Quarter 4 (October - December) 2007 News Archives
Saturday, December 29, 2007. SC: Mackey's handling of legal case questioned Man who hired attorney running for sheriff's office says attorney did no work on his builder dispute. Case was stuck in arbitration for a year.
Saturday, December 29, 2007. TX; Nat'l interest: No Kiss Goodbye KB Home abandons valley as sales of new homes plummet
Friday, December 28, 2007. MI: Information Wanted On behalf of its members, Citizens is currently collecting information on the misconduct, or possible misconduct, of the following Michigan attorneys, law firms or judges... (Be sure to see MI articles directly below, too.)
Friday, December 28, 2007. MI: You Tube: Judge Martha Anderson Show Cause Hearing for Contempt See "Nightmare" series and You Tube video below, too
Friday, December 28, 2007. MI: Judge Martha Anderson Paul Nicoletti PPO's Relevant to "Nightmare" series from MI directly below
Friday, December 28, 2007. MI: Nightmare on Highbury Court, Part 2 Metro Times series on construction nightmare with contractor Salavtore Viviano.
Friday, December 28, 2007. MI: Nightmare on Highbury Court PART 1: Rerun for reference to this week's PART 2 above
Friday, December 28, 2007. ID: UPDATE on Tom Hanks' construction defect case Arbitration, lawsuits, etc.
Friday, December 28, 2007. US: The Ten Best Public Policies of 2007 So how did Americans lose the right to trial by jury? Mandatory arbitration clauses in many contracts would be unenforceable if the ARBITRATION FAIRNESS ACT passes.
Friday, December 28, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud Current news of indictments, etc, includes some builders
Friday, December 28, 2007. PA: UPDATE: Binsack warrant close to expiring With charges of insurance fraud, bad checks and harassment against jailed homebuilder Scott Binsack plodding their way through the court system, one of the warrants holding him in jail is a month away from expiring.
Friday, December 28, 2007. MI: Governor may sign builder law Building contractors who illegally leave their customers with shoddy work or who rip off homeowners will be subject to additional scrutiny and possible harsh punishment under a new set of laws signed approved by the Michigan Senate this week. (Enforcement will be key. --Ed._
Friday, December 28, 2007. World: The finger of suspicion In America and elsewhere trial lawyers, state prosecutors and regulators look for the crime in subprime: This time, investors are aiming not only at mortgage lenders, brokers and investment banks but also insurers (American International Group), bond funds (State Street, Morgan Keegan), rating agencies (Moody's and Standard & Poor's) and homebuilders (Beazer Homes, Toll Brothers et al).
Friday, December 28, 2007. CO: Fox Crossing developer takes excavator to court Fox Crossing Partners requesting jury trial on what they believe is improper billing from earthmoving subcontractor Condon Construction. (What? No arbitration clause???)
Friday, December 28, 2007. CA: Builder's Demise Threatens Homeowners UPDATE on Dunmore Homes bankruptcy
Friday, December 28, 2007. Patrick.Net: Housing Crash News Current news articles
Friday, December 28, 2007. Seeking Alpha: Housing Market News Current news & commentary
Friday, December 28, 2007. US: Builders put on bankruptcy watch list TOUSA, Beazer, and Hovnanian among builders that may face bankruptcy in 2008
Friday, December 28, 2007. US: Top MDC execs reap bonuses Homebuilding company CEO and president get $2 million each, despite bad year
Friday, December 28, 2007. US: Campaign Attack Ads The Worst Way To Choose A President Homebuilder Bob Perry at it again.
Friday, December 28, 2007. DE: Deadline nears for registration of home-repair contractors New Castle County to require $400 license fee to cut down on contracting scams: Of estimated 23,000 contractors who do business in area, only 250 have registered so far.
Friday, December 28, 2007. OK, MO: Subcontractor charged for falsifying workers' information H&H Drywall Specialties of Tulsa charged in MO for falsifying Social Security numbers to keep from paying taxes.
Friday, December 28, 2007. IEQ Review: Grande Bay Condo Owners Allege Mold, Structural Issues in second suit Owners being forced to close despite incomplete work, lack of promised amenities and substandard materials
Friday, December 28, 2007. Dallas Morning News: University Park may require fire sprinklers in new homes But some homebuilders' representatives oppose it, citing costs, proper use and liability issues.
Thursday, December 27, 2007. TX: Houston Homebuilders and the BBB
A search of the Better Business Bureau website in Houston has resulted in the following table for about 40 builders. Note that no builder is a "Texas Star Builder", a program promoted by the TRCC. Out of 26,000 homebuilders in Texas, only 40 are Texas Star Builders. Also note that the research on the Houston BBB's site was performed on Dec 16, 2007. The results could be updated, so check before making any decisions.
Monday, December 24, 2007. Nat'l interest: Hidden deals distort market Disguised incentives skew property values as the paperwork no longer accurately reflects what buyers paid.
Monday, December 24, 2007. VA: While properties crumbled, bankers looked the other way CM Development's case highlights a lesser-known problem: Subprime loans - usually granted to borrowers with poor credit - also made housing fraud a whole lot easier.
Company falsified about 80 percent of documents.
Monday, December 24, 2007. Motley Fool investing site: Housing's Mess Makers If you think housing's on its keister only because of mortgagers' misdeeds, you've let a half-dozen other culpable groups off the hook.
Monday, December 24, 2007. UPDATE on Arbitration w/Storey Construction: Former Contractor Sues Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson Again Hanks alleges work was unacceptable, defective.
Sunday, December 23, 2007. MN: Bank fraud suspected in Ramsey's Town Center plan Sandison pocketed thousands of dollars through a kickback scheme with the appraiser hired for the project,
Sunday, December 23, 2007. MN: Suicide note helps unlock Town Center scandal Weeks before Renne hanged himself, he told investigators he had been inflating fees on appraisals for Community National so its president, Ross Sandison, could pocket the difference...
Sunday, December 23, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Southern Chase | Clinging to home, hope Ongoing story of investigations and lawsuits over Beazer Homes mortgages
Sunday, December 23, 2007. AZ: UPDATE: Builder agrees to pay state $7M Illegal blading of more than 200 acres of state trust land, destruction of several Hohokam sites, deaths of 21 bighorn sheep. Be sure to read the "comments" section at end, too.
Sunday, December 23, 2007. Consumer Affairs: Fed Endorses Lending Protections A case of closing the barn door after the golden geese have run away
Sunday, December 23, 2007. Real Estate Journal: How Hidden Incentives Distort Home Prices Builders', sellers' incentives can mask discounts.
Sunday, December 23, 2007. FL: This Is the Sound of a Bubble Bursting So much paper wealth wiped out so swiftly
Sunday, December 23, 2007. US: Mandatory arbitration stacks deck against you How many of you would give up your rights to get a cell phone that works, a car that runs properly, or a home repair that actually fixes what was wrong?
Saturday, December 22, 2007. CA: Dunmore brothers face lawsuits, alleged defaults UPDATE: Builder bankruptcy. Company names:Dunmore Homes, GSJ Co. LLC, Dunmore Communities and Dunmore Capital.
Saturday, December 22, 2007. IL: Wonder Lake hires law firm for Neumann proceedings UPDATE: builder bankruptcy
Saturday, December 22, 2007. YOU TUBE: Video: Crooks Avove, Crooks Below Mortgage fraud and identity theft.
Friday, December 21, 2007. MSN: States step up demands to collect restitution Info on what states are doing to collect court ordered restitution to be paid by guilty or at-fault parties. If you have a judgment against a builder or the state has charged him/her criminally you may want to look into this as there could be some tips here.
Friday, December 21, 2007. AR: Builder looking to court for relief Tim McMahon filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection citing between $ 1 million and $ 10 million owed to 279 creditors.
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Home Builders Creating Phony Propped-Up Home Sale Prices KB, Lennar, others, distorting true sales prices
Friday, December 21, 2007. World: Housing Crash News
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Lawyer rating sites wins free speech case AVVO.com wins.
Friday, December 21, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: Pro-arbitration site: Five Ways to Bind a Non-Signatory (to arbitration) -- But Not The CEO of a Party Those five theories under which a non-signatory could be bound to an arbitration agreement: incorporation by reference, assumption, agency, veil-piercing/alter ego, and estoppel.
Friday, December 21, 2007. MA: Contractor Found Guilty of Criminal Charges Michael J. Corda sentenced to state prison
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Wall Street: crimes or misdemeanors? The so-called sub-prime mortgage crisis was predictable and predicted, preventable, but not prevented. Greed, arrogance, criminal conduct, negligence, and fraud threaten to go unpunished.
Friday, December 21, 2007. PA: Group nails down help Non profit group Remodeling Rescue tries to help victims of contractor scams.
Friday, December 21, 2007. MO: Construction firm owner indicted on mail fraud, bribery Joseph Kuchar, owner of four undisclosed area construction companies...
Friday, December 21, 2007. HI: UPDATE: Waimea developer can't pay his debts Fred Yamashiro d/b/a Fredco Inc. and Menehune Development Co. Inc filed chapter 7 bankruptcy
Friday, December 21, 2007. AZ: Developer pays big in eco-damage case George H. Johnson and partners agreed to pay state a record $12.1 million to settle lawsuit that accused them of polluting state's water, bulldozing protected land, fatally infecting bighorn sheep and destroying archaeological sites.
Friday, December 21, 2007. IL: Homeowners inherit Neumann tax debt UPDATE on builder's bankruptcy
Friday, December 21, 2007. Nat'l interest: Tom Hanks' & wife's construction defect case with Storey Construction of Idaho The general contractor who built the couple's posh Sun Valley, Idaho, getaway between 2000 and 2002 and was promptly accused of doing "substandard and defective work" sued Hanks and Wilson on Friday, accusing them of seeking revenge against the company because they were forced through arbitration to pay for the work.
Friday, December 21, 2007. CA: Police search for mother and son team suspected of contractor fraud Mary Agnes Stewart, 62, and son Joseph Cunningham, started demolition of home then fled without providing materials or work
Friday, December 21, 2007. IL: Wentzville housing developer pleads guilty to bank fraud Eric Johnson, Providence on Peine, Providence Meadows, Woodsmill Estates
Friday, December 21, 2007. VA; Nat'l interest: Delegate seeks better high-rise fire safety In response to a fatal high-rise fire in a senior center last year, one Richmond lawmaker has proposed what she hopes is a solution, albeit a costly one: retrofitting buildings with sprinkler systems....Opponents include the Home Builders Association of Virginia
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Centex paid lobbyist $180,000 in 2007 For federal energy and mortgage-related reform legislation
Friday, December 21, 2007. OH: KeyCorp warns of loss, cites home-builder loans Ohio’s third-biggest bank will post first quarterly loss in six years on bad loans to home builders
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Dominion president quits as woes mount Company's stock has continued to decline
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Dominion Homes faces NASDAQ delisting Company out of compliance with NASDAQ rules because its stock hasn't held minimum market value...
Friday, December 21, 2007. MI: New home builder laws stiffen Michigan's regulations Home builders will face new laws requiring more training, higher licensing fees and tougher enforcement June 1.
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Q. What is a "puffer"? A...Some developers have recently been accused of quietly hiring professional puffers to boost the prices of homes that they have sold at public auction.
Friday, December 21, 2007. IN: Banks sue Harvest Homes Being taken to court for about $2 million it owes on homes it has built.
Friday, December 21, 2007. FL: Briton Jailed for Us Visa Scam Florida plan involved selling clients construction companies with which they could erect houses for themselves as licensed builder for Royal Development.
Friday, December 21, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: LEVITT AND SONS Bankruptcy News UPDATE; not endorsing the site, which asks for money for more info, but what it gives free is still informative
Friday, December 21, 2007. FL: Builder Levitt reaches deal: Pact could affect area development construction stopped in October and houses sit unfinished
Friday, December 21, 2007. Wall Street Journal: Fraud Seen as a Driver In Wave of Foreclosures Another source, with diagrams, of article posted earlier today.
Friday, December 21, 2007. AZ: Initiative may give new homeowners 10-year warranty AZ's attempt to restore some consumer protection to a home purchase, but will "warranty" be like those policies that railroad homeowners into arbitration and really protect the builder more than the homeowner? Remains to be seen.
Friday, December 21, 2007. Nat'l interest: Fraud seen as a driver in wave of foreclosures Prosecutors called scheme sophisticated. Three builders who where defendants in case are not charged.
Friday, December 21, 2007. US/Canada: Champion buys Canadian modular home builder for $114M SRI homes acquired.
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Builders/sellers incentives Distorting Home Prices Fraud, false reporting to government agencies, misleading documentation.
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: SEC investigating ... Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and UBS for mortgage-securities pricing; Washington Mutual for inflated appraisals.
Friday, December 21, 2007. US: Mother Jones writes about arbitration again Abusive processes with arbitration clauses continue to take away all kinds of citizen's rights, including arbitration clauses in builder & warranty contracts.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Fed plan follows state, federal legislation Summary of real estate related changes, etc.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. US: D.R. Horton Execs Get $1.6 Million Bonuses Each even though the company suffered heavy losses
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. NJ: Homebuilder Reports 400 Billion+ Loss in Fiscal Fourth Quarter Hovnanian Enterprises: potential buyers pulled out of contracts at 40 percent rate
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. FL: Levitt and Sons to stay operational on Wachovia deal UPDATE: agreement will allow bankrupt builder limited operations for 23 months
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. FL: Borrowers sue new owner of Coast Stuck with mortgages and unfinished homes, they go after First Banks Inc.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. US: Beware of 'freebies' in buying home Watch for the gotchas. A builder will often try to steer you to an affiliated mortgage lender...
