cities are encouraging them for their long-term savings.

Monday, November 21, 2005. National: What's behind the boom However the current boom ends, longer-term forces are reshaping the housing industry. Here is a look at some of them.

Monday, November 21, 2005. AZ: Ariz. sues builder in bias case The civil suit, brought by Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, asserts that William Lyon Homes Inc. refused to sell Henry and S. Marie Gates a home in a Surprise subdivision reputedly because they are Black.

Monday, November 21, 2005. NY: Shame on You; Affordable Housing Nightmare Bronx, Harlem Owners Up In Arms Over Local Builder's Failure To Comply

Monday, November 21, 2005. NJ: Residents: Builder left homes in bad condition Some Farrington Ridge residents brought a laundry list of complaints to the Old Bridge Township Council Monday, demanding that a builder be forced to correct problems with their homes.

Monday, November 21, 2005. MO: A.G. waits for more complaints on builder As the Missouri Attorney General’s Office waits to see whether it receives more complaints in its case against Ed Butler, the contractor now faces a local felony charge in relation to his construction work.

Monday, November 21, 2005. National: National Arbitration Forum Decision (Link to decision from KB story posted same day, below.)

Monday, November 21, 2005. AZ; National: Brave New Home 2,000-square-foot model of energy efficiency, where 18-inch rammed-earth walls blunt both noise and temperature spikes; the Robins' utility bills average around $40 each month.

Monday, November 21, 2005. National: Mother Earth News on Green Building numerous articles

Monday, November 21, 2005. National: Green Building Busting a key economic myth, a leading Portland building engineering firm is publishing an illustrated guide to achieving a top-rated green building on a conventional budget.

Monday, November 21, 2005. National: Green Building site (not an endorsement by HADD) Numerous links about "green building."

Monday, November 21, 2005. National: Homeowners with Polybutylene (PB) Plumbing Could Get Free Replacement For homeowners who purchased their house, mobile home, or multi-family structure after August 12, 2002, this may be the first time they are eligible to participate in this program.

Monday, November 21, 2005. WI: Betrayal tests Bielinski brothers and their business Second of two parts

Monday, November 21, 2005. WI: Former homebuilding exec faces sentencing in massive fraud case MILWAUKEE - The former chief executive officer of homebuilding firm Bielinski Brothers Builders Inc. awaits sentencing Jan. 20 in federal court for what prosecutors have called southeast Wisconsin's biggest fraud case.

Monday, November 21, 2005. CA; National interest: New Homeowners Rolling the Dice on State's Rivers A state Department of Water Resources report in January warned that most of the valley's development is occurring on land susceptible to flooding and that land-use decisions are sometimes based on outdated or inaccurate information about the flood threat.

Monday, November 21, 2005. U.S.: Agency Cools Off on Insulation Rule The Energy Department issued a statement on Sept. 28, the day before a key vote by a code-setting body, saying it could not support more stringent "R-values" -- which measure the resistance of insulation to loss of heat -- because there is "still inadequate data on the cost and implementation" of the increase.

Monday, November 21, 2005. MN: Woodbury still absorbing shock of water damage Half of the city's stucco homes built before 1999 -- and some built later -- fell victim to water, a life sustainer that turns nasty when it gets inside walls, turning the structures to mush.

Monday, November 21, 2005. FL: Problems drive homeowners to revolt Is the Southwest Florida real estate market so hot that home builders and developers just don't care anymore and buyers can't be bothered with due diligence?

Monday, November 21, 2005. WI: A traitor in their house Complex fraud scheme ends with millions missing.

Monday, November 21, 2005. AZ; National interest: Home Warranty Warnings As thousands of properties change hands across the valley, millions of dollars are being spent on Home Service Contracts - or Home Warranties - but unsuspecting home buyers are discovering this protection against a failing water heater, dead AC or leaky sink can be a false sense of security.

Monday, November 21, 2005. LA: Building code push reveals divisions Gov. Blanco proposed lawmakers adopt a strong, uniform set of construction standards so buildings can better stand up to hurricanes and so insurance companies will cover homes rebuilt after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Monday, November 21, 2005. National: KB Home trying to take away our freedom of speech Recently KB Home attempted to take down KBHomeSucks.com by filing an ICANN Dispute to try and get the domain name “kbhomesucks.com” assigned to them. However they failed to prove the required 3 elements to the panel. Therefore, the panel DENIED KB Home’s complaint...

Thursday, November 17, 2005. KY: Home Builder Due In Court For Faulty Construction For four months, we've been on the lookout for Loren Massie, the former owner of Kalcon Inc.

Thursday, November 17, 2005. MA; National: HUD and FDIC settle case against mortgage company The Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. have reached a $150,000 settlement with one of the largest mortgage companies in New England for alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.

Thursday, November 17, 2005. CO; National: 11 title agencies busted by state The division of insurance closes down the "sham" companies as part of a probe into kickbacks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005. Letter to Editor, Chicago Trib's report on Mortgage Fraud: Mortgage loans that invite fraud Subprime lending is a half-trillion dollar industry. Even in the face of thousands of acts of fraud and the many thousands of foreclosures generated by it, most subprime lenders are profiting handsomely.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005. FL; National interest: Don't turn over wetlands permitting to Florida Developers pushed a bill through the Legislature last spring that ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to start taking over wetlands permitting from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, initially for projects that cover 10 or fewer acres. More than 90 percent of all wetlands-destruction requests affect 10 acres or less. After the bill passed, the St. Petersburg Times got records showing that a Florida Home Builders Association lobbyist, Frank Matthews, helped write the bill.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005. IN: Noblesville OKs 334-home project over objections Still, some neighbors remained unhappy with Twin Oaks, citing concerns about KB Homes, the project's density, and its impact on local roads.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005. OH, KY: Erpenbeck wants new judge in resentencing Erpenbeck, a former Northern Kentucky home builder who cheated banks, homebuyers and subcontractors before his company collapsed in April 2002, made the request today in federal court in Cincinnati. The U.S. Attorney’s office, which prosecuted the $34 million fraud case, questioned the need for Senior U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel to recuse himself.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005. AZ: It seems promise doesn't amount to a hill of beans According to the contract, the board sold the land, valued by the county assessor at $1 million, for $150,000 and secretly agreed to support Sasser's quest to build six houses on the hill.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005. NC: Lewis Homes Failed To Return Earnest Deposit At that time, the builder said he was millions of dollars in debt and had filed bankruptcy.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005. TX: Escrow can cause homeowners big problems The Lights have taken their case to court. They are among more than 70 Tarrant County, Texas, couples and individuals suing their lender, KB Home Mortgage Co., saying it negligently underestimated the amount of property tax that the homeowners needed to pay into escrow accounts to pay future taxes and insurance premiums.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005. IN: Subdivision plan faces key vote Neighbors have attacked the development's builder, KB Homes, citing complaints against KB in other states. Kreutz and representatives of KB have defended the company's reputation, saying the number of complaints has been minimal. [See related article, "Residents balk at project's builder, Oct: http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051027/ZONES01/5102... ]

Tuesday, November 15, 2005. National: 3 Worst reasons to buy a house Buying a home . . . that's what everyone says you should do, right? But it’s an increasingly expensive and risky proposition. Make sure you buy for the right reasons.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005. National: How helpful are new flood zones? Expanding them means stricter building codes, but critics say new flood zone regions may encourage construction.

Monday, November 14, 2005. U.S.: Inman Real estate news New articles are free to the public the day of posting.

Monday, November 14, 2005. TX: Mold suit ends in failure In the Dentlers' case, Judge Kathleen Hamilton, of the 359th state District Court, ruled the family could not mention that flooding had caused mold in the house and their medical records were not admissible during the trial.

Monday, November 14, 2005. FL: Governments set to discuss laws to address housing crisis Local governments are poised to begin debating proposed laws aimed at affordable housing.

Monday, November 14, 2005. PA; National interest: Save the right to criticize Half the states in the country have enacted anti-SLAPP laws that typically require a quick disposition by the courts, provide general immunity to comments made by citizens, and allow for recovery of attorneys' fees and costs if the lawsuit is determined to be a SLAPP.