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. US: Legalized Gambling In Homebuilders Meanwhile, insiders are cashing out options hand over fist for as long as they can. What a racket. The whole game is nothing more than legalized gambling but sadly most of the participants don’t even realize it.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. FL: Bank of America files foreclosure suit against builder Sterling Communities Eager to recover $20.5 million it lent developer
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. CA; Nat'l interest: Foreclosures ravage neighborhoods and communities From East Oakland to North Richmond to Discovery Bay several newer developments now bow under weight of abandoned foreclosed homes.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. VA; Nat'l interest: Foreclosure crisis continues For the most part, the town foreclosures occurred in the newer housing developments.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007. MI: Letter to Editor RE: "Nightmare on Highbury Court," part one of a homeowner's horror story about bricklayer Salvatore Viviano, which we posted last week. Look for part two the week of Christmas.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. VA: Foreclosure crisis continues in Culpeper He, like other real estate professionals, attributed the high rate of foreclosures to the “criminal” and “unethical” lending practices of national lenders attached to national builders in which people were approved for loans that they couldn’t realistically afford.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. FL: Homeowners Denied $500 Gift Cards Promised by America's First Home Upon Move-In (Which will be the least of their worries now that the builder is closing its doors.)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. KS: Resident 'throws away $30,000' on project Contractor horror story about John Earnshaw, owner of Heritage Property Development in Lenexa, also owner of Cross Timber Construction
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. MN: Cannon Falls couple wins the arbitration (But probably won't collect a dime)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. US: Consumer Law Blog Articles on arbitration, subprime bailout, etc.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. OF Two Minds: Bailout: Could Government Actually Be Part of the Solution? Another view of the housing situation and bailout.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. Washington Post: The Color of Money Anti-Scam Message Hits YouTube
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. US: Federal Reserve Would Allow Reckless Lending to Continue, Says Center for Responsible Lending FRB's rules are riddled with loopholes. Rather than eliminating the root causes of the subprime foreclosure crisis, which in turn would encourage a truly competitive market for home loans, the FRB's proposal permits many dangerous subprime lending practices to stand.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. Wall Street Journal: When Suing Your Boss Is Not an Option More on the ongoing efforts to expose potential bias, problems, with binding mandatory arbitration clauses in all kinds of contracts. While this is about employment contracts, the clauses are common in house purchases and warranties.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. Washington Post: FBI Probes Virginia Mortgage Scam Better link, possibly, to D.R. Horton/mortgage fraud investigation below.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. US: UPDATE: Neumann Homes bankruptcy Neumann Homes' creditors seeking $286.9 million
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. VA: FBI Probes Virginia Mortgage Scam D.R. Horton one of subjects of investigation into development full of foreclosures after mortgage fraud scam.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. NC: Developer of three burned houses missing Court records show Robert Gore has been sued several times for not paying contractors and suppliers. Neighbors have had numerous problems with him. "He's had a lot of people to sue him because of his houses," she said. "He hasn't followed through with anything he's done for the houses. He builds them, then as soon as he closes, he never finishes anything that's on anybody's punch list."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. US: Toxic living in FEMA trailers? FEMA employees ordered to stay away from trailers while hurricane survivors endure effects of lethal chemicals.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. CO: Mortgage prepayment fees limited Toll, who took over the job last year, has been aggressive in fighting mortgage fraud and what she calls a foreclosure "epidemic." (Erin Toll, formerly head of state insurance dept, is same person who went after builders, others, for illegal title insurance kickbacks. --Ed.)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. US: Fed Reserve Shrugged As Subprime Crisis Spread Until the boom in subprime mortgages turned into a national nightmare this summer, the few people who tried to warn federal banking officials might as well have been talking to themselves.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. US: Fed proposes new rules to clean up mortgage lending Proposals will be open to INDUSTRY feedback before being finalized by the Fed which regulates US banks and lending institutions. (Maybe that's the problem--the fed is listening to the INDUSTRY that caused the mess in the first place. --Ed.)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. KS: MORE on MILLER case Fourth defendant pleads guilty in $25 million bank fraud: conspirators created false loan applications and documents to qualify borrowers
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. FL: Home builders should pay fees Writer wants builders to pay fees for roads to new developments, environmental impact etc, and sees local govt letting builders out of fees as other citizens being forced to subsidize "socialism for the haves."
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. AK: Nine charged with mortgage fraud Biggest fraud scheme prosecuted in Alaska involves players from all segments of the local real estate industry including buyers, sellers, agents, appraisers, mortgage and title companies, and builder Jonathan Ruf.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. US: New-home defects often missed A commonly held fallacy is that all construction defects will be discovered by municipal building inspectors....those who buy new homes should not forego the benefits of a thorough (independent) home inspection.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007. TX: Homeowners sling mud in lake dispute. Of course the developer, Affiliated Crown Development LTD, claims they never promised a lake, yet the video shows park benches, a fishing pier, and a big ass hole filled with mud. If they didn't promise a lake to these homeowners, what were they building?
Monday, December 17, 2007. us: Business fights to keep mandatory arbitration When it's their turn to sue, though, you rarely find companies racing to private judiciary system
Monday, December 17, 2007. US: Ryland Announces Change in Board of Directors Paul Varello has resigned
Monday, December 17, 2007. Charlotte Observer: UPDATE: Observer coverage triggering action Reports on Beazer Homes, others, focused on the roles of builders, mortgage companies and a real estate agency.
Monday, December 17, 2007. CA: Rat episode in La Quinta called 'freaking nightmare' Defect in Trans West home created "in" for rodents.
Monday, December 17, 2007. US: Bills aim to get consumers their day in court: Arbitration Fairness Act UPDATE "People from all walks of life -- employees, investors, homeowners, those enrolled in HMOs, credit card holders and other consumers -- often find themselves strong-armed into mandatory arbitration agreements," said Sen. Russell D. Feingold
Monday, December 17, 2007. CNN: Next steps for FHA bills Both bills take aim at appraisal scams.
Monday, December 17, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: Business loans now rarer and cost more Banks that were aggressively lending to home builders are finding that defaults are impairing their other lending services.
Monday, December 17, 2007. US: Beware of home sellers' freebies Beware of incentives, being steered to use builder's affiliated lender, etc.
Monday, December 17, 2007. TN: Three in Sumner County, Tenn., Indicted For Mortgage Fraud Scheme According to the indictment, Mr. Stafford, the owner of Stafford Lease Group, Stafford Holding Group and Keys to Success, agreed with the builders and sellers of the 22 luxury homes to find buyers who would purchase the homes at prices that were $10,000-$165,000 more than their original asking prices.
Monday, December 17, 2007. US: Mortgage-Relief Plan Divides Neighbors Wall Street Journal
Monday, December 17, 2007. CA: Investors own about one-fifth of Bay Area homes in foreclosure Easy money through no-questions-asked subprime mortgages allowed almost anyone to become a real estate speculator.
Monday, December 17, 2007. US: Deception hits mortgage market once again Thousands of older Americans could be steered into inappropriate loans, just as millions were lured into now-shaky sub-prime loans.
Monday, December 17, 2007. US: Have you been scammed or cheated by a company? Site wants horror stories.
Monday, December 17, 2007. KY: UPDATE: FBI Investigates Northern Ky. Homebuilding Firm SMI Property Management and SMI New Home Solutions are owned by Mark Wheatley: "white collar crime."
Monday, December 17, 2007. KS: UPDATE to MILLER case: Stilwell builder pleads guilty in $25 million mortgage fraud scheme Steve Middleton, 46, admitted that he had conspired with builder F. Jeffrey Miller and others to manipulate home buyers, inflate appraisals and falsify loan applications submitted to federally insured lenders.
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: Testimony of F. Paul Bland, Jr., Staff Attorney, Public Justice On the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007: Private arbitration companies under great pressure to devise systems that favor corporate repeat players who draft the arbitration clauses
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: Senator Feingold's statements about the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007. Miami Herald: Avoid trouble by never waiving right to go to court Consumers increasingly finding clauses about mandatory arbitration in contracts they sign, including mortgages and building contracts. Learn more about these clauses, and what options you have, on Consumer Sense, airing Tuesday through Dec. 31 on Cable TAP...
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: Judge halts foreclosures, mortgage bailout plan, arbitration, etc Consumer Law blog, current news/commentary
Friday, December 14, 2007. TX; Nat'l interest: When a house is liening When builders/sellers don't pay for work or supplies on construction, the new owner can get stuck paying twice due to liens.
Friday, December 14, 2007. CA: Victims of 2003 California wildfires lend their expertise to the latest burned-out homeowners Getting past the anger and avoiding scams: "We're trying to teach these people that you need to be your own best advocate."
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: Builder WCI's Chief Financial Officer to leave WCI struggled in slumping market, posting $69.7 million loss...
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: Levitt chief financial officer has resigned Parent company of troubled homebuilder Levitt and Sons which is bankrupt.
Friday, December 14, 2007. KS: UPDATE: Recent court document on MILLER CASE This is a PDF file, re: Steve Vanetta, a party in the mortgage fraud case against F. Jeffrey Miller, Miller Enterprises, Star Land Development, and other individuals and companies involved. Trial was postponed and is still pending.
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: Home mortgage bailout more political expediency than viable solution Author has five reasons to doubt plan.
Friday, December 14, 2007. Nat'l interest: Countrywide Faces Probe On Questionable Loans Two state's AG's allege suspicious lending practices
Friday, December 14, 2007. Nat'l interest: Mortgage lender Ameriquest settlement checks on the way Average settlement check in Washington $1,130
Friday, December 14, 2007. Mortgage Bailout USA: More lifeboats Strangely, a homeowner also can be disqualified if he has improved his credit score by 10 percent. Why should good credit behavior be punished?
Friday, December 14, 2007. Motley Fool Investment site: Senate Passes Taxpayer Subprime Bailout Bill liked by banks, builders, and homeowners in over their heads, but not so well liked by anyone else.
Friday, December 14, 2007. MI: Michigan Senate votes to increase penalties on builders Could include doing prison time.
Friday, December 14, 2007. KY: MORE on the SMI builder fraud case Kentucky Secretary of State's office shows Mark Wheatley as principal in 18 different companies, including SMI home building and management firms in Northern Kentucky.
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: UPDATE on Haliburton/KBR assault case RE: more reasons to hate arbitration clauses Though not about housing, the damage done by an arbitration clause is clear, and these clauses are in all kinds of contracts including home purchases and warranties.
Friday, December 14, 2007. Mother Jones: The Quest for a Car, Sans Arbitration Clause "Car" could easily be switched for "House" in this article about how corporations leave consumers no realistic choice but to accept arbitration clauses in consumer contracts, which takes away their right to the courts as "guaranteed" by the U.S. Constitution's seventh amendment.
Friday, December 14, 2007. KY: FBI Investigates Northern Ky. Homebuilding Firm FBI agents executed search warrants at offices of SMI Property Management....sources have told 9News this is a fraud probe and reminds them of Bill Erpenbeck case. (See HADD's news archives for Erpenbeck fraud articles. --Ed.)
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: Housing Plan no Panacea for What Ails the U.S. Housing Sector Because a bailout - by definition - keeps free-market forces from clearing the subprime sludge out of our economic system, it could actually exacerbate the housing and mortgage mess over the long haul.
Friday, December 14, 2007. Mother Jones: UPDATE: Corporate Enemy No. 1: State Attorneys General New York state attorney general Cuomo issued subpoenas against lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of investigation into whether mortgage company Washington Mutual had been inflating home appraisals to generate more income. Move sent stock market downward and business world in an uproar.
Friday, December 14, 2007. NY: Cuomo Breathes New Life Into Real Estate Bureau Real estate attorneys say that, since 2005, they have been unable to get the office to follow through on complaints filed against developers who refuse to fix buildings with shoddy construction.
Friday, December 14, 2007. NJ: Metro Homes' pullback: Blip or a bellwether? Reader comments on builder's failure show public isn't fooled by pattern.
Friday, December 14, 2007. IL: Governor’s former top fundraiser indicted 12-count federal indictment against Christopher G. Kelly alleges the wealthy Burr Ridge roofing contractor concealed more than $1 million in personal income and more than $300,000 in business income from Internal Revenue Service...
Friday, December 14, 2007. TX; Nat'l interest: Texas Supreme Court: precedent-setting decision Denies insurer's argument that home builder's CGL policy does not cover accidental property damage caused by subcontractor's allegedly defective work.
Friday, December 14, 2007. US: ARM Freezer Plan Designed to Help Banks Not Homeowners Ultimately, people in secret Paulson meetings probably less worried about saving mortgage market than saving themselves....country deferring to Paulson and heads of Countrywide, (etc) as best group to work out solution. No one talking about fact these people created problem and profited from it.
Friday, December 14, 2007. TX: Abuse of Arbitration by NASA Contractors. Halliburton and many contractors who make their living and profits off of government contracts have been given the right to deny employees their Constitutional rights as a prerequisite to employment. This includes NASA contractors.
Thursday, December 13, 2007. MI: Michigan Senate votes to increase penalties on builders Unlicensed builders and those whose work doesn't meet code requirements would face increased penalties. Repeat offenders could see $25,000 in fines and two years in prison.
Thursday, December 13, 2007. IL: Countrywide under Illinois probe Subpoenaed by state attorney general, lender was already under scrutiny by SEC, in lawsuits...
Thursday, December 13, 2007. US: A Massive Bank Fraud that Calls for Jail Terms The public is confusing (and being encouraged to confuse) the housing bubble of the last half-dozen years with the sub-prime mortgage fraud. They are different animals and the criminals of the latter are trying mightily to cover themselves with the blanket of the former.
Thursday, December 13, 2007. VT: Contractor to be tried for fraud David Rounds charged with bilking several homeowners out of more than $58,000
Thursday, December 13, 2007. AZ: Small group of protesters rallies against Pulte (Workers claim) homebuilder and its contractors provide poor working conditions and unfair pay.
Thursday, December 13, 2007. Charlotte Observer: UPDATE on Sold a Nightmare series Panel wants homebuyers to learn of incentives in writing
Thursday, December 13, 2007. CNN: Builders' lobbyist: We made too many homes Chief of NAHB says overbuilding by some was one factor in housing meltdown: Of course, overbuilding was hardly only force that contributed to housing bubble, meltdown. Lenders loosened underwriting standards. Buyers took out loans on homes they couldn't afford, for investment purposes. Real estate agents convinced buyers prices couldn't go down...
Thursday, December 13, 2007. US: Leading Advocate for Mold Victims Needs Help Mrs. Sharon Kramer has worked tirelessly for the past 4 years to advance public recognition of mold related illnesses ... She has been working toward Congressional hearings into the conflicts of interest in medicine that have stifled and confused the understanding of these illnesses.
Thursday, December 13, 2007. US: Senate, and the Bar, Rethink Mandatory Arbitration Blog's author asks, "Does anyone out there have an arbitration war story to tell?" Comments can be posted, doesn't even require registration.
Thursday, December 13, 2007. BLOOMBERG: Business Fights for the Tilted Arbitration Field You shouldn't have to give up your constitutional rights to public courts as a condition of entering into a transaction.
Thursday, December 13, 2007. US: The Flight from Arbitration: An Empirical Study From 2006 but relevant to Bloomberg article above.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. NY: Toxic Mold Task Force Starts Work in New York Toxic molds can produce several toxic chemicals called mycotoxins that can damage health.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. FL: Judge Guts Suit Against Impact Fees Dismissed major portion of lawsuit by Polk County Builders Association that contended $8,596 impact fee for Polk schools unjustified.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. WI: State's high court deadlocks on development case Wisconsin Supreme Court deadlocked today on important case for developers after its newest member recused herself because her campaign was supported by them.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. NC: UPDATE: More real estate disclosure likely Illegal incentives; Realty Place maintained a close relationship with builders after vowing to protect clients from them.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. US: UPDATE: SEC Requires Beazer to Disclose Mortgage Details LIUNA is also using shareholder resolutions to seek mortgage practice disclosures from Lehman Brothers, the Ryland Group, Washington Mutual, Bear Stearns, Standard Pacific, and others.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. US: Senate hearing on Arbitration Fairness Act Mandatory binding arbitration clauses "most anti-consumer practice allowed by law"
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. US: Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Arbitration Fairness Act legislation that would ban mandatory, binding arbitration clauses in consumer and employment agreements.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. MI: Nightmare on Highbury Court Family's plans for dream home turned into nightmare when they hired contractor Salvatore Viviano. Part I. Watch for Part II next week.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. US: Construction Litigation blog Useful info/articles/cases
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud Blog Attorney's news site, daily news
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. US: Patrick.Net Housing Crash News daily
Wednesday, December 12, 2007. US: Seeking Alpha Housing Market news and commentary, updated daily
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. US: Borrowers may lie, hurt credit, for Bush plan-report borrowers that do not qualify for a government plan aimed at stemming a tide of home foreclosures may resort to lies or even trash their credit scores to access the plan's benefits and avoid higher interest payments, a CreditSights report said
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. US: Subprime mortgage fix doesn't address the cause (Mortgage bailout plan) amounts to dispersing a few politically well-timed crumbs while protecting the banking system status quo that enabled such lending practices to begin with.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud Lawyer's blog, current news, indictments
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. US: MORE: LIUNA Achieves Victory in Aggressive Effort on Behalf of Shareholders, Workers and Homeowners In Precedent-Setting Ruling, SEC Requires Beazer Homes to Place a LIUNA Proposal Seeking Full Disclosure of Its Mortgage and Housing Market Investments on its Proxy Statement for Shareholder Consideration
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. US: UPDATE on Beazer investigations, lawsuits: may be forced to reveal more on proxy Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) won fight to put shareholder resolution on Beazer Homes USA's annual proxy to mandate more detailed disclosure of Beazer's mortgage investments.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. US: D.R. Horton cuts exec bonuses after losses Bonuses for Chairman Horton and CEO Tomnitz "cut" to (a mere) $1.59 million each (Boo Hoo!)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. FL: UPDATE from last week: More charges filed in pot-growing operation Racketeering added to charges against Global Home Builders Inc
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. US: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/Kellog Brown and Root (KBR) "In recent testimony before Congress, employment lawyer Cathy Ventrell-Monsees said that Halliburton won more than 80 percent of arbitration proceedings brought against it." (ARBITRATION clause in employment contract means case probably won't see a courtroom, and evein if guilty, rapists could go free. Corporations often have the advantage due to repeat business w/arbitrators. Though the article is not about homebuilding, it's another example of why consumers are damaged by arbitration clauses which they often have little or no choice to reject in the real world, e.g. for a HOUSE, HOME WARRANTY, job, credit card, computer, medical care, etc.)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Firefighters to seek sprinkler requirements in some NC homes Development interests, including the N.C. Home Builders Association, generally oppose sprinklers
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. WA: Strange Bedfellows The conservative organization of homebuilders is one of the single biggest sources of political contributions in the state.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. Nat'l interest: Toll Scorched in AZ One of biggest residential development projects in Arizona history quietly turning into major bust. Homebuilders involved in deal -- Toll Brothers, Meritage.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. KY: Lexington builder Angelucci files for bankruptcy Might affect 16 recent buyers
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. HI: Hawaii builder's woes put halt to 132 homes Fred T. Yamashiro, d/b/a Fredco Inc: Subcontractors walk off job because they were not paid; homebuyers may be out hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. US: Consumer Law blog Current news/commentary on subprime mortgage mess, mandatory binding arbitration, etc.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007. TX; Nat'l interest: VIDEO: Lemon Tree Tower In 2003,Lemon Tree Tower was going to be one of Houston's "Newest Landmarks". By 2007, it's turned to one of Houston's worst nightmares as owners lost their new homes and their health.
Monday, December 10, 2007. NJ: Builder admits giving Marlboro mayor $100,000 in bribes Millionaire developer Anthony Spalliero pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court to paying $100,000 in bribes in a scheme that, when it came to light, brought down the municipal government of Marlboro.
Monday, December 10, 2007. US: The Unintended Consequences of the Housing Bubble Bursting Proving fraud, after all the emails have been deleted and the hard-drives crushed and the paper trails shredded will be very difficult, indeed. The "innocent" bankers will point to the rating agencies like Moodys, who will point to the mortgage underwriters and brokers, who will point to the originators and the appraisers, who will promptly declare bankruptcy or point to the realtors who forced them to support inflated valuations.
Monday, December 10, 2007. US: No hope now President's HOPE NOW program neither "hope" nor "now," nor will it ease mortgage crisis. If elected officials really want to get involved in helpful way, they must take steps to ensure mortgage industry is purged of fraud.
Monday, December 10, 2007. US: MORTGAGE MELTDOWN Interest rate 'freeze' - the real story is fraud:
Bankers pay lip service to families while scurrying to avert suits, prison
Monday, December 10, 2007. Wall St. Journal: Dissecting the Bailout Plan Is it a bailout? The stock market sure thought so. Stock prices of mortgage companies and homebuilders soared on the news. After all, the plan was designed by and for those same companies -- key members of the "Hope Now Alliance."
Monday, December 10, 2007. US: Let's Raise the Hood on Mortgage Lending Author wants congress to investigate lending industry (which includes builders with in-house lenders).
Monday, December 10, 2007. US: Just Part of the Cycle The real danger is not that the nation's homes will become more affordable, but that the government will do something foolish in a quest to artificially maintain high housing prices.
Monday, December 10, 2007. US: Financial Rape: Mortgage Servicing Industry Screwing Consumers Congress, courts, legal system, bent over backwards to placate business, particularly banks, builders, mortgage companies. Now, chickens coming home to roost on rotten eggs...entire nation to be suffocated by stench.
Monday, December 10, 2007. FL: North Port goes after abandoned construction sites Estimated 1,200 abandoned sites...Demolishing abandoned structure can take years. Sites often entangled in legal actions, from bank foreclosures to lawsuits by contractors, others with money invested.
Sunday, December 09, 2007. TX: Texas Homebuilders Commission deceives again. The Commission reported that it provided assistance to 4,000 Texans at one trade show event. This number, however, was based on the event’s entire gate count (reported by the event’s coordinators) rather than on an estimation of the actual number of people the Commission assisted or to whom it provided information during the event.
Saturday, December 08, 2007. Nat'l interest: Home industry guarded about bailout Homebuilders would sell spec homes 10 at a time to investors...foreclosures probably buyers who bought new homes...about two-thirds of builders use adjustable rate for their in-house mortgages.
Saturday, December 08, 2007. Orlando Sentinel: Problems? This builder ignores them Buyers problems with builder Ashton Woods' mortgage company: Buyers received copy of mortgage application submitted by Ashton Woods. They were shocked. Numbers on app bore no resemblance to information on prequalification form they signed same day they spoke to mortgage rep. Their income was inflated by nearly $53,000; they were credited with two SunTrust accounts they do not have...Ashton Woods refused to return their deposit
Saturday, December 08, 2007. Counter Punch: Christmas Presents for New Orleans, From HUD Bulldozers for the Poor, Huge Tax Credits for Wealthy Developers
Friday, December 07, 2007. NJ: Maldanis v. B.G. Pools, Inc., Statutory claims, such as Consumer Fraud Act claims, are not arbitrable under New Jersey law unless the arbitration agreement unambiguously states that parties agree to arbitrate all statutory claims
Friday, December 07, 2007. Charlotte Observer: BB&T hid $20 million real estate scheme Banks involved in Village of Penland development said they were duped, but former employee claims BB&T participated in fraud by lending money for lots that were clearly overvalued.
Friday, December 07, 2007. US: Bush bailout rewards the cheaters Michael Sichenzia spent four years in prison for mortgage fraud; claims in many cases, liars weren't homebuyers but brokers who filled out loan applications for them....Instead of bailing out borrowers and lenders, how about simply enforcing the laws? How about prosecuting everyone from the heads of Wall Street's banks down to the hustling brokers and appraisers?
Friday, December 07, 2007. NV: Homebuilder Sells Subdivision as Rental After turning an eight-acre infill site here into a gated community of 92 single-family residences, regional builder Signature Homes opted to rent them out instead of trying to sell them...
Friday, December 07, 2007. Consumer Affairs: Some Home Prices Could Fall 30 Percent While falling home prices may be painful for homeowners, many economists say the price declines may be the only real cure for the housing market.
Friday, December 07, 2007. US: Housing; Saved or Sunk? The housing crash was as predictable as December snow in the Rockies. The government remains thankful that American’s recollection of history is somewhere around two weeks ago.
Friday, December 07, 2007. Counter Punch: Will the Free Market Kill Suburbia? Far from being what the market wants, sprawl is a Ponzi scheme that depended on the securitization of mortgages into pools mixing form, content and risk into an unrecognizable hash.
Friday, December 07, 2007. AK; Nat'l interest: Million-dollar developments sink into foreclosure Unfinished homes, Industry observers say problems stem as much from bad business decisions as from difficult markets.
Friday, December 07, 2007. MN: NOTICE OF MORTGAGE FORECLOSURE SALE NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that default has occurred in the conditions of a mortgage dated June 20, 2005, executed by Rock Creek Designers & Builders, LLC...
Friday, December 07, 2007. US: Lennar Shares Fall On Analyst Downgrade Risky joint ventures and prospect of additional land write- downs.
Friday, December 07, 2007. IL: Marengo developer faces 23-count federal fraud indictment Indictments allege John M. Volpentesta, Volpentesta Construction, defrauded customers and investors out of more than $1 million.
Friday, December 07, 2007. US: Consumer Law and Policy Blog Current news and commentary on mortgage bailout, drawbacks of arbitration clauses, etc.
Friday, December 07, 2007. US: Flipping Frenzy Current news and commentary on housing issues, mortgage bailout, loan fraud, etc.
Friday, December 07, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud Blog Current news, arrests. Attorney's blog.
Friday, December 07, 2007. TX: Investigators charge 37 in Houston mortgage fraud scheme MORE: Ringleaders, Obbie Toliver Sr. and Joyce Toliver. Scheme involved buyers, mortgage brokers, construction company owners. Businesses named in warrant: Magic Processing, Magic Financial Services of Houston, Your Processing Center.
Friday, December 07, 2007. US: Patrick.net's Housing Crash News Interesting collection of today's news on housing bust.
Friday, December 07, 2007. US: Seeking Alpha Housing Market News Interesting current news, commentary
Friday, December 07, 2007. TX: 37 Accused In Fraudulent Mortgage Loan Case Toliver family scam: Secret Service heading investigation
Friday, December 07, 2007. Journal Record: Homeowner a misnomer as equity fell to all-time lows during boom 100% financing, push for homeownership for everyone, and home equity loans a problem even before housing crash. Bailout won't help.
Thursday, December 06, 2007. US: Mortgage Plan Brings Rally For Homebuilders Punting ultimate solution off for few years will take few loans off table, but becomes next President's problem.
Thursday, December 06, 2007. CA; Nat'l interest: Is this a great country or what? This shouldn't be the time for Washington to get its paws into the mortgage regulation game (where was the administration a few years ago when intervention might have done some good?).
Thursday, December 06, 2007. NY: Civic Protests Illegal Home Protesters demanded Buildings Department take more aggressive action to punish developers who flout building code — including refusing to grant permits to those, like Huang, with long history of violations.
Thursday, December 06, 2007. Forbes: Toll Brothers Reports $81.8 Million Loss Investors hope Bush plan to freeze rates on adjustable mortgages will give homebuilders a brighter spring.
Thursday, December 06, 2007. US: Bush Plan to Ease Foreclosures supported by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). (NAHB press release on Reuters.)
Thursday, December 06, 2007. US: Taxpayer Group Urges President Bush: Don’t Impose Price Controls on the Housing Market “Everyone is for free markets when times are good — borrowers, lenders, builders, investors, manufacturers, retailers. As long as they are making money, they want the government to stay out of their affairs. Cut regulation and taxes, and they are happy. But the moment someone goes bust, money gets tight, or the economy slows, people start screaming for a bailout.”
Thursday, December 06, 2007. Nat'l interest: How to protect against a homebuilder's bankruptcy Crippling liens, no warranty. The buyers "can't move in, they can't get their deposit back and they can't get out of the contract."
Thursday, December 06, 2007. Nat'l interest: Missing link in mortgage mess Courts, bankers and real estate broker collusion
Thursday, December 06, 2007. MSN: Homeowner bailout is a lousy idea Is it really desirable to provide easier money to people and companies that got into trouble by abusing their access to money in the first place?
Thursday, December 06, 2007. Of Two Minds: Exhaustion, Jobs and Housing (Paulson's 5 year bailout plan) not "solution to keep homeowners from losing homes," it's a blatant attempt to keep lenders/investors solvent by chaining underwater/negative equity owners to debt-serf machine.
Thursday, December 06, 2007. Of Two Minds: Trends and Countertrends Housing did not double and triple in a decade based on fundamentals of supply and demand-- it tripled on speculative fever. Ditto for every bubble in every era.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007. Nat'l interest: Report Finds California a Top Destination for Human Traffickers Forced labor racket extends into many industries incl. construction.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007. NJ: Shoddy Construction tab picked up by City (taxpayers money) Camden to buy 21 townhomes, possibly to demolish them. Properties developed by defunct Lanning Square West Neighborhood Corp. Fraught with defects, city inspectors fined for passing inspections of units.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007. KS; OK: Couple's rebuilding effort interrupted by absent contractor Rebuilding after torndado, Oklahoma City General Contractor Alfred Soulek leaves Kansas homeowners with unfinished home.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Beazer says payment issue was `overblown' Ongoing series
Wednesday, December 05, 2007. NEW BOOK: Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets By Barry LePatner, New York lawyer specializing in construction cases. Industry will become efficient only when its customers become savvier and more demanding.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007. NY: UPDATE: Mold task force hears about hidden hazard State Toxic Mold Task Force held its first meeting to come up with recommendations for rules on mold.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007. Insurance Journal: Bill Would Provide Incentives for States to Enforce Stronger Building Codes U.S. Reps. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., and Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., are cosponsoring the Safe Building Codes Act of 2007 that would create incentives for states to adopt and enforce heightened construction standards to help protect communities against damaging natural disasters.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007. US: The Mortgage Mafia Feeding on the Homes and Hopes of Americans
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. FL: Housing sector 'grows' (UPDATE on Global Home Builders case) Builder found lucrative sideline in housing bust: Growing marijuana.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. MSN: Subprime bailout The plan hatched by government and industry is also intended to benefit investors who purchased these risky mortgages.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. Business Week: Help May Be on the Way Skeptics abound re: housing bailout plan. Reader comments at end of article are interesting.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: New groups get in ring as energy bill nears vote Energy-efficiency proponents expected to lose a key provision: a new building code standard to increase efficiency of homes and businesses. The language, which home builders lobbied against, would be the equivalent of removing 35 million cars from the road in terms of greenhouse gas avoidance
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Fraud Blogger Another Mortgage industry fraud blog
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Kimball Hill debt ratings lowered Moody’s raised concern about Kimball Hill’s inventory of unsold property and said “cash flow generation will be largely insufficient to repay any significant amount of debt.”
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. CBS News: No Fence To Protect Against Foreclosures Gated Communities Hit Hard By Mortgage Crisis
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. KS; Nat'l interest: MORE on Pulte pulling out of Kansas City Article has link to "Lenexa Woman: New House Is Falling Apart," a Pulte construction defect story.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. WI; Nat'l interest: Local companies say they’re owed more than $30,000 Neumann Homes bankruptcy update: liens on homes
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. KS; Nat'l interest: Pulte Homes pulling out of Kansas City The phased withdrawal will being in about three weeks. Homeowners concerned about future "warranty" service.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Flipping Frenzy Blog with current news, commentary, on mortgage mess & real estate fraud.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud News of arrests, indictments, scams, etc
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Housing Crash Current News articles on 'bailout,' etc
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Housing Market News, commentary of the day
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Paulson's Plan Nothing but Lip Service (Yet another view) Does any government scheme ever work?
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Critiquing the WSJ on Subprime (Another view) Media Hype That Misses the Point
Tuesday, December 04, 2007. US: Subprime Interest Rate Freeze: More Hypocrisy "They fight regulation at every turn, but when the market has to cleanse itself, they step in and stop the process. True hypocrisy. And in return, what will these banks get? Let me guess, an implicit promise to be bailed out by the Fed."