Monday, November 14, 2005. Canada: Ontario mom faces $2 million lawsuit A stay-at-home mother of three who created a website to alert the government about allegedly dangerous environmental problems in her southwestern Ontario neighbourhood is facing a $2 million libel suit by one of the developers she reported on. Some U.S. states have seen so many libel or defamation lawsuits that legislation has been created to help people take on cases against more powerful opponents.

The legislation is typically called anti-SLAPP, an acronym for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation.

Monday, November 14, 2005. Canada: Ont. developer sues woman over website A southern Ontario woman who was complimented by the government for the environmental reports on her website says she has a good defence against a libel suit from a developer.

Sunday, November 13, 2005. National: Down payment 'help' can hurt Cost of charity may be foreclosure, report says

Sunday, November 13, 2005. TN: Builder well-liked by the powerful Handsome, charming, affable, he is known by friends to be big-hearted and generous, yet plainly ambitious. Even when a history of drug convictions landed him in prison he found opportunity, meeting City Councilman Rickey Peete, who served a term for extortion and now is one of Hyneman's biggest supporters.

Saturday, November 12, 2005. OH; National: Contractor Construction Scams After 22-years Capricorn Construction a Toledo business has gone under. Now homeowners could be stuck with worthless warranties and may have to shell out thousands for repairs. Sometimes a business just fails, but the construction/ remodeling industry is one of the most fraudulent in the country.

Saturday, November 12, 2005. National: 5 Reasons Not To Buy An Extended Warranty Scroll down to: "Warranty Work May Be Unreliable," re: home warranties

Saturday, November 12, 2005. National: Builders offer sweet deals as market cools Offers of reduced closing costs or other incentives tied to using the builder's preferred lender should be examined closely and compared with what might be available from other mortgage lenders. ... Sue Ko, a real estate agent in Arlington, Va., who received the e-mail, says the Pulte offer "was one of the most incentive-heavy ones" she has ever seen. But Jim Zeumer, Pulte's vice president of investor and corporate communications, says it's all smoke and mirrors. "In terms of price, you're getting a plasma TV, but the rest of the 'free' listings are all standard in the house," he adds.

Saturday, November 12, 2005. NJ; National interest: Environmentalists Fault DEP Chromium Cleanup Report Environmentalists claim the DEP has allowed politically connected developers to "cap" properties and build on them, rather than take a more permanent approach and fully remove toxic chromium from sites before construction.

Saturday, November 12, 2005. National: Follow the housing insiders' money The last time homebuilder insiders were this aggressive was May 1991, when they sold off 3.1 million shares in one month. This was followed by a 27 percent decline in homebuilder stocks over the next four months.

Saturday, November 12, 2005. FL: Narrow ethics ruling lets McCarty off too lightly The Florida Commission on Ethics staff was right to conduct a more thorough probe of Palm Beach County Commissioner Mary McCarty's cash gifts from developers after The Post pointed to shortcomings in the original probe two months ago. Unfortunately, rather than recommend an appropriate penalty, the new review created a road map for politicians and developers to get around state ethics law.

Friday, November 11, 2005. National: Do Bubbles Bother Bernanke? Study Cites Recent Trends That Signal Housing Bubble.

Friday, November 11, 2005. FL; National interest: Don't get nailed Desperate homeowners make great targets for con men

Friday, November 11, 2005. FL; National interest: Wetlands win reprieve from federal judge The ruling may have a major impact on developers seeking Corps of Engineers special permits allowing them to destroy wetlands.

Friday, November 11, 2005. National: Final EPA Rule Provides Liability Protection To Encourage Redevelopment Of Brownfields "The final rule, promulgated Nov. 2, will provide crucial liability protection for those who seek to rehabilitate and redevelop brownfields." [Brownfields are land that is contaminated.]

Friday, November 11, 2005. LA: Senate panel approves building-code bill New homes in southern Louisiana parishes most vulnerable to hurricanes would have to be constructed with wind-resistant materials under a bill approved Thursday in the Senate Commerce Committee.

Friday, November 11, 2005. OH, KY: Victims appalled at Erpenbeck interview The Erpenbeck Company's collapse victimized hundreds of people in the Tri-state. They were angry then -- and they're still mad -- especially after seeing his exclusive interview with 9News.

Friday, November 11, 2005. National interest: Housing Market Cooling, Data Say Lynn Edmonds and his wife, Sebnem, could barely wait to sign on the dotted line back in May when they committed themselves to pay $796,000 for a three-floor townhouse under construction in Alexandria's Cameron Station.

But since May, the sales prices for the development have fallen -- and units like the one the Edmonds bought are now being sold for $699,900. The Edmonds are facing the prospect of a $100,000 loss in value before they even walk through the front door.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. U.S.: The Fading Housing Frenzy Luxury Home Sales Slow, Speculators Look Gulfward

Thursday, November 10, 2005. U.S.: Toll Bros. insiders sold stock; building forecast down Insiders at Toll weren't the only home-building industry insiders selling. Home-builder insiders sold 4.8 million shares of stock worth $333 million in July, says Mark LoPresti, senior quantitative analyst at Thomson Financial. That's the most stock sold by home-builder insiders since 1990, he says.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. National interest: Oversight, Out of Mind A Reservoir Hill Couple’s Bad Experience With a Federal Loan Program [HUD] Could Be the Tip of the Iceberg.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. FL: Miami-Dade task force to hunt fraudulent contractors Miami-Dade County officials plan to go after unscrupulous contractors who try to prey on victims of Hurricane Wilma.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. MO: Indictment alleges real estate firm stole $2.8 million from HUD A federal grand jury indictment accuses St. Louis businessman Novel Brown of stealing $2.8 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through a complicated financial shell-game.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. NJ: Greenblatt gets sentencing delayed In the case at the U.S. District Court in Central Islip, N.Y., Greenblatt pleaded guilty last year to defrauding the Department of Housing and Urban Development by inflating the price of real estate sales.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. MO: Felons now can't be bail bondsmen Cox, the bail bondsman in prison, pleaded guilty in federal court in St. Louis last year. He admitted that, while he was a Florissant police officer, he made a fraudulent arrest of a woman at the request of a real estate developer involved in a dispute with her. Cox is serving 14 months in a prison in Florida.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. PA: Attorney sentenced in housing fraud case U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Marino said Sedor was the settlement agent for most of the Barwood home sales. He was convicted of defrauding U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s mortgage insurance program by disbursing loan proceeds knowing that the seller/developer was providing home buyers with their down payment and closing costs, which is in violation of HUD regulations.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. MO: Sunset manor couple sue Novus for fraud, breach of contract A Sunset Hills couple have sued Novus Equities, Inc. in St. Louis County Circuit Court for breach of contract and fraud.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. MD: Letters: Golf course builder's claims on size of lots is challenged Does Beazer Homes suddenly believe that there has been a huge drop in residents' IQ's ("Beazer drives into rough with housing plan on golf course," Oct. 27)? ... An elementary school student with a ruler could see that the lots in the county are clearly larger.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. MA: Letter: Disagrees with 40B proposal Mr. Kuehn in his Nov. 3 letter "Respects to letter to the editor" insinuates that his endeavors as president of Citizens Housing (CHAPA) and role in advocating for the current 40B Brattle Street project will provide housing for the poor of our community. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. NY: Spitzer Targets Unscrupulous Home Improvement Contractors "Home improvement contractors who engage in unscrupulous and illegal business practices that victimize consumers face aggressive legal action by my office," AG Eliot Spitzer said.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. National: Housing: Red Alert, or Wake-Up Call? Home prices, too, have clearly gotten out of whack. They've risen far faster than family incomes. People have been able to buy because mortgage rates have been low. But now rates are rising again. And with the Federal Reserve determined to squelch inflation, they're likely to keep going up well into 2006.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. National interest: It's time to accept housing's reality Denial n. A defense mechanism that denies painful thoughts.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. Ohio: Bill Erpenbeck Prison interview His 270 victims have shed plenty of tears, but now it's Bill Erpenbeck who has everything to cry about.

Thursday, November 10, 2005. From the Cornell Daily Sun: Entrepreneurship and Ethics If greed is what counts, who better to honor than Bob Toll?