Monday, December 03, 2007. US: Easy loans mean painful losses Broken promises, inflated prices
Monday, December 03, 2007. US: Subprime debacle traps even very credit-worthy Analysis raises pointed questions about practices of mortgage lenders.
Monday, December 03, 2007. Realty Check: Builders, mortgages, more Commentary on current issues by CNBC's Diana Olick
Monday, December 03, 2007. US: Housing Crash Current news articles
Monday, December 03, 2007. US: Countrywide CEO seeks government help (More from the housing/finance industries who wanted to keep govt out of our lives, now crying for a bailout to keep the bubble going. --Ed.)
Monday, December 03, 2007. AR: Contractor at air base promising payments Under the harsh glare of national and congressional scrutiny, American Eagle Communities LLC on Wednesday suddenly an-nounced that it would pay about $778,000 of the $2.4 million the company allegedly owes contractors and suppliers for its now-abandoned housing-privatization contract at Little Rock Air Force Base
Monday, December 03, 2007. US: McMansions Meet the Mortgage Crisis Pricey enclaves of privilege becoming hotbeds of disillusionment.
Monday, December 03, 2007. US: Builder dumps homes in Morgan Stanley deal In another sign of the collapse of the market for new homes, builder Lennar Corp. has dumped a portfolio of 11,000 properties for 40 percent of their previously-stated book value.
Monday, December 03, 2007. US: Loans are Subprime, not Borrowers Nearly half of homeowners with subprime mortgages could have qualified for prime-rate loans...shows how much the steering problem has worsened.
Monday, December 03, 2007. Multi state: Blogger asks for more info on numerous complaints found on builder RW Hertel
Monday, December 03, 2007. MA; Nat'l interest: When Contractors Fail to Pay Subcontractors Lawyer has suggestions for preventing liens, which often mean homeowner pays for work twice.
Monday, December 03, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud Blog News, indictments; attorney's blog.
Monday, December 03, 2007. Readers' Digest: House Wrecked? What to do if the foreclosure crisis hits close to home.
Sunday, December 02, 2007. Ca: Dispute locks out home buyers City of Sanger refuses to give its final OK to builder's new houses: "This is a case about a developer who has failed to comply with the conditions of approval for the subdivision. This goes way beyond the completion of the public improvements,"
Sunday, December 02, 2007. Nat'l interest: Then Came Isaiah Mold story about a baby affected by seizures.
Sunday, December 02, 2007. Nat'l interest: Investigation reveals exploitation of vulnerable Allegations that one man took advantage of an old woman losing herself to Alzheimer's. That man had a lot of help. "The companies that fed off her decline are part of a financial-services industry that targets people...
Sunday, December 02, 2007. CO: GOP, papers, chamber out of step with voters Maybe it has something to do with the lack of front-page editorials criticizing former Gov. Bill Owens' and the GOP when they protected home builders from the financial consequences of shoddy construction practices.
Sunday, December 02, 2007. NY; NJ: More Marnell mess Families out more than $100,000. Builder Chris Marnell took deposits for new homes and left them with empty graying frames, weed-strewn lots and township's "stop construction" orders...
Sunday, December 02, 2007. MD: State Attorney General Enters Settlement Agreements with Builders 14 builders agreed to pay penalties to settle allegations they violated Maryland's building laws
Friday, November 30, 2007. MSN: Getting rich off the subprime mess Burry had been seeking ways to make money by betting big against the mortgage industry's reckless home-lending practices.
Friday, November 30, 2007. Nat'l interest: Moldy Business Hidden camera investigation into some mold remediation companies.
Friday, November 30, 2007. US: Freezing Mortgage Rates Is Not the Answer No lessons learned when buyers (and mortgage companies) are saved from bad decisions.
Friday, November 30, 2007. US: US mortgage rescue plan may help or harm builders Would basically amount to taxpayer bailout of dumb lending...Word of proposed plan sent home builders' shares soaring.
Friday, November 30, 2007. CO: Osborn linked to grand jury probe Denver condo developer Erik Osborn embroiled in legal and financial problems that include criminal grand jury investigation and millions of dollars in liens and lawsuits related to projects.
Friday, November 30, 2007. US: Housing CEO pay led to reckless behavior Executive pay structure that rewarded U.S. home builders for short-term performance has contributed to country's deepening mortgage crisis...Reckless lending, overbuilding have brought housing market to its knees
Friday, November 30, 2007. Builder Online: Subprime Bailout May Be Coming Soon Just as predicted by HADD and others: bailout packaged as consumer protection, is really a handout to industry that created mortgage mess. What was that about consumers wanting the nanny govt to take care of them??? --Ed.
Friday, November 30, 2007. CA: UPDATE: Lender cries fraud over Dunmore Homes sale Mortgage loan officer purchased bankrupt Dunmore Homes for $500: bargain-basement price has one of company's major lenders crying fraud, suing for payment of outstanding loans and punitive damages.
Friday, November 30, 2007. Professional Roofing Mag: Determining damages Written from a roofer's perspective, article is still potentially useful re: how damages are determined in legal cases.
Friday, November 30, 2007. MI: More on Michigan mortgage fraud and regulation Diverting money from the policing mortgage companies is latest example of state's laissez-faire attitude toward industry...state examiners uncovered evidence of massive fraud conducted by loan companies, only to find investigation ignored by county prosecutors and Michigan Attorney General.
Friday, November 30, 2007. US: Homebuilder CEOs outearn other chiefs CEO pay in the hard-hit U.S. home-building sector is high compared with most other industries...while billions in shareholder value have been wiped out
Friday, November 30, 2007. AZ: Mortgage inquiries swamping Arizona Arizona shut down handful of firms for fraud and other illegal lending practices, but at least 40 other investigations stalled because there is no money to fund them.
Friday, November 30, 2007. MI: Editorial: Better regulations would help with mortgage crisis While state has undergone meltdown in housing, state lawmakers raided $7 million out of $9 million fund paid for by fees from mortgage industry to help state examiners handle complaints...Lack of enforcement of existing laws has made matters worse. Residents have lost their homes through outright fraud and forgery. These crimes are already on the books, but prosecutors and investigators reluctant to take cases because their impact, while devastating to individuals, are not of sufficient financial magnitude.
Friday, November 30, 2007. US: Fix federal bill The 1999 N.C. General Assembly produced an outstanding law on predatory mortgage lending that might have helped the nation avoid its current credit crisis had similar legislation been in place nationwide.
Friday, November 30, 2007. MD; US: Consumer group offers homebuying tips HADD's president Nancy Seats interviewed.
Friday, November 30, 2007. Newsday.com: Officials try to discover source of mold in Westbury Not clear what caused extensive water damage throughout complex that's forcing hundreds to leave...most construction completed when inspectors aren't watching. Architects and engineers certify own work, swearing projects comply with codes.
Friday, November 30, 2007. TN: Pratt pleads not guilty to fraud charge Workers Comp insurance fraud and running illegal worker ring.
Friday, November 30, 2007. US: Settlements highlight misdeeds Rigged appraisals, lax underwriting and toxic loan products not only issues causing problems in residential real estate. Feds and state regulators targeting other housing-related misdeeds that can cost consumers big money -- especially involving under-the-table kickbacks among builders, real estate brokers, loan officers, mortgage bankers and title insurers. Buyers and sellers are rarely aware of the cash changing hands...
Thursday, November 29, 2007. KS: MORE on MILLER case update today This version allows reader comments to be posted.
Thursday, November 29, 2007. US: Handing Out Tax Dollars at the Labor Department Millions in grants given without proper procedures to organizations including Associate General Contractors (the trade association of the construction industry) and the Home Builders Institute (an affiliate of the National Association of Home Builders)...
Thursday, November 29, 2007. US: UPDATE: Fort Bend Homebuilder Prepares For Possible Chapter 11 Filing By Parent Newmark Homes, corporate parent TOUSA Inc
Thursday, November 29, 2007. LA: Builders angered by unlicensed contractors Builder alleged to be illegal immigrant and unlicensed contractor built, or was building, residences of substandard quality, while paying workers in cash and failing to keep proper insurance or pay taxes
Thursday, November 29, 2007. US: First American Title Insurance Co. To Pay $5 Million In Penalties More on ongoing cases of sham title agencies, illegal kickbacks to real estate agents, mortgage brokers, banks and home builders
Thursday, November 29, 2007. NJ: Trenton contractor charged with shoplifting Roman Chmielinski allegedly paid Home Depot employees to help him load his truck with building supplies and bypass the cash register
Thursday, November 29, 2007. MN: UPDATE on Parish Marketing & Development mortgage fraud case Court-appointed receiver will dispose of Parish Development
Thursday, November 29, 2007. KS, MO, AZ: UPDATE to MILLER case in KS: Identity theft charges filed in bank fraud case New charges filed against one defendant in $25 million bank fraud case involving Kansas City area homebuilder F. Jeffrey Miller. Lanny Ross faces two counts of aggravated identity theft in connection with house appraisals. (One of the companies involved in case is Star Land Development which is also in AZ. --Ed.)
Thursday, November 29, 2007. FL: UPDATE: Builders said to run pot farms Investigators say Global Home Builders Inc. laundered the drug profits and helped its pot growers obtain fraudulent mortgages to buy houses, which company employees would outfit with elaborate indoor gardens, shuttling supplies between Home Depot and the grow houses in trucks bearing the company logo.
Thursday, November 29, 2007. FL: MORE: Global Homes pot growing houses Investigators also suspect some of the mortgages used to pay for the homes were obtained fraudulently
Thursday, November 29, 2007. FL: UPDATE: Global Home Builders case Article has links to documents.
Thursday, November 29, 2007. FL: UPDATE: Global Home Builders founder confirmed as probe target Investigators are sorting through mortgage records and other documents seized in raids to determine whether Cepero, who served two federal prison terms before starting Global Home Builders, was involved in the sons' and grandson's alleged marijuana cultivation and drug trafficking organization
Thursday, November 29, 2007. US: Housing Crash Current News
Thursday, November 29, 2007. US: Housing Market Current News/Commentary
Thursday, November 29, 2007. TX: GOP Trial Lawyer says homeowners are whiny little bitches. In defending arbitration, before being challenged on his defense, he claimed homeowners would rather have a jury so they could whine and cry in order to win a case. Not only is that absolutely absurd since most cases never go to trial, and most homeowners never take the stand, and most homeowners never get a chance to have a jury trial because of mandatory arbitration, it was absurd because it was demeaning, and ......absurd!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. PA: UPDATE: New Charges Against Lackawanna County Builder Scott Binsack Prosecutors said Binsack is the one who is kidding himself if he doesn't think he is guilty.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. IEQ Review: Mold forcing residents out brand-new luxury complex Reconstruction and fixing the mold problem is expected to take at least one year.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. FL: Home building brothers among 20 arrested in St. Lucie drug bust Roberto Alberto Cepero and Raul Alfredo Cepero, of Global Homes Builders. (UPDATE to news posted yesterday and today.)
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. Nat'l interest: More condo owners in South Florida failing to pay fees Neighbors must make up the money when condo owners don't pay their share of maintenance fees and special assessments...Many delinquents are investors walking away, or owners who can't afford adjustable-rate payments.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. MI: Metro Detroit's foreclosure explosion linked in part to mortgage scams Danny Stokes used to sell drugs, before he discovered it was safer and more lucrative to sell mortgages.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. Charlotte Observer: http://www.charlotte.com/business/story/381405.html 68% cancellation rate
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: Levitt and Sons winding down UPDATE on builder's bankruptcy affecting homebuyers, lenders in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: UPDATE: Bankrupt Levitt and Sons gets OK to abandon unsold lots Loan amounts exceed their value
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: A Lemon Court MORE: Arbitration clauses in contracts (e.g. house purchases, etc) not good for consumers.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: UPDATE: blogger discusses Global home builders drug arrest Building Market is Rough - Homebuilder (Global Homes) in Port St. Lucie Turns to Drugs and Kiddie Porn
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: Cash Back at Closing’s Connection to Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud Just one of many schemes con artists use
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. Charles Hugh Smith Blog: This Old McMansion Former builder notes problems in newer construction.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. MA: Construction contract & defect articles By MA attorney
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. World: Housing Crash Current news
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: More Mortgage Fraud News New articles today
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. NY; Nat'l interest: UPDATE: Cuomo: We’ll Fight Motion Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s said today that they will fight a motion Monday by a major real-estate appraiser to dismiss Cuomo’s lawsuit that alleges the company colluded with banks to inflate the value of homes.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. PA: Bankrupt Mortgage Company Executive Expected To Plead Guilty Snyder was a no-show Tuesday for a bankruptcy meeting with homeowners in Reading.
About 400 homeowners at the meeting were told it's not likely they'll be getting any money back and banks could foreclose.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: Underwriting & Fraud Significant Drivers of Subprime Defaults Lax underwriting and fraud may account for as much as one-quarter of the underperformance of the 2006 Subprime transactions
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. OH: Two sentenced in connection with mortgage fraud case Builder and developer, Edward Emery admitted he would nearly finish half million dollar homes, then set up an arrangement where people would get paid for work that was never done.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. Realty Check: Housing Crisis: So Many Reasons Why It's Here Diana Olick of CNBC
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: The New Savings and Loan Crisis Scary Parallels Between Then and Now
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: Banks Gone Wild But even as the danger signs multiplied, Wall Street piled into bonds backed by dubious home mortgages. Most of the bad investments now shaking the financial world seem to have been made in the final frenzy of the housing bubble, or even after the bubble began to deflate.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: House mortgage bill doesn't offer bailout Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. US: Renters Face Eviction as Lenders Foreclose on Properties When landlord doesn't pay for house, their lender forecloses, often giving renters only days to vacate, even though they've paid rent on time.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007. TX; Nat'l interest: GOP Trial Lawyer says homeowners are whiny little bitches. After spending the rest of his time advocating for mandatory binding arbitration, loaded with simple minded defenses and wrong information, he finally disclosed he was a arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association with a vested interests in continuing forcing parties into arbitration.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. FL: UPDATE: Global Homes involvement in drug bust Authorities said that the case is still under investigation and that the charges being considered are much more than just drug charges.