Thursday, November 10, 2005. AZ: Real Estate Investigation "Rural Arizona is not the only place you'll find people experiencing real estate nightmares. In fact, our investigation has found this is a systemic problem taking place in just about every part of the state."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005. National interest: Mortgage Fraud The new street hustle

Wednesday, November 09, 2005. U.S.: Home builder: Demand fading Given the company's high profile, the admission from Toll Bros. CEO Robert Toll that demand was "softening" pretty much "across the board," and that home prices were likely to "moderate," sent shock waves through an industry already on edge amid growing concerns that the massive multiyear price run-up is nearing an end.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005. From Inman.com (subscription): DOJ sues down-payment-assistance company The U.S. Justice Department has filed a civil injunction lawsuit seeking to bar West Dundee, Ill.-based Partners in Charity from making false and misleading statements in promoting its down-payment-assistance program, the department said today.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. Canada: Discussion Group Discussion group re Canadians for Properly Built Homes

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. Canada: Canadians for Properly Built Homes Canadians for Properly Built Homes is calling for the Federal government to revise the National Building Code to help ensure that all homes are safe, healthy, durable and energy efficient.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. U.S.: BREAKING MOLD'S HOLD ON YOUR HOUSE If it's porous, it has to go.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. U.S.: Concrete-based homes hold up better in hurricanes, cut energy costs There was only minor damage. The roof lost about a quarter of its shingles and about three sheets of plywood from a roof corner, letting a little rainwater into the room below, he said.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. U.S.: Gulf Builders Called Lax on Storm Standards Developers in Gulf Coast communities that were severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina failed to meet standards that could have protected homes from the storm's rage, according to a preliminary report issued by a Colorado State University professor and a team of engineers from around the country.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. IL: Illinois Window Installer Fleeced Homeowners, State Charges “James William Murray knew that his business was in financial trouble, but instead of dealing honestly with his financial problems, Murray played a ‘shell game’ with his customers’ down payments,” Madigan said. “In the end, both his creditors and the state of Illinois caught on to this illegal game.”

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. LA: Post-Katrina mold has health experts worried According to Lichtveld, mold remains the one major area of concern. "The advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is that if you go home, you need to use gloves and masks if you are going to remove the mold," she says.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. NV; National interest re: failure of "right to repair laws": Building toward a solution "The law gives contractors and subcontractors full discretion and they typically don't make full repairs and repairs are made without input from the homeowner." [Right to repair laws are not working because they don't discourage shoddy construction--Editor.]

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. LA: Building code changes advancing The Legislature took the first step Monday toward establishing statewide construction standards aimed at strengthening homes to withstand hurricane-force winds.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. National: Endangered Species Act in cross hairs The House bill would require, for example, that the government pay developers if the act prevents them from building, and it would eliminate the government's ability to designate a creature's "critical habitat" where building is forbidden.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. National: Federal tax panel targets mortgage deductions on expensive homes The panel's report also states that the original intent of the mortgage interest deduction was to help people buy their first home. Today, however, it's being used by taxpayers buying luxury residences and vacation homes, and the deduction for home-equity loan interest is encouraging people to use their homes as a source of tax-preferred financing for consumer spending.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. MN: Frame that super-sized house with a sense of proportion The builder reported that it takes 40 minutes to walk around the house shutting off all the lights. No wonder the cost of energy is exorbitant--

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. FL: Alachua subdivision runs off the tracks Construction delays like the ones plaguing Carter's home, along with a host of alleged code violations, have led the city to forbid John Curtis Jr. and the American Construction Development Co. from building any new houses in the subdivision until certain conditions are met.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005. LA: Shortcuts alleged in building levees Several of the levees that flooded New Orleans may have been built with shoddy materials or by contractors who took shortcuts to save money, an investigator told Congress Wednesday.

Monday, November 07, 2005. NC: Fighting to fix their homes She's one of dozens of homeowners in at least two suburban Charlotte communities fighting their builder, Cambridge Homes, over vinyl siding problems.

Monday, November 07, 2005. MO: Two Men Sentenced in Lee's Summit, Missouri Mortgage Fraud Two men were sentenced in connection with a Lee’s Summit, Missouri mortgage fraud scheme alleged to have involved approximately $18M in fraudulent loans.

Monday, November 07, 2005. PA: PA Attorney sentenced in HUD fraud Sedor was accused of participating in mortgage fraud in connection with a 180-house development called Barwood Estates located near Dover, Pennsylvania.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. CA: Manhattan Beach family wins $22.6 million suit A representative for a consumer attorney group said the Oct. 19 settlement was the largest in the country for a mold case involving a single-family home. Other businesses that previously settled included various home builders, including window installers and foundation layers.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. PA; NJ; National interest: Rules and customs for buying real estate differ between Pennsylvania and New Jersey HADD Editor's note: the article describes the builder-promoted legislation known as "right to repair," "right to cure," or "notice and opportunity to repair (NOR)" as "Requirement to repair," which makes it sounds like consumer protection. Beware...read your state's pending legislation, don't just accept that these laws are good for consumers. They're good for the builders who promote them.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. National: How Long Can Consumers Keep Economy Going? You've been keeping the economy churning during the last five years, spending enough to make up for sluggish corporate spending. When you got tax cuts, you quickly spent them. Rising housing prices let you take out second and third mortgages, using your house as an ATM.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. SC: S.C. amends codes to require stronger structures South Carolina updated its building codes this year to strengthen homes to withstand hurricanes and earthquakes.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. NC: Byrd to step down from board Byrd said that homebuilders and other large business interests are having too much influence in shaping the future of Dare County.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. MD: Townhouse Development Called to a Halt The stop work order at the 59-unit Seaton Square, a Ryan Homes development near Route 29 and Lockwood Drive in White Oak, is part of a review of new construction conducted by the county departments of Park and Planning and Permitting Services.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. FL: Did faulty installation or winds blow away window protection? In at least one newer neighborhood, he says he has seen shutters improperly installed -- without city inspectors catching the mistakes.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. National interest: Many buyers face hurdles to happy homeownership Only by close examination and explanation can it be determined that the warranty applies to the materials used and not to their application in the structure. Thus a window may have a warranty but the seal around the window, which in many cases was left off, is not guaranteed after the first year. Should moisture intrusion not be evident until the second year, the builder may claim that they have no obligation to the homeowner, even though the problem was the result of a faulty building practice.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. FL; National interest, EXCELLENT article: Can you trust your truss? Many take for granted the roof over our heads. But do you know how the trusses were handled before they were put up on your house?

Sunday, November 06, 2005. TN: Hyneman a 'friend' indeed to officials Multimillionaire developer Rusty Hyneman has provided these and other perks to local politicians while on a remarkable run winning approval for his often controversial land developments.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. MN; National interest: If home-builder investors are right, bubble has burst The stock prices of most national home builders set their 52-week highs in late July and early August. Since then, shares have fallen faster than trees felled for subdivisions bearing grandiloquent monikers.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. MO: Contractor appeals OSHA citations over building collapse The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Springfield contractor Morelock-Ross Builders Inc. $3,600 in September, claiming a building that collapsed in April was not designed to support a second-floor concrete slab that was being installed and that the company failed to tell workers to stay out of the building during the concrete pour.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. LA: To live below sea level ask the Dutch Flood prevention is not as high a priority in the United States as it is in the Netherlands.

Sunday, November 06, 2005. LA: Levees' Construction Faulted In New Orleans Flood Inquiry Investigators yesterday added a possible new explanation for some of the flooding that devastated New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: contractors who may have skimped on construction materials in building the city's floodwalls and levees.

Friday, November 04, 2005. National: How to spot a shabby remodel The owner had poured thousands of dollars into refinishing the hardwood floors, replastering the walls and updating the kitchen. What she hadn't done was fix the home's foundation, floor joists or beams.

Friday, November 04, 2005. National interest: Regulators Slap Laredo National Bank The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has taken action against the Laredo National Bank, Laredo, Texas, and its subsidiary, Homeowners Loan Corporation (HLC), for improper lending practices.

Friday, November 04, 2005. National interest: Use these tips to head off any potential problems with mold Just when you thought it was safe to lay new carpet.

Friday, November 04, 2005. National: House Vote Counters Eminent Domain Measure WASHINGTON - Conservative defenders of private property and liberal protectors of the poor joined in an overwhelming House vote to prevent local and state governments from seizing homes and businesses for use in economic development projects.