"Besides mortgage fraud, we're looking at potential child pornography charges and a number of other issues," said Chief John Skinner with the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. US: Beazer CEO: Legal woes have hurt bottom line Federal investigations, pending lawsuits, two of every three buyers cancelling.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. MD: Former contractor gets 6½ years for corruption in Bromwell case Stoffregen pleaded guilty to giving Bromwell contracts, doing construction work at senator's home and paying his wife a salary for a job she didn't have.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. PA: Home repair fraud admitted Robert P. Westwood, Quality Construction, R&C Contracting, took money, didn't do the work.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. AZ: New water-supply rules in Pima County County will look at future water use before deciding whether developers can build
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. Charlotte Observer: UPDATE on Beazer Homes mortgage problems 68 percent cancellation rate: Beazer subject of federal criminal investigation and formal inquiry by Securities and Exchange Commission, along with lawsuits by shareholders, customers, employees.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. FL: Cops raid 18 St. Lucie homes, arrest 10, including builder More: Authorities arrested 10 people, including the owner of Global Homes...Officials said arrangement bore similarities to previous busts in which immigrants were offered homes on condition they operate indoor pot farm.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. FL: Law enforcement officials shut down 10 alleged marijuana grow houses More on Global Home Builders involvement in pot growing bust: Investigators also recovered cocaine, cash and firearms
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. FL: Piecing together big pot bust Global Homebuilders was base of operations in marijuana growing bust.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. US: Which Homebuilder Stock Goes To Zero First? We aren't going to make a determination yet as to which ones will live and which ones will bite the dust. Unfortunately you can't even trust the balance sheets right now because there is simply no way to calculate the off-book transactions, the value writedowns that each will fess up to, and how many of these homes that were juiced-up and sold above market with rebates and incentives
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. FL: UPDATE: Buyout approved for ailing Coast Financial Holdings Nearly $80 million in loans are overdue. Many of them involve borrowers with investment homes who stopped making payments when their builders went out of business and left unfinished homes.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. US: Blog article re: foreclosure article below True Sale, False Securitizations: Ohio Federal Court ruling has been getting tremendous amount of attention.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. US: Foreclosures Hit a Snag for Lenders Complex structure and disparate ownership of mortgages in foreclosure have made it harder for borrowers to work out troubled loans. Recent OH court ruling also required those trying to foreclose to prove legal ownership before they couold seize the property.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. Mother Jones: Suckers Wanted Businesses are Taking Away Your Right to Sue. (Reader comments at end, too.)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. MI; Nat'l interest: Foreclosure crisis to pinch everyone, mayors' report says With more subprime loans still to reset at higher rates, problem will worsen
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. TN; Nat'l interest: My Jim Walters Home Home buyer's bad experience with Jim Walters Homes.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. World: The human face of the lending crisis French report of the U.S. Housing crash. Click on video.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. US: PDF: Policy Holders of America newsletter Mold in homes, insurance issues, more.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007. US: Home inspector's role: working for the buyer Home inspector writes from his perspective about real estate agents' org's lobbying to change laws. Real estate agent organizations exist for sole purpose of protecting and furthering interests of their members, NOT home buyers.
Monday, November 26, 2007. NC: Crime, falling property values plague Southern Chase subdivision Beazer Homes community aimed at first time homebuyers. Over past two years nearly 25 percent of the homes foreclosed
Monday, November 26, 2007. WA: Charges sought against contractor Christopher Kelley, one of state’s most heavily fined contractors, continued to work and rack up fraud and theft accusations
Monday, November 26, 2007. OR: Builders put heat on buyers with cold feet Williams & Dame Development and Gerding Edlen Development fighting in court to hold on to thousands of dollars in earnest money deposits placed by would-be buyers who failed to close deals.
Monday, November 26, 2007. US: Citigroup Downgrades Home-Builder Sector; Stocks Fall Bankruptcies, investigations, lack of demand for new houses, etc.
Monday, November 26, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud NEWS
Monday, November 26, 2007. World: Housing Crash NEWS
Monday, November 26, 2007. Washington Post: At Home, but Not in Their Own "In the last four years, rent became a four-letter word. No one wanted to rent. They looked down upon it . . ." said Larson. "I think a lot of people just assumed buying makes sense. They drank the Kool-Aid and unfortunately are finding themselves now in a tough spot."
Monday, November 26, 2007. US: The Bubble Man Video on the housing bubble
Monday, November 26, 2007. IEQ Review: Mold: A silent, dangerous threat to homes and health Dr. Richard Lipsey, a mold toxicologist says it can kill you. He says while cases of fatalities involving mold are rare, there is no ignoring the symptoms of people exposed to dangerous levels of mold.
Saturday, November 24, 2007. US: Dominion shares drop below $1 after homebuilder posts another loss Third-quarter loss of $15.3 million
Saturday, November 24, 2007. US: Developer should have revealed radon problem The nondisclosure of a material fact by the seller is a violation of the law.
Saturday, November 24, 2007. US: Senators' Attitude on Housing Relief: What's the Rush? By Kenneth Harney: FHA Reform, etc.
Saturday, November 24, 2007. US: Contracting? Cover Your Bases. By Benny L. Kass: Contract considerations when hiring contractors/builders.
Friday, November 23, 2007. PA: Guilty as Charged Robert L. Dodsworth owned or invested in three businesses the government alleges played key roles in mortgage-fraud scheme. RLD Enterprises; A&M Homes owned by Erie contractor Gregory M. Finney; K&D Enterprises, which Dodsworth operated with local developer Frank Kartesz II.
Friday, November 23, 2007. OH; KY: UPDATE: Ex-Fischer contractor arrested Pratt's sentence was longest meted to eight people arrested last year during crackdown on use of illegal immigrants in Northern Kentucky's home-building industry.
Friday, November 23, 2007. NYC: Battle of Toxic Mold: Kaity Tong Vs. Condo Conversion New York City local news personality Kaity Tong forced out of home.
Friday, November 23, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: UPDATE: Left In Limbo Levitt and Sons bankruptcy big mess for home buyers. Some lost thousands in deposits, others lost warranties, some getting threatening letters from Levitt's creditors.
Friday, November 23, 2007. US: Freddie Mac sued over mortgage problems did not adequately implement risk control measures to protect company from acquiring billions of dollars worth of mortgages with poor underwriting standards.
Friday, November 23, 2007. US: Will Bush Take Bows for Destroying the Dollar? Money generated from building booms built upon unstable, sub-standard loans. Heaven for dream team of fast-talking shady realtors, unethical bankers and builders.
Friday, November 23, 2007. FL: Prosecutor wants more prison time for contractor fraud Roscioli's sentence, Mulqueen wrote, ''depreciates the seriousness of the offenses committed,'' and ''does not serve as a deterrent to either [Caprista] or other like-minded individuals who routinely take money from [people] for construction work but never provide the services.''
Friday, November 23, 2007. CA: UPDATE: City Council praises decision by state agency to look into Runkle Canyon Proposed KB Home development with possible contamination.
Friday, November 23, 2007. Nova Scotia, CANADA: Residential construction industry comes under scrutiny Biggest complaint is poor workmanship such as leaky pipes and water penetration from outdoors...no process to protect buyers from substandard builders.
Friday, November 23, 2007. MI; Nat'l interest: Housing slump wallops condos Developers shelve projects
Friday, November 23, 2007. Counter Punch: Scroll down to: "Who Lost America's Everglades?" The responsibility lies squarely with production homebuilders, the Growth Machine and political enablers in the Florida legislature and local governments, a tsunami of political fealty built, we now know, on Chamber of Commerce enthusiasms backed by liar loans, mortgage fraud, and a Ponzi scheme of financial derivatives totaling hundreds of billions for which no one will go to jail.
Friday, November 23, 2007. TX; Nat'l interest: No ducking truth behind Perry’s gift Illegal campaign donation came Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who has had his fingers in a lot of GOP fundraising pies in recent years.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007. US: Bottom line for home buyers is price - and not much else matters Consumers see through "fluffy incentives," just want lower price.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007. US: Explanation of Attorney Fees (Article lays to rest some myths about who pays for the laywers. --Ed.)
Wednesday, November 21, 2007. FL: City of North Port legal costs may exceed $1 million Builders suing city to get out of paying fees or fines, running up legal expenses footed by taxpayers.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007. Charlotte Observer: UPDATE: Panel: Reveal bonuses to homebuyers Observer investigation found Realty Place maintained close relationship with builders after vowing to protect clients from them. Company records showed -- and former employees affirmed -- company funneled buyers into low-priced starter-home developments, many now plagued by foreclosures.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007. VA; Nat'l interest: Builder bows out Wade, who in his more than four decades of local building has survived ups and downs, says he too thinks the market will rebound this time-- but he believes it will take a couple of years. And even then, he says, it may never return to the old "normal," which he says was driven by demand, not greed.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007. TN: Mortgage fraud scheme results in three arrests The scheme: According to the indictment, Stafford, the owner of Stafford Lease Group, Stafford Holding Group and Keys to Success, agreed with the builders and sellers of the 22 luxury homes to find buyers who would purchase the homes at prices that were $10,000-$165,000 more than their original asking prices...
Wednesday, November 21, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: BANKRUPTCY UPDATE: Levitt and Sons' bankruptcy leaves Orlando-area buyers without homes Financial collapse of builder left people stuck with unfinished houses, liens against their properties, unopened clubhouses and community pools, and warranties that could be worthless.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. US: New Home Builder Mortgage Companies Scam Home Buyers Daily They were building bad product, overpricing it, and getting their own employed to rubber stamp the value.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. PA: UPDATE on Scott Binsack builder fraud case Owner of Mansions & Estates, writer of bad checks
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. CO: Dream home has owner in a world of poop New house by Engle Homes flooded with raw sewage soaking carpet, trim, walls and unpacked boxes in basement. Engle is subsidiary of TOUSA which is considering filing bankruptcy.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. NC: Builder in panel seat slated for consumer An N.C. Real Estate Commission member has appointed a home builder to a spot reserved for consumers on a committee discussing rules changes to protect real estate customers. (More foxes guarding the henhouse. --Ed.)
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. OH: Absentee builders won't care for back yard of property they own According to city, letters informing them of code violations have gone unanswered.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. US: Prepare for More Housing Bull Author tears into housing spin
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. AR: Indebted builder to sell off his assets Aaron Nickell, wife Tammi, and businesses Aaron Nickell Homes, Woodworks Plus, Nickell Investments, PTB Concrete: Filing Ch. 7 bankruptcy
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. CA: UPDATE: Dunmore Homes Bankruptcy judge has allowed builder to borrow up to $500,000 from its former CEO
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud News, indictments
Tuesday, November 20, 2007. World: Housing Crash News
Monday, November 19, 2007. Realty Check: Housing Sentiment Report: Don't Blame The Media For Bad Times I don’t recall anyone blaming the media for the good times.
Monday, November 19, 2007. US: Struggling Homeowners Faced With Hidden Mortgage Fees If mortgage company provides legal documents, they can be extremely difficult for average consumer to decipher and retaining a lawyer often doesn't make financial sense if disputed charges are less than legal fees.
Monday, November 19, 2007. MI: Protesters target developer Roof and gutter company launched unusual public protest against developer of housing project. "Doing Business With Sable Homes Does Not Pay." Says Sable owes his company $237,000.
Monday, November 19, 2007. US: Mortgage fraud cases yield tough sentences Man received 40 years in prison for his role in skimming scheme
Monday, November 19, 2007. US: 27 More Foreclosures Dismissed As to the real ramification of the Ohio decision, aside from slowing the foreclosure trains, is that the fact that there were no “original” assignments rendering the sales of the mortgages to the trusts, in violation of the true sale obligations imposed by securities law.
Monday, November 19, 2007. NY: Dreams delayed and maybe lost Five families say builder Chris Marnell of Marnell Homes left them with nothing but broken promises and canceled checks
Monday, November 19, 2007. US: Subprime debacle an ethical low If reputations are at stake, why didn't reputable vendors police their own industry?
Monday, November 19, 2007. Nat'l interest: First Homes/Hovnanian cases UPDATE
Monday, November 19, 2007. FL: Here's a holiday feast of housing hoaxes Stick the next case in the dumb-as-a-sheet-rock file. Trans-eastern Homes, operating in Tampa as Engle Homes, is one of the builders lanced by bankruptcy rumors this month. Here's one reason: Transeastern was notorious for its high-pressure, cattle-call sales events. At one event at Saddlebrook Resort in Wesley Chapel, if you didn't sign up for a home quickly, you'd be exiled to the rear of the line.
Monday, November 19, 2007. MO: Attorneys flood courtroom chasing Guaranty Title funds The outlook is grim for banks, construction contractors and property owners hoping to wring money from the remnants of Guaranty Title Co., which was shut down by its underwriter in June after evidence of an alleged check-kiting scheme surfaced.
Monday, November 19, 2007. FL: Impact of housing downturn hits beyond Realtors, to retail Many of the business owners filing for bankruptcy protection already are well-know in the local real estate community.
Monday, November 19, 2007. US: Watchdog Blog Pros and Cons of Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2007 (H.R. 3915)
Monday, November 19, 2007. World: Subprime problems Current news/commentary
Monday, November 19, 2007. World: Housing Crash Today's news
Monday, November 19, 2007. MSN Real Estate: Developers helped build a bust The investment banks and their clients were rejecting builder-originated loans as too shaky and likely to go into default, Haas explains. Some homes were turning out to be worth less than builders had claimed, and some borrowers didn't have the income noted on applications.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. CA: Glad to see you could make it More on clean up of potentially toxic proposed KB Home site
Saturday, November 17, 2007. CA: UPDATE: State may oversee cleanup Proposed Runkle Canyon development may soon be subject to oversight from California Department of Toxic Substances Control, according to letter sent to KB Home.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. NJ: Rea estate magnate guilty in housing scheme Michael Eliasof, who for years exploited unsuspecting Paterson homebuyers while bribing low-level city employees, pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. CA: Meritage Homes shuts down Sacramento office (Still building elsewhere)
Saturday, November 17, 2007. TX: $1 million donation dogs (Gov) Perry to national stage With no public disclosure voters did not know that Houston home builder Bob Perry (no relation to gov. Perry) was association's biggest individual donor.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. FL: Businesses mobilize effort to defeat Hometown Democracy Builders cold call citizens and tell them to rescind their signatures on petition to control developers.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. Forbes: TOUSA trading to be suspended on NYSE before market opens Nov. 19 UPDATE on builder considering bankruptcy
Saturday, November 17, 2007. NJ.com: Con man contractor sentenced to prison "(Michael Caprista" is not a bad businessman. He's a con artist."
Saturday, November 17, 2007. NJ.com: Judge adjourns contractor case Michael Salavati d/b/a American Dream Home Improvement and Guardian Windows and Siding. Attorney General filed complaint after customers complained work was unfinished or shoddy.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. Market Watch: Realtors' excuse that negative media reports caused sluggish housing market getting old "Anyone who could breathe and walk could get a mortgage equivalent to 17 times their income," he said. "At the front end of the market are people who closed the loans and walked away with no responsibly and pocketed their checks."
The statement received applause from the Realtor audience to which he was speaking. But Tuccillo wasn't done yet.
"Why are you clapping? I'm including you,"
Saturday, November 17, 2007. Nat'l interest: Title company to pay $5M Regulators say that First American Title Insurance Co. illegally paid real estate agents, mortgage brokers, banks and home builders for referrals by making them partners in sham title companies.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. Nat'l interest: Home builders' woes inflict pain on buyers Customers face lost deposits, unfinished houses, more when developers collapse
Saturday, November 17, 2007. Wall Street Journal: Party at Joan's President of Public Citizen rebuts arbitration article: UPDATE from last week.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. AZ: UPDATE: Reader comments grow on "Builders call for relief on local home- impact fees" Consumer comments, some really good ones.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. US: Consumer Law Blog Several new articles on predatory lending this week.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. Consumerist: Beware "Newsvertising" Some TV "news" etc, is really corporate press releases. One of the reader comments at end specifically mentions builders.