Friday, November 04, 2005. NJ: Home repair firms face state fraud suits The lack of registration or licensing has made it difficult to crack down on unscrupulous or incompetent contractors, but the large number of complaints and the dollar amount involved prompted the state to act on these seven cases, Ricketts said.

Friday, November 04, 2005. NJ: Homeowners victimized by contractors Suit contends contractors 'literally left holes over the heads of residents'

Friday, November 04, 2005. NJ: State files fraud complaints against two S.J. home improvement contractors The contractors were identified as Mark Louis Cardelucci of Burlington, and Samuel Cruz, who operates Rainbow Painting & Remodeling and Rainbow General Contracting, Camden.

Friday, November 04, 2005. MD: Contractors ask judge to force builder into bankruptcy The petition, which would allow the regional and national companies to seize assets of Golden Builders to pay tens of thousands of dollars owed to them, could also strand former clients and unpaid local subcontractors.

Friday, November 04, 2005. IL: Rieser in spotlight for doing right thing Rieser's old friend, former Alderman Jim Meisch, dropped into Rieser's Aurora public works director office on Jan. 29, 2004, and suggested that if Rieser overlooked a few subdivision requirements, the builder might be very grateful. According to court records, about $10,000 grateful.

Friday, November 04, 2005. NJ: Seven contractors sued by state over faulty, or no, work The state Division of Consumer Affairs filed suits against seven home contractors Thursday, seeking to recoup money the builders took from homeowners before allegedly either not doing the work or providing substandard work.

Friday, November 04, 2005. OK; National interest: Some Kind Of Mold Miracle? John Barnett, the president of Quantem Laboratories in Oklahoma City, said that while he's not familiar with the 42-42 spray, he does know and respect the Foster brand.
However, Barnett said the mold problem isn't the mold itself. That's just the result. The problem is poor home construction. He said if your house is built properly, you won't have any need for anti-mold spray.

Friday, November 04, 2005. Construction Risk Conference in Las Vegas NV: Builders Sell out Sessions on ``Minimizing Construction Risk'' at IRMI Conference Nov. 7-10 Program by La Jolla Pacific Ltd. Expert to Address Top 4 Areas of Litigation Exposure.

Friday, November 04, 2005. TX; National interest: Be wary of pitfalls in mortgage The Lights have taken their case to court. They are among more than 70 Tarrant County, Texas, couples and individuals suing their lender, KB Home Mortgage Co., saying it negligently underestimated the amount of property tax the homeowners needed to pay into escrow accounts to pay future taxes and insurance premiums.

Friday, November 04, 2005. National: Mortgage Fraud Articles Site is updated almost daily on latest news of mortgage fraud.

Friday, November 04, 2005. PA: Residents sued over sewer tap-in money In January 2005, Jefferson Hills mandated that in order for a building permit to be issued, a receipt for a tap-in fee in Clairton Watershed was to be produced by the builder.

Jeff Costa, operations manager for Costa Industries LLC, said borough never asked for a tap-in fee before signing off on a building permit.

Friday, November 04, 2005. MO: Teachers learn to get kids involved in government Two years ago, Clinebell's eighth-grade class succeeded in getting city officials to address radon. The next year, Clinebell's next group of eighth-graders lobbied the County Board to distribute literature about radon to new homebuilders. Now, when a builder applies for a permit, county officials are required to give them fact sheets about radon and testing systems. This year's class might take the matter to the state level and push for a change in state building codes, Clinebell said.

Friday, November 04, 2005. National interest: Luxury home market lagging High-end houses are becoming harder to sell in some of the nation's hottest real estate markets

Thursday, November 03, 2005. OH: Broken Trust A mortgage salesman was preying on Amish families. When they fought back, his company sued them for slander.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. OH: Unfinished business James Caldwell Jr. left a trail of unsatisfied customers. The city kept approving his projects anyway.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. FL: Florida Building Officials Commission Study of Panhandle Codes The Florida Insurance Council and the Institute for Business and Home Safety support strengthening the code application in the Panhandle so it conforms to statewide standards. Others, including the Florida Home Builders Association, are not convinced of the need.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. MD: Former CEO Enters Plea In Md. Political Corruption Case With his assets frozen and his attorney arguing he may not be able to defend an "impecunious" client, a former company CEO pleaded not guilty Wednesday to racketeering and other charges in a political corruption case involving a powerful former state senator.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. IL: Fire Departments Allegedly Helped In Scam Investigators exposed an alleged multi-million dollar scam that ripped off fire victims across the city and suburbs.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. National: Bankers worry about risky lending techniques These borrowers — especially those who purchased homes as investments — may just "walk away from the house," he said.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. National interest: Real Estate Interests Spread the Wealth in Governor's Race Developers pack the list of top Fairfax County contributors to this year's Virginia gubernatorial race, with real estate interests handing out big bucks to all three candidates, according to data compiled by the Virginia Public Access Project.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. National: Expansion Enders Forget energy costs, rate hikes and the storms. The economy's Achilles' heel is housing.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. National; One view: Tax Reform a Tough Sell President Bush's tax panel recommended Tuesday that Congress dramatically simplify the U.S. tax code, but the plan's attack on popular deductions left its fate in question.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. National; Another view: : Mortgage deductions could use a ceiling "As it is designed right now, it mostly benefits the rich, is grossly unfair and costs the Treasury a bundle."

Thursday, November 03, 2005. Scroll Down to: HOW LONG IS HOME BUILDER LIABLE FOR DEFECTS? The laws of most states require home builders to warrant their homes for longer than one year.

Thursday, November 03, 2005. CA; National (other states investigated illegal kickbacks also): Title insurance giants to refund $22.7M to consumers Fidelity National Financial and First American Title Insurance Co. were accused of setting up captive reinsurance companies to funnel illegal rebates to banks, builders and real estate agents who in turn would allegedly steer business back to the title companies.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005. TX; National: The Myth of George Bush's Tort Reform The tort reform movement, which originated in Texas under then Governor George W. Bush, has resulted in loss of our access to hold corporations accountable

Wednesday, November 02, 2005. From "Ask the Builder" column: Cold Bedrooms Mean Bad Builder The phoney answers and excuses some builders offer up to cover mistakes seem to be as plentiful as grains of sand on a beach.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005. AZ, CA, National interest: Web site seeks to 'out' firms hiring illegals

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» Companies in the News
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The site -- WeHireAliens.com -- lists large and small companies that it contends illegally hire undocumented workers.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005. Free Speech on the internet re citizens' right to criticize/complain: Dentists Drilled for Trying to Shut Down Critical Web Site [This case involved a complaint about dental work but the concept is the same as builder complaint sites re citizens' right to free speech, and attempts to shut them down.] “Their case was an outrageous attempt at censorship and they knew it,” Levy said. “Only when citizens like Ms. Prentice have the courage to stand up for their rights can such efforts be defeated. She should not have to lose money defending herself.”

Tuesday, November 01, 2005. LA; National interest: Conned A local real estate investment scheme has been suckering investors, leaving contractors unpaid and sticking banks with millions in debt.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005. PA: Tomlinson bill would require contracts Senate Bill 1000 would require home improvement contractors to register their business with the state attorney general's office and enter into written contracts with customers, among other things, Tomlinson said.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005. Does your builder use window flashing properly?: PDF illustrating proper installation One of the most common shortcuts HADD sees is omission or improper installation at this stage.

Monday, October 31, 2005. NJ: Developer to seek zoning change Zoning will be sought on Birdsall Road for a housing complex for senior citizens — presumably consisting of hundreds of units — by a developer who has been accused by township officials of misleading them about the planned use of the 160-acre site.

Monday, October 31, 2005. TX: Wildwood Canyon: Lawsuit Aims to Stop Development Martinez said that "the city ordinance prohibits development in arroyos."

Monday, October 31, 2005. National: Housing Boom Fading, Leading Real Estate Economist Says Economic forecasts have been mixed in recent months, but Lereah is the latest high-profile housing-sector economist to forecast a decline in housing.

Monday, October 31, 2005. National: Beware the Pitfalls of Creative Mortgages Or, How I Might Lose My Home

Sunday, October 30, 2005. National interest: Rich vein of low-income buyers gets a break Newman continued to think about the peculiarity of the deal and her suspicion that the young buyers had somehow become a foil for a larger racket.

Sunday, October 30, 2005. MO: Should loan originators be licensed? Right now, anyone can become a loan originator, without any training needed.

Sunday, October 30, 2005. NH: Lawmakers: Home-repair licensing impractical When it comes to consumer rip-offs, Stratton said, “home contractors have ranked as either number one or number two,”

Sunday, October 30, 2005. FL; National interest: Opportunistic thieves target construction sites Police say thieves might sell the stolen goods to other builders or on the black market, take it home or -- as in one case -- trade it for drugs.

And home buyers generally end up paying for it. ... It's not always people from the outside stealing the stuff, police say. It can be contractors and employees.

Saturday, October 29, 2005. Texas: Lessons from Florida: Texas urged to build better houses Texas might consider following Florida's lead in establishing a building code that requires properties to be less susceptible to wind damage, Eckels said.

Saturday, October 29, 2005. Texas: Foes launch TV ads on gay marriage ban Two major Republican donors are backing the amendment. San Antonio businessman James Leininger, a leading supporter of school vouchers, gave $100,000 to Texans for Marriage in August. NOTE: The Ku Klux Klan is also supporting this amendment to ban gay marriage. (which is illegal in Texas anyway)

Friday, October 28, 2005. National interest: New Home Defects Not Isolated Events An estimated 15 percent of all new homes sold -- approximately 150,000 a year -- have a serious defect, according to a recent Consumer Reports investigation, assisted by Criterium Engineers, a consulting-engineering firm based in Portland, Maine.

What can you expect to find?

Friday, October 28, 2005. MD: Carroll commissioners appeal court ruling on homebuilder In June 2003, the three-member commission unanimously adopted a one-year deferral on approved projects that had not begun construction to give the county time to manage its growth. In response, a number of developers sued, including Forty West Builders, which plans to develop land off Leishear Road in Mount Airy.

Friday, October 28, 2005. Sierra Vista Herald: Homebuilder sues couple in dream-home dispute Cerutti and Finch, both retired military officers, say Russell has left their $640,000 Hereford house with serious structural defects — a claim Russell strenuously denies.

Friday, October 28, 2005. Texas: Homeowners increasingly face builder damages, neglect Fighting back tears, local resident Marcia Kushner holds just one of many damaged family heirlooms she claims were deteriorated by an invisible problem within her home. With black mold strewn across the walkway, sprawling cracks splintering across walls and foundation and a mysterious problem taking victim everything from family heirlooms to clothing to household décor, Marcia Kushner is truly living in a house of horror.

Thursday, October 27, 2005. NV: Pahrump construction defect case settled for $6.3 million Canepa said the complex had cracks one to two inches wide in foundations and walls and some residents couldn't close their doors and windows.

Thursday, October 27, 2005. MN: (scroll down to) County considers building code upgrades, inspections, fees Once building flaws are covered with Sheetrock, a future homeowner won't know what they're buying.

Thursday, October 27, 2005. IN: Residents balk at project's builder Neighbors cited Federal Trade Commission complaints and a troublesome KB Homes project in Arlington, Texas, as reasons for their concern. Neighbor Reese Stormes said KB Homes has paid more than $10 million in federal fines and has been accused of building a subdivision on a former military bombing range in Texas. Stormes referenced an anti-KB Homes Web site in his remarks.

Thursday, October 27, 2005. NY: Contractors Arrested for Ripping Off Laborers Both Cobbs and Galanis were charged with operating a home improvement business without a license in addition to the failure to pay wages charge. Fey has just been charged with failure to pay wages.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. TN; National interest: Don't make 'em like they used to If you want a good house, find an old house.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. National: Brick Defects For several years now, we’ve found improperly-installed brick veneer on every new house we’ve inspected — big houses, little houses, plain and fancy houses. Best we can tell, all the brickers are getting the brick veneer wrong, every time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. From Motley Fool: Real Estate Bubble? You Bet! Consider these bubble indicators:

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. FL: Disney Dwellers found Wilma a Wild Ride When the wind blows, she and her family are ordered to take for the hills. Their home, and several others like it in Lakes of the Meadow, are so riddled with construction problems that the county has condemned them as unsafe.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. National: Eminent Domain Survival Guide Castle Coalition

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. National: THE REVOLVING DOOR Business interests are “capturing” the federal government and exerting undue influence over policy and procurement decisions as a result of the revolving door—the frequent appointment of corporate executives and lobbyists to public posts and the movement of government officials into lucrative jobs in the private sector.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. OH, KY: Tony Erpenbeck ruled competent to stand trial Tony Erpenbeck has been ruled mentally competent to face charges that he tried to arrange the killings of a federal judge and a former prosecutor and the kidnapping of an FBI agent's children.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. National: Faulty work not an "occurance" In a case of first impression, the South Carolina Supreme Court holds that claims of faulty workmanship do not constitute an "occurrence" under a commercial general liability policy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. National: Housing Contractor Contracts Filled With Sneakwrap, Too "I have never had to sue anyone, but I do reserve the right to do so, because it keeps people honest," the reader wrote. "So when I bought my new home, I walked away from a half-million dollar sales contract, only to be stopped at the door at the last minute by the builder, who agreed to put a great big red 'X' through the arbitration clause. I also insisted on crossing out the user-not-permitted-to-inspect-until-final-walkthrough clause and the we-may-make-any-changes-we-deem-suitable clause from the boilerplate as well. Thank God I did."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. MI; National: New home construction wanes New home construction in Macomb County has dropped by about one third in 2005, compared with 2004.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. National: The King of Real Estate's Cashing Out Tom Barrack, arguably the world's greatest real estate investor, is methodically selling off his U.S. real estate holdings as prices drive the market to nosebleed levels.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. MI; National interest: Case exposes rampant mortgage fraud Lenders and victims flood federal phone lines with complaints after report of 20 arrests last week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005. NJ: Builder agrees to replace vents letting snow in attics The builder of Four Seasons in Wall said Thursday it will replace ridge vents that allow snow to accumulate in attics at the 400-unit retirement community.

Monday, October 24, 2005. Texas: Hurt? Injured? Need a Lawyer? Too Bad! JUST BEFORE HE SIGNED the contract for his house, on New Year’s Day 2002, Brian Zaltsberg looked the KB Home salesman in the eye and gave him a stern warning. “Go ahead and lose the commission if there are going to be problems with the house,” he said. “Because your time will be better spent on someone else. If you screw me, I’m gonna come back on ya.”

Sunday, October 23, 2005. OK: Construction Co. Owner Sentenced in Okla. Workers' Comp Fraud Case William R. King, 41, was sentenced June 29 to a two-year deferred sentence and ordered to pay $20,000 restitution, a $1,000 fine as well as a victim compensation assessment and court costs. King, the owner and manager/construction coordinator of W.K. Construction Inc., was charged March 24 in Tulsa County District Court. King also did business as King Construction.

Sunday, October 23, 2005. FL: North Port board suspends builder's license The Contractor's Licensing and Advisory Board suspended the rights of William "Frank" Holly of PLS Construction to pull any more building permits in the city.

Sunday, October 23, 2005. GA: Contractor charged in motel arson W. Dexter Harrison is charged with conspiracy to commit arson and mail fraud. Prosecutors say he hired a man to burn the Ramada Inn Limited in Donalsonville in 2002 so he could collect the insurance money. Harrison appeared before a federal judge Friday.

Sunday, October 23, 2005. National interest: Steve Batie: Does it make sense to put a hole in the roof? Actually, what I was doing was installing an exhaust fan in my yet-to-be-remodeled bathroom.

Sunday, October 23, 2005. National interest: Predatory Lending AN EXPLANATION

Sunday, October 23, 2005. National interest: Developers pouring cash into VA campaigns Virginia's developers, home builders and real estate agents have more than doubled their campaign contributions from four years ago

Sunday, October 23, 2005. Texas: HADD Texas Quarterly Newsletter This is a quarterly newsletter for HADD Texas. Please distribute freely.

Saturday, October 22, 2005. CO; National interest: Homebuyers share blame for bum loans A Colorado Mortgage Association proposal to regulate the industry targets fraud, but the group understands that homeowners can also fall victim to their own naivete.