Saturday, November 17, 2007. CANADA: UPDATE: House Nightmare The Bryden family faces losing their home to bad builder, lax code inspections. Despite defective work and house that is now condemned, the builder can sieze the property to get paid for his shoddy work, leaving the Brydens homeless.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. IL: Getting a safe and sound home Part 2 of 2, (1 was posted Nov 14): Get inspections on new homes too. (Article has some good info, particularly about failure of code officials to ensure houses are well built. But, falls short on the "do your homework" part, relying too heavily on sources we've learned are not as reliable as touted. Also "warranties" can be fraught with problems and should not be relied on to fix problems after closing. Get problems fixed BEFORE closing. -Editor)
Thursday, November 15, 2007. Nat'l interest: Mold "experts" paper exposed Anyone with a mold case needs to see this. It's several months old but bears repeating.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. TX: Homeowners Upset After Builder Pulls Out of Unfinished Subdivision D.R. Horton leaves empty lots and unfinished amenities.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: Engle Homes owner contemplating bankruptcy UPDATE on TOUSA Inc., which owns Engle Homes
Thursday, November 15, 2007. US: Fund files investor proposals with banks, builders Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), which manages $32 billion for 500,000 members, filed proposals to require mortgage-holding companies to disclose the types of mortgages they trade in and their value.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. AZ: Builders call for relief on local home- impact fees Tax payers'/Readers' comments priceless! (Article that triggered responses is available at top of comments--the headline)
Thursday, November 15, 2007. NJ: Swindling contractor awaits his sentencing Mark A. Tracey convicted.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. FL: Jackson County re-establishes construction board Resurrected in part because of incompetent contractors doing shoddy work, (but most of board comprised of builders, i.e. fox guarding the henhouse)
Thursday, November 15, 2007. FL: And yet another builder bites the dust. (We've lost count) Delta Homes files chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy; more homeowners left to deal with problems, lost money.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. MN; Nat'l interest: Corporate Dissolution Precludes Homeowners’ Construction Defect Claim Construction industry site: If link defaults to home page click on Resources, then Construction Newsletters, and scroll down to article.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. US: CEOs in Subprime Said 'Apres Moi le Deluge' There is a huge moral hazard built into the U.S. financial and corporate system when executives who screw up end up so well off.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. IL: Records show land swindler at it again -- from jail Disbarred lawyer runs land sale scam from his cell.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. TX: Lennar lied to homeowners By cutting corners to increase profits, Lennar willfully submitted a Builder's Certification that they had complied with HUD minimum standards, and falsified that there was no expansive soil.
Thursday, November 15, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: Eye on Miami The last thing in the world Miami should agree to, is bailing out the banks, the developers and builders who created the housing crisis in the first place.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. FL: Step up neighborhood search Orlando officials to ask builders to voluntarily test sites for unexploded bombs
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. OH: And yet another builder closes down C.V. Perry & Co: unfinished houses
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. FL: Another development with bombs and other contamination Forty-seven homeowners filed suit against Morrison Homes and Terrabrook Vista Lakes
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. OR: Cave Junction Couple's Home Disaster Retirement home began falling apart right in front of their eyes. ... According to a report by Butterfield Building Services, "standing water that had been under the home and continued moisture has created mold on the entire beam and support system" and that the douglas fir shims would "soon not be able to support the whole house."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. US: Mandatory Arbitration is Bad for Consumers It seems that every type of consumer transaction these days is governed by a mandatory arbitration provision. ... You may ask...what can I do? Here is your answer. Support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. Nat'l interest: In the fine print Binding arbitration clauses that few consumers understand are in the fine print of nearly everything we do today from buying a home to cell phone contracts.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. Nat'l interest: Builders brace for shakeout Bankruptcies and consolidation beckon for the hard-hit industry.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. IL; National: Are overscheduled building inspections putting homes at risk? 1st of 2 parts: Leaks, code violations, defects in newly built homes: "Many of these things just go totally undetected."
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. NJ: Ask the Lawyer Q. As a new home builder, do I have to warranty my work?
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. US: TOUSA mulls over filing for bankruptcy protection Home builder TOUSA Inc. which reported big third-quarter loss Wednesday said it is considering Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. TX: Homebuilder investigated for questionable business practices Defective homes, liens, mismanaged customers' money. Travis County District Attorney’s Office White Collar Crime Unit investigating Mike Kelly, owner of Primera Homes, who is now bankrupt.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. US: UPDATE: Levitt & Sons bankruptcy Builder may abandon thousands of lots; home buyers in limbo
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. US: Housing Worse, Despite Yelping NAR Sometimes you have to wonder what's coming out of the water cooler at National Association of Realtors (NAR) headquarters.
The past week has seen the trade group issue a slew of misleading press releases...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. US: Mothball Housing Strategy Doomed To Fail (Builders) Sitting on homes until "swollen housing inventory improves" is begging for trouble.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. NJ: Three charged in bribery, (real estate )money-laundering scheme Scher and Bell are charged with bank bribery, conspiracy and money laundering. Sinko, who was NOVA's outside counsel, is charged with conspiracy and money laundering.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. MI; Nat'l interest: Lending Act would limit homeownership for poor Many have paid price for errors, excess...should now let individuals and markets correct themselves. Macomb Daily
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. Business Week: Some homebuilders could end up bankrupt Some analysts foresee a shakeout similar to that of the early 1990s, when numerous builders went through bankruptcy, including Reston. Va-based NVR Inc. and U.S. Home Corp. of Houston, now part of Miami's Lennar Corp. A consolidation of weaker players may also be on the horizon.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. MD: Complaints mount against homebuilder Residents who bought new houses from McDaniels Homes of Lanham have a long list of complaints against the builder, ranging from shoddy work and delays to poor customer service.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. Wall Street Journal: When Home Builders Hit the Skids The tumbling housing market is claiming a new class of victim: customers of insolvent home builders....Levitt & Sons, Neumann Homes, Turner-Dunn Homes, and Kara Homes... Many other builders simply close up shop. Article describes unfinished houses, liens, unfinished streets, and more as problems for the home buyers.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. Wall Street Journal: Arbitrary Arbitration or Choice to Sue Letters rebutting a pro-arbitration piece that ran a few days ago.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud Indictments, convictions, scams in the news
Wednesday, November 14, 2007. PA: 'I hope he goes to jail' Robert L. Dodsworth, affiliated with A&M Homes and RLD Enterprises, tells home buyers his illegal loan scam is ok. House also had defects.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007. Nat'l interest: UPDATE: Levitt and Sons bankruptcy Worthless warranties, unfinished construction, liens, etc.
Monday, November 12, 2007. Canada: Family Held "Hostage" in Ontario over Building Dispute The new Chief Building Official and Deputy Building Official have examined the structure and agree with the four engineers that the structure is unsafe and that all deficiencies, previously approved, must now be corrected prior to the continuation of construction. ... The dispute with the contractor did not end satisfactorily. The judge gave no weight to any of the four engineering reports but instead ruled in favour of the contractor as "he has been building for thirty five years". Now the Bryden's are forced to pay the contractor for his shoddy work ($120,000 total) and then they must satisfy the municipalities' demands before moving forward with this home.
Monday, November 12, 2007. Nat'l interest: Developer, businesses target of lawsuit claiming unfair practices Federal lawsuit says Valley Community Homes and Norm Yop Realtors used a massive advertising campaign and deceptive sales practices to dump unsold home inventory. Other companies named in suit: Countrywide, Universal Mortgage, IRA Mortgage and Creative Mortgage, New Century, Cameron Financial Group and Wells Fargo
Monday, November 12, 2007. WI: Lien shatters homeowners' tranquility Title co fails to find liens on homes
Monday, November 12, 2007. Nat'l interest: FHA ban on down payment assistance put on hold Federal Housing Administration published a new rule banning down payment assistance in September from the seller, anyone who benefits from the sale, a third party reimbursed by the seller or someone else benefiting financially. (Articles posted earlier this fall, and last year, include IRS press release calling some of the programs a "scam." --Ed.)
Monday, November 12, 2007. Nat'l interest: CertainTeed Claim: A Double-Edged Sword
Monday, November 12, 2007. NV: Del Webb Class Action Lawsuit More than 6,500 homeowners... An investigation revealed that the homes had been built with defective copper plumbing lines, leading to the property damage lawsuit.
Saturday, November 10, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Beazer to delay some payouts to subcontractors Beazer is the subject of a federal criminal investigation and a formal inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission, along with lawsuits filed by shareholders, customers and employees.
Saturday, November 10, 2007. GA; Nat'l interest: UPDATE on Levitt & Sons bankruptcy 744-home subdivision for people 55-and-older in various stages of construction when work was halted.
Saturday, November 10, 2007. Nat'l interest: Specialized lawyers make a difference One-sided contracts, recovering deposit if builder goes bankrupt.
Saturday, November 10, 2007. CA: Call Kurtis: Heaving House Corinthian Homes/Reynan and Bardis
Saturday, November 10, 2007. TX: Jury awards $975K to buyers not told of house problems A jury in Judge Thomas Greenwell's 319th District Court found Coldwell Banker Pacesetter Steel liable for breach of contract, Deceptive Trade Practices Act violations, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentations and negligence. ... Coldwell Banker may not have to pay the full amount of $525,000 in penalty damages because it could only be charged for either the knowing or the intentional penalty, Rogers said.
The total amount of knowing and intentional penalty damages owed by Coldwell Banker to the Schlimmers will be determined at a later date.
Saturday, November 10, 2007. NC: Home inspection limits scuttled State regulators reversed decision to streamline home inspection reports, dealing rare setback to powerful real estate industry. About-face followed increasingly vocal outcry from home inspectors and Gov. Mike Easley, who warned that rule change could harm consumers.
Saturday, November 10, 2007. PA; Nat'l interest: Homebuilder’s clients say watchdogs asleep As he tried to deflect attention from his criminal history and rumblings about his business practices, homebuilder Scott Binsack used two powerful shields: the Lackawanna Home Builders Association and the Better Business Bureau. (A repeat post, but worth revisiting, relevant to BBB arbitrators' immunity article below.)
Saturday, November 10, 2007. TX: Heating, Air Workers Avoiding Background Checks HOUSTON -- Violent felons, ex-prisoners and other criminals are finding work as heating and air-conditioning contractors, thanks to a loophole uncovered by Local 2 Investigates.
Saturday, November 10, 2007. Nat'l interest: BBB Arbitration is Quasi-Judicial Hearing, Invokes Arbitral Immunity A state court in Florida held that an arbitration conducted by the Better Business Bureau regarding a complaint under Florida’s lemon law was a quasi-judicial hearing, and thus an arbitrator was afforded absolute immunity for acts in relation to the proceeding.
In Kidwell v. General Motors Corp....
Friday, November 09, 2007. FL: Homebuilder Levitt files bankruptcy In September, Levitt cut a third of its workforce, suspended developments. At that time, Levitt also said in regulatory filing it was in discussions with its lender to amend terms of loan agreements
Friday, November 09, 2007. St. Louis: Bill Taylor's fight to keep builder afloat Builder Taylor-Morley; contractors have filed liens against company.
Friday, November 09, 2007. AL; Nat'l interest: SCROLL DOWN TO: "Editorial had wrong focus" Letter to editor refutes myth of jackpot justice in preventable exploding water heater case that caused person to die over a period of several days from severe burns.
Friday, November 09, 2007. TX--TRCC: Home construction agency faulted for careless reporting With a board made up almost entirely of builders or those with ties to the construction and property industries, critics say the commission has failed to hold builders accountable.
Friday, November 09, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Beazer to delay paying subcontractors The Observer obtained a letter dated Nov. 5 and signed by Beazer's Nashville division President David Hughes, who said, "It is unfortunate, but we cannot continue the prompt payments you have received in past years."
Friday, November 09, 2007. LA: KB Home says it plans no future investments in Louisiana Will complete projects already underway within about seven months.
Friday, November 09, 2007. CA: Home builders mothball projects As troubles rise, major several Sacramento-area builders are shutting down
Friday, November 09, 2007. CA: UPDATE on proposed KB development, contamination Some residents continue to assert site unfit for development due to radioactive and toxic heavy metal contamination, and are demanding new Environmental Impact Report.
Friday, November 09, 2007. US: Is the media to blame for the housing crisis? Short answer: NO
Friday, November 09, 2007. Market Watch: Shoddy service "How to deal with a builder who refuses to stand by his warranty," (column by Lew Sichelman), "may be a sign that your builder is on his last legs, if he hasn't folded already."
Friday, November 09, 2007. CA: Dunmore Homes files Ch. 11 bankruptcy UPDATE
Thursday, November 08, 2007. IL: ANOTHER builder bankruptcy: Prime Development forced into Involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy The creditors seek to liquidate Prime Development in an effort to recover debt of more than $1 million that they claim they are owed by the real estate development company. Prime's Owners: Patrick Parker, Steve Gardner
Thursday, November 08, 2007. NY: Attorney General's office places judgement on Eagle Construction "We asked for a permanent injunction basically putting Eagle Construction and Mr. Costello out of the home improvement contracting business,” said Carlos Rodriguez, Assistant Attorney General. “We also we asked for fines and penalties and restitution."
Thursday, November 08, 2007. Free Lance Star: Centex proposal for help criticized Rosenberger, who bitterly opposed the Centex project from the beginning, added that he was worried Culpeper might somehow eventually wind up holding the bag.
Thursday, November 08, 2007. CA: Unfinished Condo Project Exasperates Murrieta Residents Bankrupt developer and foreclosed project not result of current market; troubles began during boom.
Thursday, November 08, 2007. TX: Opposing inspectors leave home owners in the cold "The home was eventually essentially completed but defendants insisted plaintiffs close the sale and occupy the home before numerous building defects were remedied," the suit said. "Plaintiffs made numerous efforts to get Camellia to resolve these problems during 2006 and 2007.
Thursday, November 08, 2007. NC: Homes for rent: they didn't sell Even builders turning to rental market
Thursday, November 08, 2007. CNN: Toll Brothers sales plunge Losses common place throughout industry
Thursday, November 08, 2007. Motley Fool Investing site: Homebuilding's weak foundation It's beginning to look more and more like there could be fallout among some of the industry's players before a real brightening occurs.
Thursday, November 08, 2007. IL: UPDATE: Neumann Homes lists debt of $235.6 million: Bankruptcy judge hears 1st motions Owes unsecured creditors (such as home buyers) about $137 million.
Thursday, November 08, 2007. NJ: The battle to keep N.J. green A builder had been trying to put up apartment buildings on the site for years, even though it is marshland and most of it is under water at high tide.
Thursday, November 08, 2007. AR: Another builder bankruptcy: Johnny King Construction Another builder blaming the media
Thursday, November 08, 2007. US: Appraisers' Petition Relevant to articles posted this week on NY Attorney General lawsuit over collusion in appraisal/lending industry. Honest appraisers have had this petition up for some time, trying to draw attention to this problem which is just now getting notice.
Thursday, November 08, 2007. KS: UPDATE on another big mortgage fraud case from this state US Dept of Justice District of KS: Named in indictment: Wildor Washington, Jr.; Maurice Ragland; Victoria Bennett; Kara E. Robinson-Franks; Scott Alexander; Terrence Cole. According to indictment Washington owned Heritage Financial Investments, Legacy Enterprises, B&L Custom Development and Liberty Escrow. Other parties owned various companies also...
Thursday, November 08, 2007. US: Mortgage fraud in the news: current articles
Thursday, November 08, 2007. World: Housing Crash Current news articles
Thursday, November 08, 2007. US: UPDATE: Fannie, Freddie, WaMu Tumble on Expanded Probe "Pattern of collusion" between lenders and appraisers
Thursday, November 08, 2007. MI; Nat'l interest: 50 years of innovation for care-free aluminum house 1950's house of the future still standing.
Thursday, November 08, 2007. FL: Inspections chief may face reprimand The chief of Jacksonville's building and zoning inspections (Thomas Goldsbury) is facing a fine and other penalties after state investigators found that he misled them to help one of his employees (Donald Rees) get an inspection license.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. AZ: Builder left 'prison-like vista' "After clearing the site of all vegetation and grading for their right of way," he told the council Monday night, "D.R. Horton has erected a chain-link/barbed-wire fence and stopped all work on the site. We're asking the city to use its influence and its code-enforcement regulatory authority...