Saturday, October 22, 2005. KS; National interest: Inquiry ensnares mortgage company A state order issued earlier this month said Reis Enterprises Inc. in Kansas City had “altered at least 19 appraisals that were submitted to lenders” in violation of state law.

Saturday, October 22, 2005. National: How mortgage scams work The association lists five different scams in its proposal to the state.

Saturday, October 22, 2005. TX; National: How to prevent fraud following a disaster The most common complaints following a disaster relate to price-gouging and home-repair contractors.

Saturday, October 22, 2005. FL: Home buyers wait for houses An Orlando real-estate lawyer said builders cannot unilaterally cancel contracts if buyers hold up their end of the bargain.

Saturday, October 22, 2005. FL: Fake county resident also fake public servant As subdivisions and strip centers sprawled, with attendant traffic, Mr. Foley backed bad development projects and bad ideas.

Friday, October 21, 2005. PA: Handwriting samples sought in fraud case The builder and homebuyers in an ongoing home sales fraud case will be requested to submit handwriting samples to help prove whether the builder forged the buyers' signatures on documents or the buyers themselves knowingly signed those papers.

Friday, October 21, 2005. MD: Ex-state senator indicted Bromwell, wife accused of taking bribes from construction firm head

Friday, October 21, 2005. MN: Scroll down to: "Drainage problems plague city " Article online for one week. Houston County Engineer Tracy Von Bargen said the developers of the former Old Hickory Orchards area need to take action on the problem.

Friday, October 21, 2005. National: Figures Lie and Liars Figure The reality is that insiders must maintain the euphoria so that they can continue selling. It does not matter if there is no market for all this new construction, because that is only a problem for those foolish enough to buy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005. CA: Lawsuit against Murrieta councilmen to continue Enochs said Tuesday there is no sense in having an elected council if developers are going to sue every time they don't like a decision.

"It stops you as an elected official," he said. "There's no sense in you being there. The developers may as well run the city."

Thursday, October 20, 2005. National: O'Reilly Apologizes: Only 20% of Home Builders Are Corrupt? After calling the housing industry "corrupt" during an earlier interview with Donald Trump, O'Reilly Factor television show, Bill O'Reilly offers a nearly unprecedented apology, but still gets in a dig about the industry.

Thursday, October 20, 2005. Builders power over what the media can say???: BILL O’REILLY APOLOGIES TO HOME BUILDERS After replaying a clip from his Sept. 21 interview with Donald Trump and following a five minute discussion with Dave Wilson about the character of the home building industry, O’Reilly conceded that he had gone overboard in describing the industry as being "corrupt" during his interview with Trump.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005. CA: State board reaches deal with home builder regarding complaints The State Contractors Licensing Board has made a deal with Ventura-based developer R. W. Hertel & Sons to settle the claims of leaks at the Rancho Obispo development in San Luis Obispo.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005. Michigan: 20 Michiganians Charged with Mortgage Fraud Federal authorities have charged 20 people in mortgage fraud cases in the Detroit area.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005. CO and National: News Release: Resource On Toxic Mold-Related Ills Granted Swift IRS Non-Profit Status For more information, visit the Fungal Disease Resource Center on the web at:
http://www.fdrcinc.org [Not an Endorsement--Ed.]

Wednesday, October 19, 2005. IL: Suburban Contractor Indicted for Home Repair Fraud A west suburban contractor is out on bond after being indicted Tuesday on two felony charges of home repair fraud.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005. LA: LA eyes tougher building code The estimated $10 billion cost of wind damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita would have cost $8 billion less had homes been built according to the proposed code, said Marc L. Levitan, director of the LSU Hurricane Center.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005. National; from Inman.com, free to view on day of posting: Flexible loans may end up hurting homeowners Lenders are floating a carrot and there's nobody to save over-eager consumers from themselves. An example is a recent advertisement in California "Buy the home you want…not the home you can afford!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005. National interest: Juries hold developer accountable for shoddy construction (Oregon case of national interest.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005. PA: Tax cheats' sentences treat rich gently Tomko gets to keep all his ill-gotten toys, and he can run his lucrative construction firm while under a brief period of home confinement.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005. National: Legislation would further harm endangered species "The advertisement, which was paid for largely with a grant from the National Homebuilders Association, claims that the Endangered Species Act as it presently exists places undue burdens on private landowners in the South. This is patently untrue. Federally endangered plant species have virtually no protections at all on private lands and the landowners can do as they please with these plants."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005. FL: Permit displays confusing "That excuse is worthless," Pedersen said, who has been tracking building permits and construction sites for more than one year. "It's getting worse."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005. OH: Collapsed deck was improperly attached Inspectors: It never had building permit, wasn't up to code

Tuesday, October 18, 2005. NJ: Hillsborough code official charged with taking bribes After a seven-month investigation into his department, the township's chief code enforcement officer was charged Monday with receiving $14,000 worth of work on his home and free meals in exchange for approving a construction project without proper inspections or permits.

Monday, October 17, 2005. OR: Oregon Jury Project 12 Minds. 12 voices. 1 Common good.

Monday, October 17, 2005. National: Consumer Alert Home Builders Create Mortgage Monopoly Building Standards Also Questioned [NOT AN ENDORSEMENT; HADD does not do endorsements, this is for informational purposes only.] Martin explained, "by offering "incentives" such as "bonus" construction features, or a portion of the closing costs to be paid, the home builder lures the unsuspecting new homeowner into a trap, where the home purchaser ends up with an interest rate/monthly mortgage payment that could be much higher than the best possible interest rate/mortgage payment available for their credit". "Or the potential new homeowner might get stuck with junk mortgage fees that even the most crooked mortgage lender would think twice about ever charging a consumer".

Monday, October 17, 2005. CA: Clayton property owners get settlement The homes were built about eight to 10 years ago in subdivisions near the Oakhurst Country Club. Most had tens of thousands of dollars of defects that needed repair, Pasek said.

Monday, October 17, 2005. From Inman.com real estate news; article free first day of publication only: 'Overvaluation' climbing in housing markets 32% of single-family market at risk for future price declines, report says

Monday, October 17, 2005. National: New Consumer Research Study: American Homeowners Are Not Debt Junkies American homeowners are more conservative in their mortgage debt management -- and are hardly the credit junkies they are sometimes portrayed to be in the media -- according to new national consumer survey data.

Monday, October 17, 2005. National: The Rise in Statutes [A roofing/construction industry viewpoint.--ED.] "During the past three years, about half the U.S. states have enacted so-called "construction-defect" or "right-to-cure" statutes."

Sunday, October 16, 2005. LA: Avoiding Mold Hazards in Your Flooded Home Mold can damage materials and health. The longer mold is allowed to grow, the greater the risk and the harder the cleanup.

Sunday, October 16, 2005. TX: Law lets developers ignore growth controls An obscure Texas law written for developers has cost San Antonio millions of dollars, stripped parts of the scenic Hill Country of trees and blocked attempts to protect the region's water supply.

Sunday, October 16, 2005. CO: Violations threaten license for contractor Aspen Homes Construction Corp. could have its contractor's license suspended or revoked if the developer does not correct by Monday outstanding code violations on a 6-year-old home west of Boynton Beach.

Sunday, October 16, 2005. AL: Built to last: Homes constructed above code survive storm "We had two choices," said Brown, a local builder who finished the house one month before Katrina hit. "We could build it the way the code says and get good insurance and let it rip. Or build it to last." [Some new homes do not EVEN meet code due to lack of enforcement--ED.]

Sunday, October 16, 2005. CT: Connecticut to Launch Campaign to Prevent Predatory Lending The Connecticut Don't Borrow Trouble(SM) campaign, in Spanish and English, utilizes brochures, the www.dontborrowtrouble.com Web site, transit posters, billboards, and radio public service announcements to educate consumers who are most vulnerable to predatory lending -- the elderly, minorities and low- to moderate-income individuals.

Sunday, October 16, 2005. National: Lenders find fraud in housing market Fraud in housing often involves a member of the real estate industry, such as an attorney, broker or appraiser. New loan products that allow borrowers to get mortgages with less documentation about income and savings, so-called lo-doc or no-doc loans, also inadvertently aid fraud.

Saturday, October 15, 2005. U.S and Canada: Holmes on Homes Canadian How-to TV show, available on some cable channels in the US, also. Show sometimes depicts redoing of contractors'or others' botched jobs. Accepts submissions for homeowners' stories in Canada.

Saturday, October 15, 2005. NY: Former home builder faces grand larceny charge Fugitive home builder Scott Marchand was denied bail Friday following his appearance in Rensselaer County Court on charges of defrauding several local clients of thousands of dollars.

Friday, October 14, 2005. FL: Unlicensed contractors targeted Having declared war on unlicensed building contractors, the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation is bringing its fight to the front lines.

Friday, October 14, 2005. National interest: Builder adding insult to injury "Q...builder is now trying to keep my $14,000 deposit. Do I have any options?"

Friday, October 14, 2005. Gulf coast area: Fraud Outbreak Expected In Gulf Coast Region To grifters, cons and cheats, the devastated Gulf Coast is a three-ring circus with a captive audience of rubes ripe for the picking.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. AZ: Mold Attacks If Gilbert school officials had played straight, Mesquite Junior High kids and teachers would've run for their lives.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. MO: Two Missouri Men Sentenced in $18M Mortgage Fraud The money laundering charge, Graves explained, relates to financial transactions that occurred on the same day. Medlin received $80,008 from Metro One Title – proceeds from the $111,754 wire transfer – and deposited the funds to the account of M&R Construction. Medlin used those funds – derived from the wire fraud – to purchase a $27,211 cashier’s check payable to cash, which he delivered to Metro One Title for the down payment on two properties being purchased by family members of Medlin.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. National interest: Martha's touch to grace new houses America's favorite ex-con wants to design your home.
Recently sprung domestic diva Martha Stewart, who served soft time for lying about a stock sale, is partnering with one of the nation's biggest homebuilders to develop a subdivision in Cary. [See also articles posted earlier this year on KB Home which was fined by the FTC and HUD.]

Thursday, October 13, 2005. WA: Swindler of widow gets 2nd chance A former financial adviser convicted of defrauding an elderly widow out of owning her home has been granted more time to pay off a mortgage he took out on her property, or risk going to prison. ... Miller's criminal defense attorney, Margaret Brammall, said her client is up-to-date on mortgage payments. He started his own construction business and has three contracts that should help him earn enough money to meet his financial obligations, attorneys said.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. NC: Couple Closes On House, Then Discovers $7K Problem Many new homes come with a one-year warranty, but it's not always easy to get the builder to fix problems that happen after you close.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. NC: Homeowners In Hope Mills Say Builder Let Them Down Homeowners are not the only ones pointing fingers at Bledsoe. Three suppliers have said he did not pay them, and they have sued.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. MO: Attorney General to probe builder The Missouri attorney general’s office announced Wednesday that it is probing a Carl Junction remodeling company, Ed Butler Home Improvement.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. National: Mold: Landlords Blame Tenants, Experts Blame Shoddy Construction Mold addenda to rental agreements are becoming more common, Dobson said. These clauses require tenants to perform many bizarre tasks to prevent mold, including opening windows for two hours a week, even in the middle of winter, Dobson said.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. Gulf region: Mold Lurks As Costly Aftereffect Of Storm While most people will not feel any ill effects of breathing a moderate number of spores, Rice said that even healthy people could come down with sinus and lung infections that could spread to the brain and that some molds produced toxins that could cause birth defects and cancer.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. MO: Defendant pleads guilty to home repair scam in Franklin County A St. Louis man who took tens of thousands of dollars from Franklin County residents for home repairs that in most cases never even were started has pleaded guilty to violating Missouri's consumer protection laws.

Thursday, October 13, 2005. National: Bush Tax Panel Eyes Big Mortgages President Bush's tax advisory commission has its eye on the jumbo mortgages that finance the McMansions so popular with affluent taxpayers. The panel is leaning towards recommending limiting the tax deduction to the first $300,000 of a homeowner's mortgage.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005. Texas: http://www.houston-press.com/Issues/2005-10-06/news/news2.html " target="x">Ownership Wrongs. Tremont Tower's management bars a condo owner from her own unit Fogal explained what Mickelson was up against. Even though documents showed Casimiro's Tremont Tower L.P. was supposed to warrant the condo for a year, he was unlikely to fix anything, she warned. And because of a clause in her contract, her only recourse against him and the builders of the condo was through the commonly used American Association of Arbitration, which the Better Business Bureau and other consumer groups describe as being biased against homeowners. Put simply, Mickelson was screwed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005. National: Teen crusades to erase menace of mold The Duke University freshman, 17, is on a mission to warn the public about the health risks of toxic mold. What motivates him is personal experience.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005. FL: Homebuilder [DeLuca Homes] makes lots of promises but doesn't make repairs Each time I speak with the warranty agent he promises, "We are going to get this fixed." But after many months, the promises are just that -- promises.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005. FL: Buyers wanted dream homes, got a nightmare Work on their houses has ground to a halt as Designer failed to pay subcontractors. The subcontractors and suppliers, besides refusing to continue to work, have placed liens on homes for money they are owed. That means buyers must essentially pay twice - to Designer and the subcontractor - to escape their contracts.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005. NC: Action 9: Woman's Home Has Cracked Foundation; Warranty Company, Builder Won't Help Carol Jones said the foundation in her one-story 6-year-old home is cracking and neither the warranty company nor her builder will help her.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005. National interest, from Los Angeles BizJournals: KB Home teaming up with Martha Stewart The Los Angeles home builder (NYSE: KBH) on Wednesday announced a partnership with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. to build a community of houses designed and decorated by the domestic maven.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005. Insurance Industry article on hurricane coverage: Anticipated Legal Wrath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita The prevalent question today is whether the homeowners policy will cover flood damage that resulted from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005. NY: Lawsuit filed against builder The lawyer for builder Marcel St. Onge, who owns Advantage Builders Incorporated, said his client won't comment at this time.
The Town of Kinderhook, however, has issued St. Onge a violation order.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005. Texas: Bob Perry of Perry Homes loses $750,000 appeal. Reference the following article: A Homeowner Nails Bob Perry . Perry appealed the $750,000 arbitration award and lost. It is believed it is headed to the Texas Supreme Court.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005. Motley Fool advising caution buying home builder stock?: Dominion's Sagging Foundation If you are looking for cracks in what has been a solid market for new housing, look no further than Dominion Homes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005. PA: Quakertown contractor going to prison Mark Zaffarano, 48, of 130 S. Second St., pleaded guilty in July to stealing thousands of dollars from customers in Montgomery and Bucks counties.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005. NC: Action 9: Woman Wants Deposit Back After Declining Mortgage Loan She said the mortgage company wrote Lewis Homes and said her loan would not be approved. That automatically meant she was due her deposit back.

Tom Lewis owner of Lewis Homes then informed Edwards he was sending her a check. That was nine months ago and she hasn't seen a dime.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005. National: Empty Houses, Falling Prices advertisement

You can see how the housing bubble is bursting in places like Columbus, Ohio, where builders and lenders threw common sense away and enticed people to buy homes they couldn't afford.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005. National Interest: http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/P131154.asp?GT1=7160 " target="x">Empty houses, falling prices: A boom dies You can see how the housing bubble is bursting in places like Columbus, Ohio, where builders and lenders threw common sense away and enticed people to buy homes they couldn't afford.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005. TX: A Homeowner nails Bob Perry An extraordinary lemon-home case involving Texas’ most powerful homebuilder has homeowners and builders reversing their traditional roles in such disputes. [Re: HOMES v. CULL, 2-04-052-CV (Tex.App.-Ft. Worth [2nd Dist.] 2005: According to a later case report not online for free, as far as we can tell, the decision was upheld with modifications to interest on the award in the appellate court, a decision rendered in Aug. 2005.--Ed.]

Monday, October 10, 2005. Texas- National Interest: The high price of mortgages Escrow payments and generous appraisals can turn homeownership into a nightmare-

By JIM FUQUAY and ANDREA JARES-

STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITERs-

For more than a year, Larry and Teresa Light enjoyed their new home in the Holiday Hills subdivision of North Richland Hills. Then came a notice that they were $7,000 behind in their escrow fund used to meet property tax payments.