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. Bloomberg: Cuomo Subpoenas Fannie, Freddie, Widening Loan Probe Investigation into ``widespread'' collusion between real estate appraisers and lenders including Washington Mutual Inc.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. Nat'l interest: New York probes government lenders New York Attorney General has issued subpoenas to government-sponsored lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in investigation into what he claims are conflicts of interest in mortgage industry.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. FL: UPDATE: WWII-era bomb found buried in Orlando neighborhood Private munitions company working for Lennar Homes turned up powerful 23-pound bomb in backyard of house under construction on fringe of former Army bombing range.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. CA: Lennar Suspends Sales at Two Major Projects "waiting out dismal markets"
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. TX: UPDATE: Peeping Tom In Hutto Turns Himself In Police charged (Lennar employee) Dwayne Cambell with Class C misdemeanor
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. IL: Area contractors head for bankruptcy court Greckowski Construction, owned by Dennis Greco and Keith Kinowski filing for Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy; homeowners left with liens, unfinished work, despite money paid. Attempts to pursue case through state Home Repair Fraud Act failed because county didn't consider it felony.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. TX: UPDATE to yesterday's news on Lennar worker who peeped into bathroom windows Dwayne Keith Campbell fired.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Group urges ouster of Beazer CEO UPDATE: part of the "Sold a Nightmare" series on problems with use of builders' lenders.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. IL: UPDATE: Neumann Homes bankruptcy All Neumann Homes buildings under construction at both Clublands and NeuHaven residential developments have been red-tagged...priority of refunds to buyers and money due to creditors will be decided in court
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. US: Calls Rise To Oust Beazer CEO Forbes.com: McCarthy allowed Beazer to violate federal law, improperly account for land development costs and sale-leaseback transactions, and provide undisclosed loans to executives, all while pocketing $57 million in total compensation over the last five years.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. VA: Worman threat withdrawn Worman (Development) and his lawyer got a taste of the anger facing them from Chatham Village residents
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. TX: Mirasol Task Force takes tour of home UPDATE on defects in development built by KB Home: Mirasol Task Force members took a group tour of one of the troubled houses Tuesday under the guidance of their new operations director, even as some members were raising questions about how he was hired.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. US: Beazer Halts Dividend, Hovnanian Hurting SmartMoney.com
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. Nat'l interest: Mortgage Fraud Conference Nov. 14 -15. Not free but for those who would find this beneficial and worth the cost check it out.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. Consumer Affairs: House Committee Passes Mortgage Reform Bill H.R. 3915: Bill appears to have good and bad elements.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. MN: UPDATE on Parish Marketing and Development Corporation (PMDC) mortgage fraud case Investigation – which has now resulted in guilty pleas from the home builder and seven individuals in the past eight weeks – has progressed extremely rapidly in an effort to address the impact of the fraud on the community.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. US: Realty Check Current news/commentary by CNBC's Diana Olick
Wednesday, November 07, 2007. US: NOTICE: MHOA site returns after absence Mobile Home Owners of America.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. US: Media Still Not Responsible For Housing Woes Less knowledge doesn't make consumers more confident. It pisses them off. ... Consumers know they trusted a housing market that sold them a bill of goods packaged with corruption and collusion likened to organized crime.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. US: PDF: HUD settlement agreement with Ryland Homes RESPA violations re: Cornerstone Title and kickbacks in violation of RESPA.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. US: Real Estate blogger discusses dismissal of Ryland Homes RESPA violations lawsuit Masquerading "discounts" that far exceed the value of the mortgage and title services being "offered."
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. FL: Live Munition Found In Subdivision Lennar Homes
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. TN: UPDATE: Legal ills grow for home builder Matthews Development LLC and related home-building companies are facing a growing number of lawsuits over nonpayment of debts. Foreclosure sale of some properties this Friday.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. TX: Lennar worker admitted to police he was looking in bathroom windows. Dwayne Keith Campbell, 40, works for Lennar, which builds homes in the Legends of Hutto subdivision. He was cited for a misdemeanor and let go
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. IN: Another builder closes after bankruptcy New Era Homes
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. US: Why Binding Arbitration Can Forfeit Your Rights Arbitration has several unique characteristics that stack the deck against consumers
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. US: Down payment assistance demise derailed The non-profits and home sellers [and builders] who've running the DAP scam for years have fought hard to keep milking that cash cow
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. Consumer Law: Frank bill lets Wall Street off the hook Serious flaws in HR 3915: bill immunizes most subprime mortgage assignees from any liability. Consumers with loans from bankrupt lenders will be out of luck. Other consumer articles from this site: http://pubcit.typepad.com/clpblog/
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud Current news
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. US: No government bailout for unreal mortgage market Greed is not good.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. CtW investment group website: PDF: CtW's call for removal of Beazer Homes CEO For Illegal mortgage practices, improper accounting, undisclosed loans to exectutives and more
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. US: Beazer Chief Says Company Plans Settlement Talks With HUD Soon Settlement (for lending violations) may cost company as much as $15 million
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Group to Beazer: Fire the CEO CtW Investment Group, a Washington-based organization that works with pension funds sponsored by unions, said McCarthy "has garnered egregious compensation while allowing his management team to violate federal law."
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. World: Housing Crash News From Patrick.net
Tuesday, November 06, 2007. World: Housing market news and commentary From Seeking Alpha site.
Monday, November 05, 2007. US: Realtors Get Desperate This is a typical bromide from the trade group that brought us a never-ending supply of optimistic spin, encouraging people to buy homes as "investments," no matter how over-inflated they were, no matter how bad the financing was.
Monday, November 05, 2007. US: Beazer Suspends Dividend Beazer also had an extraordinarily high cancellation rate of 68%.
Monday, November 05, 2007. US: Investors seek reforms of home-builder CEO pay "These guys made off like bandits during boom times," said Michael Garland, director of value strategies for the CtW Investment Group
Monday, November 05, 2007. Nat'l interest: Long And Foster's Mortgage Tactics: A Desperate Move Long and Foster tactic is decidedly improper. There’s nothing wrong with offering a buyer the option, letting them know that the service exists in-house, but to try to pressure the agents, using their own job security as a weapon, frankly reeks of desperation.
Monday, November 05, 2007. US: HR 3915 Addresses Many Aspects of Predatory and Other Mortgage Lending One provision would be to eliminate arbitration clauses in residential mortgages.
Monday, November 05, 2007. National interest: Tremont Homes horror story By mandatory arbitration we lost our home and our right to a trial by a jury
Monday, November 05, 2007. US: American Institute of Architects Document Updates Chief among revisions to the A201 documents is the removal of mandatory arbitration...
Monday, November 05, 2007. National interest: One lawyer makes the case for litigation Here are some reasons why disputing businesses and individuals ought to be wary of engaging in arbitration:
Monday, November 05, 2007. NATIONAL INTEREST: UPDATE: New York Sues WaMu and its Appraisers In a scheme detailed in numerous e-mails, eAppraiseIT (“EA”), a subsidiary of First American Corporation, caved to pressure from Washington Mutual (“WaMu”) to use a list of preferred “Proven Appraisers” who provided inflated appraisals on homes.
Sunday, November 04, 2007. WI: Owners of new homes left with liens UPDATE: Neumann Homes bankrupcy: buyers met recently to discuss options.
Sunday, November 04, 2007. VA; Nat'l interest: Foreclosures up 355% "Most of the foreclosures happened - and are still happening - in the newer developments that went up at the height of the housing frenzy..." (Not surprisingly, it appears the builders' in-house/preferred lenders were involved.)
Sunday, November 04, 2007. US: Mortgage-broker disclosure form could clear the air Borrowers who didn't do their homework, lenders who disregarded own underwriting rules; builders and real-estate professionals who looked the other way, investors in mortgages who couldn't get enough of a good thing; fee-hungry Wall Street middlemen who never saw a loan they didn't like, rating agencies that weren't as diligent as they should have been: They all own a piece of this disgraceful pie.
Sunday, November 04, 2007. US: Privatization of the Justice System By writer Jordan Fogal, who has been through a construction defect case and arbitration.
Sunday, November 04, 2007. US: Two reasons never mentioned in America's housing forelcosure debacle By Jordan Fogal
Sunday, November 04, 2007. US: Defective Housing, Mandatory Arbitration, and Foreclosures By Jordan Fogal
Sunday, November 04, 2007. Nat'l interest: Slow housing market speeds up scam Predatory buyers in cahoots with appraisers, mortgage brokers and title agents, to defraud lenders in cash back at closing deals that end in foreclosure, with scammers walking away with profit.
Sunday, November 04, 2007. CANADA: W-FIVE: From Haven to Hell Home is where the heart is, but what happens when your haven feels more like hell? Canada is experiencing the largest building boom since the 1970s, with nearly a quarter of million homes being built in 2007. But problems can arrive along with this boom. W-FIVE travelled across Canada to investigate the horrors and frustrations faced by homeowners.
Saturday, November 03, 2007. CO: Home 'Winner' Says Prize Taken Away Woman wins Centex home at football game, then is told she's not going to get the house.
Saturday, November 03, 2007. St. Louis: Suit: Taylor-Morley defaults on $16 million in loans Southwest Bank of St. Louis filed a lawsuit Oct. 17 seeking to put several Taylor-Morley Inc. developments into receivership because the homebuilder allegedly defaulted on two loans.
Saturday, November 03, 2007. MN: UPDATE on Parish Marketing and Development mortgage fraud Home builder and others plead guilty
Saturday, November 03, 2007. FL: Home builders should be encouraging use of English Of all people who always preach to hire licensed and insured contractors, that they would want to encourage their members to hire illegals by teaching Spanish.
Saturday, November 03, 2007. MI: Home builder Ryan exits Mich. Will finish building 10 houses for which it already holds permits before exiting
Saturday, November 03, 2007. MI: UPDATE: Six-member state team heads to county in Inspections probe VanDyke was fired by county administrator David W. Gill in June – just days after VanDyke had rescinded certificates of occupancy for the BayView condos
Saturday, November 03, 2007. Nat'l interest: UPDATE: Neumann Homes bankruptcy Home buyers deposits may or may not be returned depending on bankruptcy judge, says Neumann.
Saturday, November 03, 2007. US: Builder Bailout Fraud on the Rise In these schemes, in which Mr. Fleming said there are confirmed multiple loan plots involving multiple lenders, the builder works with a mortgage broker. Straw buyers are used to act as "out-of-state" property investors. The loans are usually stated income mortgages.
Saturday, November 03, 2007. US: Real estate and mortgage fraud News blog, current articles.
Saturday, November 03, 2007. National interest: N.Y. AG: Appraisers Inflated Home Values New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday a major real estate appraisal company colluded with the nation's largest savings and loan companies to inflate the values of homes, contributing to the subprime mortgage crisis.
"This is a case we believe is indicative of an industry-wide problem," Cuomo said in a news conference.
Friday, November 02, 2007. SC: Hidden Room, Hidden Danger Owners of moldy home couldn't afford to remove mold, let it go into foreclosure. Left note for next owner where it would not easily be found and discarded by bank or realty company. New owner found note, and was able to get Fannie Mae to buy home back.
Friday, November 02, 2007. FL: Home Builder Pulls Out Of Large Ocoee Housing Project, Some Upset Centex
Friday, November 02, 2007. GA: Custom homebuilder left owners with disaster "Preferred Builders"/"Partner Builders" by the developer Land Resource
Friday, November 02, 2007. US: S&P downgrades five US home builders More builders deemed "Junk."
Friday, November 02, 2007. US: Investors seek reforms of home-builder CEO pay "These guys made off like bandits during boom times," said Michael Garland, director of value strategies for the CtW Investment Group, an adviser to union pension funds. "Now the market is in the tank, and shareholders have lost tens of billions, and these guys have walked away with their compensation."
Friday, November 02, 2007. SC: House Lemon (All the usual builder excuses for failure to build house right and stand behind work!) "State Representative Joe Jefferson who plans to file the first housing lemon law bill in the State House. He says it's not an indictment against builders, but a request for more accountability."
Friday, November 02, 2007. AZ: Potential homebuyers misled by real estate and finance business? Former workers for Home Buyer Connection (HBC) say company misled, deceived and lied to homebuyers. Buyers paid $500-$2000 upfront for builder deposits, some of which were lost. At least one builder says he too was misled.
Friday, November 02, 2007. MIdwest: UPDATE on Neumann Homes bankruptcy Chicago Trib: Homebuyers left hanging.
Friday, November 02, 2007. OH: Builder C.V. Perry closing shop for good A customer who said she closed on a C.V. Perry house in December 2005 said the house is unfinished and she "can't get any response from the company."
Friday, November 02, 2007. US: Arbitration Clause Destroys American Dream Five years ago, Jordan Fogal's dream house was turned a living hell after her builders ripped her off with shoddy construction and then hid behind the arbitration clause in the contract. Now she's become a crusader against mandatory binding arbitration.
Thursday, November 01, 2007. Nat'l interest: UPDATE: Neumann Homes bankruptcy It's official; builder has filed Ch. 11 (Reorganization) bankruptcyl
Thursday, November 01, 2007. CANADA: Coming up Saturday Nov. 3 on CTV A huge headache for new home buyers: Developers with seemingly shoddy standards
Thursday, November 01, 2007. Nat'l interest: Appraisers Inflated Home Values New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Thursday a major real estate appraisal company colluded with the nation's largest savings and loan companies to inflate the values of homes, contributing to the subprime mortgage crisis.
Thursday, November 01, 2007. IL: UPDATE on Neumann Homes bankruptcy Homeowners probably still on their own with regard to their homes, but city may call in funds from seven letters of credit at several banks established by Neumann Homes to finish public improvements. Homeowners advised to hire a lawyer.
Thursday, November 01, 2007. U.S. Dept of Justice, Georgia: PDF: TEAGUE SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON for sale of partial or non existent houses. (UPDATE)
Thursday, November 01, 2007. CA; Nat'l interest: After the Fire-Getting Your Life Back from the Ashes Lawyer advises NOT to sign an arbitration clause with a contractor.
Thursday, November 01, 2007. ABC Nightline: 'Bubble Blogger' Takes on Housing Market Housing Crash blogger Patrick Killelea featured on tonight's Nightline (Thur. Nov. 1)
Thursday, November 01, 2007. MN: Volunteer Lawyers Network One of the resources listed in article below; this is a working link. See Mortgage Fraud Resources article below.
Thursday, November 01, 2007. MN; Nat'l interest: Mortgage Fraud Resources One of the ongoing problems in cases of mortgage fraud is that the victims often don't have the resources to hire legal representation, and have no idea where to turn for help.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. VA: Developer Driven Chesterfield candidates preach managed growth, but real estate dollars are flooding the campaigns.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. OK: Oklahoma Companies (Builders) Confused Over new law Attorney general's office filed motion to dismiss lawsuit challenging House Bill 1804, which would bar illegal immigrants from getting jobs
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. MI: K. Hovnanian Homes in Hartland Township closes Article includes reader commentary at end.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. US: Ryland facing JUNK rating Moody's currently rates Ryland and Horton’s senior unsecured debt “Baa3,” which is the lowest investment-grade rating. Horton also faces a downgrade.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. VA: Head of failed real estate firm trolling for investors Even as he faces questions about millions lost in his company's investment program, CM Development President Cary McEntee is soliciting investors for a new housing business.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. MI: Lawyer demands county release meeting minutes Says meeting about problematic inspectors was illegally closed to public: State Bureau of Construction Codes has launched investigation of Leelanau County Building Inspections office
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. Forbes: Rate Cut Unlikely to Fix Housing Woes Problems in the housing, credit, not easily solved
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. US: Nehemiah Corporation of America Comments on Preliminary Injunction Barring HUD from Banning Private Downpayment Assistance Relevant to IRS statement below. Nehemiah Corp. is a down payment "charity."