Monday, October 10, 2005. Oregon: http://www.newsregister.com/news/results.cfm?story_no=198467 " target="x">Builder burns the wrong guy Three times in recent years, Hillsboro contractor Scott Aldrich of TAC Northwest had allegedly botched major construction jobs without incurring any sanction, either from the courts or Oregon Construction Contractors Board.

Then he ran into John Stuart.

He's determined to exact justice, even if it means going to great personal expense. If one of Aldrich's earlier victims had just done that, he figures, he might have been spared a long, difficult and costly ordeal.

Monday, October 10, 2005. Oklahoma: "'No Agent' makes no deal" Brad Edwards In Your Corner. Realty co supposed to be barred by HUD; "Leo Kingston was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to federal prison and so was his wife Paulette. She is the one now seen in the commercials for 1-800-No-Agent or RAK properties."

Monday, October 10, 2005. CO: Mortgage fraud summit will draw key speakers The general public also can attend

Monday, October 10, 2005. National interest: Dominion aims to confront default issues Dominion’s default rates rival those posted by KB.

Monday, October 10, 2005. National interest: The high price of mortgages The Lights have taken their case to court. They are among more than 70 Tarrant County couples and individuals suing their lender, KB Home Mortgage Co., saying it negligently underestimated the amount of property tax that the homeowners needed to pay into escrow accounts to pay future taxes and insurance premiums. KB denies the complaints. The case, filed in 2003, is now headed for arbitration.

Monday, October 10, 2005. Gulf Coast: Mold Sickens Hurricane Survivors and Mortgage Lenders In the hot and humid aftermath of the storms, mold has quickly taken over abandoned structures, in some cases covering nearly every inch of exposed surfaces. While a little mold affects those who are allergic to it, large amounts of mold are toxic to everyone.

Sunday, October 09, 2005. AZ: Land barons have locked up empty fields from Mesa to Florence Development interests are the largest class of donors to political campaigns for city and town councils and county supervisors in the area, donating nearly a half-million dollars since 2000.

The speculators also have taken advantage of state laws that allow them to classify their undeveloped properties as farms, saving them millions in property taxes, according to the state Board of Equalization.

Sunday, October 09, 2005. Missouri: http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/12854535.htm " target="x">Repair work slipshod on local home- Tax money spent on unsafe maintenance By MIKE MCGRAW and MICHAEL MANSUR- The Kansas City Star-
-STAR WATCHDOG REPORT- Leaky roofs and sagging ceilings. Buckling and poorly repaired foundations. Dangerous furnaces and flues.- An investigation by The Kansas City Star found that a taxpayer-supported home maintenance program overseen by the city’s former housing agency approved all of that shoddy work. -For 30 years, HEDFC, Housing and Economic Development Financial Corp, had been the primary agency through which millions of federal housing dollars flowed for building and financing moderate- and low-income housing.

-The FBI, the U.S. attorney’s office and the Housing and Urban Development inspector general are conducting a criminal investigation of the agency.

Sunday, October 09, 2005. Missouri: No charges will be filed against St. Peters mayor An investigation turned up nothing to back a claim that St. Peters Mayor Shawn Brown threatened to block a home development unless the builder bought electrical supplies from the mayor's employer, county prosecutor Jack Banas said Friday.-

Brown responded that he had been confident "from the get-go" that the allegation was groundless and that no charge would be filed against him.

Sunday, October 09, 2005. Kentucky: Builder ruled competent for murder conspiracy trial ALLEGED TARGETS WERE JUDGE, PROSECUTOR-
A Cincinnati man is competent to stand trial for conspiring to kill two officers of the federal court, a Lexington federal judge ruled yesterday.

Prosecutors say Anthony "Tony" Erpenbeck, the patriarch of the Northern Kentucky Erpenbeck building family, tried to arrange the murders of a federal judge and a federal prosecutor and threatened to kidnap the family of an FBI agent

Sunday, October 09, 2005. Texas: http://cbs11tv.com/localnews/local_story_279174314.html " target="x">EXCLUSIVE: FBI TAPES ALLEGED TO SHOW MAYOR PRO-TEM DON HILL CLOSELY INVOLVED IN NEGOTIATING CASH PAYMENT, OTHER COMPENSATION, FOR DEVELOPMENT VOTE The Investigators-
CBS-11 News-

A Dallas lawyer and two local contractors claimed to be working closely with Mayor Pro-Tem Don Hill this Spring when a developer paid them a $50,000 down payment on a deal in which Hill would stop stalling a south Dallas project and get it approved, say two independent sources familiar with covert tape recordings of the negotiations.

Sunday, October 09, 2005. OHIO: Brokered Dreams Ohio leads the nation in home foreclosure, a problem fueled by a weak economy, aggressive mortgage brokers, financial overreaching and tepid state oversight.

Sunday, October 09, 2005. OHIO: OUTREACH TO HOMEOWNERS- Dominion aims to confront default issues With hundreds of its customers struggling to pay their mortgages, a Dominion Homes executive said the company needs to create programs and policies to help financially troubled buyers avoid foreclosure

Thursday, October 06, 2005. National: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/04/business/04builders.html " target="x">Home Builders' Stock Sales: Diversifying or Bailing Out? New York Times-Shedding Shares -Home builders have never had it so good. Low interest rates and creative financing have caused a frenetic pace of new-home construction across the country. Builders are reporting blistering earnings and their shares are trading at or near record highs. Now they are cashing in.

Thursday, October 06, 2005. Oregon: Ross distrusts builders' role County commissioners trade barbs-

By JAMES WENSITS-
Tribune Political Writer -

SOUTH BEND -- Does the Home Builder's Association of St. Joseph Valley have too much influence in county government?

County Commissioner Steve Ross, D-District 2, thinks so.

Commissioners Cindy Bodle, D-District 3, and Mark Dobson, R-District 1, think not.

"Innuendo, that's all it is," fumed an angry Dobson.

Thursday, October 06, 2005. National: http://www.fortwayne.com/mld/journalgazette/news/nation/12813673.htm " target="x">FEMA’s home builder lacks license Washington Post

WASHINGTON – The recipient of the largest contract in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s hurricane recovery efforts doesn’t have a license to build manufactured housing in its home state and has been the subject of dealer and buyer complaints, a Georgia regulator said.

Thursday, October 06, 2005. National: http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/P131154.asp " target="x">Empty houses, falling prices: A boom dies You can see how the housing bubble is bursting in places like Columbus, Ohio, where builders and lenders threw common sense away and enticed people to buy homes they couldn't afford

Monday, October 03, 2005. Oregon: Mold: Landlords blame tenants, experts blame shoddy construction Mold often is indicative of shoddy construction, experts say. But more landlords are looking to pass the buck on mold to tenants, said Ken Dobson, a Portland attorney specializing in mold complaints.

Mold addenda to rental agreements are becoming more common, Dobson said. These clauses require tenants to perform many bizarre tasks to prevent mold, including opening windows for two hours a week, even in the middle of winter, Dobson said.

Monday, October 03, 2005. Florida: http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051002/NEWS/51... " target="x">Complaint backlog in Charlotte CHARLOTTE COUNTY -- Even after losing his roof to Hurricane Charley, paying $100,000 to stitch up his home and arguing with his contractor for 10 months, Gerald Lynch's aggravation may be just beginning.

Lynch is among thousands of Charlotte County residents who have gone to county officials with complaints about shoddy repair work.

Saturday, October 01, 2005. Wisconsin: http://www.gazetteextra.com/brownell093005.asp " target="x">Ex-CEO pleads guilty to fraud MILWAUKEE-The former chief executive officer for Bielinski Brothers, a Waukesha-based developer, has agreed to plead guilty to embezzling millions of dollars from the company over a four-year period.

Saturday, October 01, 2005. Arizona: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/1001fissurefolo01... " target="x">Fissures generating anxiety -Home buyers, agents seek data News of widespread fissure dangers in Arizona's fastest-growing markets has prompted homeowners and potential buyers to start asking questions they never knew they needed to ask.

The surface cracks caused by excessive groundwater pumping have been documented throughout Arizona, in places such as Mesa, Maricopa, the Santan area of Pinal County and near the White Tank Mountains. But with the most current map more than a decade out of date and fissures continuously growing and cobwebbing off in new directions, it's impossible to know exactly who is in danger.