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. Internal Revenue Service: IRS Targets Down-Payment-Assistance Scams; Seller-Funded Programs Do Not Qualify As Tax Exempt Relevant to Nehemiah Corporation press release above.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. Colorado; Nat'l interest: UPDATE: Neumann Homes bankruptcy Multi state builder. "Homeowners are on their own."
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. NY Times: Why We Needed a Prenup With Our Contractor Humorous article: haven't we heard these excuses somewhere before? ;-)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. US: Consumers Win in Hearing on Capitol Hill Recap of hearing on Arbitration Fairness Act which HADD supports.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. US: Housing Crash News
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. US: UPDATE: Builder-Title Insurance illegal kickbacks settlement with HUD Ongoing cases, more on articles posted several days ago.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. U.S.: PDF: Law firm's document about some of the HUD settlements with builders, others, in illegal kickback schemes.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. KS: Kansas Mortgage Fraud and Conspiracy Trial Postponed UPDATE:on "Fraudulent real estate machine" run by F. Jeffrey Miller and others.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007. AZ: Ex-tenants say mold caused ailments, death Judge throws out mold case, fines attorney.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. US: What Goes Around … Majority of (mortgage) fraudsters are industry insiders who leverage their knowledge to take advantage of weaknesses in lenders’ processes and defenses.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. US: More on yesterday/today's news on the six builders settling with HUD "It's increasingly clear to us that these complicated business arrangements serve no other purpose than to hide referral fees and kickbacks which are expressly forbidden by law," HUD Assistant Secretary Brian Montgomery said.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. SC; NC: NOTICE: Another Merger, name change of builders The Mungo Cos. buys 1st American
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. MI: Michigan Builders Appeal to Supreme Court; Stall Proposed Home Efficiency Rules Energy efficiency rules MAHB is blocking would help protect Michigan homeowners against the ever-increasing
cost of energy by requiring minimum energy efficiency standards to be met when new homes are built.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. KS: UPDATE: Miller case Trial delayed.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. MI; CO; FL: UPDATE on First Homes case Norlarco Credit Union and Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Huron River Area Credit Union collapsed earlier this year, mainly because loans they made to build houses — many of them built by First Home (which was bought by Hovnanian)
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. MI: 7th suit against BayView filed Suttons Pointe Development, L.L.C., headed by Marcus Yono
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. OK: ELEVEN Convicted in Oklahoma Fraud Scam UPDATE to Theresa Ann Campbell case:
Mortgage fraud scheme involving Oak Tree Properties in Edmond. ... Shell construction company never intended that remodeling, repairs be completed.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. US: More on the illegal kickbacks, builders, title agencies to pay millions in fines UPDATE
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. US: Another article on HUD settlement with six builders Illegal kickbacks cause of fines.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. World: Housing Crash Current News
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. US: Empire of Lies, Kingdom of Magical Thinking The real estate/building industry inflated the bubble with an interconnected chain of lies, deceptions and deliberate statistical legerdemaine.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007. TX: Texas Residential Construction Commission HADD's John Cobarruvias writes: TRCC was created by the builders, for the builders, with no input from consumer organizations
Monday, October 29, 2007. Washington Post: Is Bailing Out Reckless Investors Wise? Don't Bank on It. Last summer, the bill started to come due on our debt-fueled economy. We should have let it -- and let reckless speculators, subprime lenders and banks finally get what they had coming. But instead, the financial authorities let them off the hook.
Monday, October 29, 2007. Nat'l interest: Black Mold Leaves Homeowner In Limbo toxic mold and substandard construction hidden from plain view. Contractor no longer in business. Estimated cost to clean up mold and make home livable close to $100,000.
Monday, October 29, 2007. NJ; Nat'l interest: Construction Firm’s Bankruptcy Is a Lesson For Businesses Kullman case challenges unsecured creditors: Bankruptcy "preference" laws can mean that people have to GIVE BACK money to bankrupt construction co., even if company still owes THEM.
Monday, October 29, 2007. GA: Teague gets jail time for mortgage fraud Jeffery Alan Teague, a.k.a. Jeffrey Allen Bryant, operating as builder/seller Quantum Builders and Premium Property Management, defrauded mortgage lenders by obtaining more than $10 million in loans to buy non-existent and incomplete houses
Monday, October 29, 2007. KS/MO: MORE UPDATE from today on Miller Enterprises and Star Land Development case Judge delays KC home builder's trial: scheduled routine hearing on Tuesday
Monday, October 29, 2007. US: Beazer's Ending It All Beazer asked its bondholders to amend the terms of $1.53 billion in debt so it could avoid default....After recently confessing that it violated federal down payment assistance regulations, the homebuilder had asked its bondholders to cut it some slack.
Monday, October 29, 2007. US: HUD list of settlements Oct 29th, 2007, list 6 builders from articles below on RESPA kickback violations.
Monday, October 29, 2007. HUD: PDF of HUD settlement with Beazer Homes $261,000 for RESPA kickback violations.
Monday, October 29, 2007. HUD: HUD ANNOUNCES SIX SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS WITH BUILDERS INVOLVED IN CAPTIVE TITLE REINSURANCE ARRANGEMENTS “There’s no legitimate purpose for captive title reinsurance when it comes to single-family homes,” said Brian D. Montgomery, HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner. “It’s increasingly clear to us that these complicated business arrangements serve no other purpose than to hide referral fees and kickbacks which are expressly forbidden by law.”
Monday, October 29, 2007. US: HUD settles captive reinsurance claims for $1.4 million Without admitting wrongdoing, six major home builders have agreed to pay nearly $1.4 million to settle charges that subsidiary companies they created to "reinsure" home buyers' title insurance policies violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). ... Pulte, KB Home, Beazer, Ryland, Technical Olympic USA, and Meritage, and related companies.
Monday, October 29, 2007. US: Lawyer's site about lawsuit against Beazer for mortgage fraud For informational purposes; not an endorsement.
Monday, October 29, 2007. US: Beazer Homes faces millions in fines Beazer is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's office in North Carolina on allegations that it broke rules governing down-payment assistance, sold homes to low-income buyers who couldn't afford them, falsified documents and charged higher fees than the regulations allow.
Monday, October 29, 2007. CA; Nat'l interest: NEW AD: No money down loans if you use Beazer Mortgage Aren't these the type of loans and conditions exposed by the Charlotte Observer's series "Sold a Nightmare," that led to much higher foreclosures and a federal investigation in which Beazer broke lending laws and may have to pay millions in fines?
Monday, October 29, 2007. CA: Investors Welcome - New Homes by Beazer Homes [So much for some builders' claims that they try to keep investors out of developments. If Beazer made this promise to you this ad may be of interest.]
Monday, October 29, 2007. US: Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 Washington Watch: Summary, links to bill, can post comments. Arbitration clauses keep many builder/warranty complaints out of court and out of public record, giving these companies an advantage. Legislation would make mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts unenforceable.
Monday, October 29, 2007. Nat'l interest: Will California's troubles move north to Oregon? Developers, homebuilders have little concern for long-term viability of house or neighborhood.
Monday, October 29, 2007. Midwest: UPDATE: Neumann's unfinished business Builder's bankruptcy leaves home buyers in limbo, and homeowners with liens, wondering about warranty work
Monday, October 29, 2007. KS/MO: UPDATE: F. JEFFREY MILLER CASE Trial postponed on $25 million bank fraud indictment. U.S. District Judge Robinson had set trail date in September. Instead, court will hold status conference.
Monday, October 29, 2007. CANADA: New home worthless, assessor rules Repeat of article posted last week; this source may stay online longer. Homeowner depicted in article started the org, Canadians for Properly Built Homes, www.canadiansforproperlybuilthomes.com
Monday, October 29, 2007. MI: Legislature should pass bills that help homebuyers Proposed legislation attacks problem from both buyer’s and broker’s standpoint.
Monday, October 29, 2007. MI: Contractor secures $300K verdict Homeowner liable for oral change orders
Saturday, October 27, 2007. MD; Nat'l interest: Appeal argues that Maryland’s System for Home Foreclosures Tramples Due Process Ameriquest, predatory lending, fast track foreclosures, improper notice of foreclosure
Saturday, October 27, 2007. Nat'l interest: UPDATE: Norlarco bleeding stabilizes Federal regulators are also negotiating with K. Hovnanian, the nation's sixth-largest home builder - which bought First Homes Builders, the company that built most of the homes now in default - to make sure assets remain as high-valued as possible
Saturday, October 27, 2007. CA: Southern CA fires spark safety talks Plan to require fire sprinklers in new construction shot down by builders
Saturday, October 27, 2007. OH: Builder leaving construction business due to mortgage fraud connections Edward Emery Jr. pleaded guilty Thursday to submitting a false loan application...also admitted to similar schemes involving 37 homes that he built in Solon and Glenwillow... Title company owner, mortgage broker, two officials from another mortgage company, also face charges.
Saturday, October 27, 2007. Canada: Troubled house worthless, assessor rules Value of new home assessed at zero dollars for tax purposes. Could set precedent for reducing assessments and taxes of other new homes with significant construction defects. Homeowner Karen Somerville went on to form Canadians for Properly Built Homes. www.canadiansforproperlybuilthomes.com
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Beazer Faces Tough Chore Civil suits filed last spring by customers, shareholders, pension plan participants, remain active. Epstein said company's admission of violations will trigger new negotiations in cases.
Friday, October 26, 2007. U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development: Ryland did not comply with HUD regulations in 23 of the 24 loans reviewed. Ryland Homes Mortgage company
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Consumer Law Blog Good site to watch for updates on the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 that would make binding mandatory arbitration clauses unenforceable, incl. those in house/warranty contracts, and more.
Friday, October 26, 2007. YOU TUBE Video: Hiring contractors from online referral services Bad experience with contractor from Service Magic.
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Housing Crash Current News articles
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: State of the Homebuilding Industry New blog w/news, commentary
Friday, October 26, 2007. Common Dreams: A Catastrophe Foretold Subprime lending crisis was foretold, ignored.
Friday, October 26, 2007. CA; Nat'l interest: Consumers Group Cautions Firestorm Victims Be very careful about submitting any insurance dispute to binding arbitration. Doing so forces you to waive or give up your legal rights, and many arbitrators -- reluctant to bite the "good hands" that are feeding them -- are strongly biased against claimants.
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Report on Second Hill Hearing on Arbitration Fairness Act, by Paul Bland of Public Justice There are now 36 co-sponsors of the AFA, up from 29 last week
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: CtW Investment Group Urges Homebuilders to Address Compliance Failures “Homebuilders are not passive victims here,” said Bill Patterson, Executive Director of the CtW Investment Group. “Through improper business practices, particularly within their mortgage affiliates, the nation’s largest homebuilders in fact helped cause the industry-wide collapse. This turmoil has already destroyed billions in shareholder value, while exposing shareholders to considerable legal, regulatory and reputation risk.” (For relevance to newer article below concerning CtW.)
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Countrywide pushed to appoint new director Ctw Investment group recommends shareholder involvement in replacing Cisneros who resigned this week. (CtW is the same group that called for builders incl. Beazer to end practice of toxic loans. --Ed.)
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Home builder Pulte's new strategy: fewer price cuts "Instead of continuing to contribute to a downward spiral in pricing in some areas, we've decided not to default to price reductions in response to competition," a company spokesman said
Friday, October 26, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Wrong, wrong, wrong! Home inspectors board shouldn't cave in to realty agents...The Home Inspectors Licensure Board should realize that its primary obligation is not to the real estate industry, the home builders or the developers of this state, but to the people of North Carolina who do not have the expertise to examine homes and draw their own conclusions on safety or structural problems. This is, after all, why potential buyers hire home inspectors.
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Centex slashes workforce 40% forced to reduce prices
Friday, October 26, 2007. TN: On the brink of bankruptcy Matthews Brothers Builders may be heading toward bankruptcy as lawsuits, foreclosures and liens mount.
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Levitt and Sons to lay off 158 Subsidiary of Fort Lauderdale-based builder Levitt Corp. called temporary halt to all work earlier this month as it tries to renegotiate massive debt.
Friday, October 26, 2007. GA: FYI: Builder name change HomeLife Communities' new name will be Atreus Homes & Communities.
Friday, October 26, 2007. MN: City, home builder bicker Rottlund claims city dallied too long, but officials sue to get tax money back
Friday, October 26, 2007. FL: First Home Builders to lay off 200 employees Relevant to two articles directly below on First Home/Hovnanian
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: More on First Homes/Hovnanian problems UPDATE
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Class Action Lawsuit Against First Home Builders of Florida and K. Hovnanian violated the federal securities laws by issuing materially false and misleading statements to prospective investors in order to induce them to purchase real estate investment properties from First Home. (UPDATE: These are the companies from news earlier this year in MI, CO, FL, about the builder and loans taking out a credit union in CO. --Ed.)
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Homebuilding's Latest Freak Show Thursday's avalanche of housing information was led by yet another meaningless report on this forlorn industry.
Friday, October 26, 2007. TX: Task Force Members Say They're Unsure Of New Hire (UPDATE: KB Home-built Mirasol project plagued with problems, may get its "fix" from former Pulte division pres. --Ed.)
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Beware of Drowning in Standard Pacific Builder that looks like it's heading for trouble: Standard Pacific
Friday, October 26, 2007. Midwest: Stormy history in Antioch (Now bankrupt) Neumann Homes' tenure in Antioch has been marked by controversy and litigation from the start.
Friday, October 26, 2007. IL; Midwest: More on Neumann Homes bankruptcy In communities throughout Chicago area, where Neumann Homes had projects under construction, company's closure raising more questions for local government.
Friday, October 26, 2007. WI; nat'l interest: Builder (Neumann Homes) Files Bankruptcy, Homeowners Pay People in Racine County are getting unsettling news as they settle into their new homes. Builder Neumann Homes plans to file for Bankruptcy and homeowners say unpaid subcontractors are trying to collect money by putting liens on homes.
Friday, October 26, 2007. HGTV: Dream House Some of the pitfalls of building one's "dream house."
Friday, October 26, 2007. NE; Nat'l interest: Chilson v. Retalix USA, Inc. Case illustrates how difficult it is to have a court find that an arbitration clause is a contract of adhesion, unenforceable, or unconscionable. Bottom line: once you are bound by an arbitration clause don't count on being able to get out of it!
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Builder has lost more than $1 billion Pulte Homes
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: Can Housing Be 'Rescued'? Here's a wild idea: All you alleged believers in the free markets: Why don't you let the market do its job
Friday, October 26, 2007. US: No, New Homes Sales DID NOT Rise Apples-to-apples comparison shows decrease
Friday, October 26, 2007. Red Tape Chronicles: HOW ARBITRATION STEALS YOUR DAY IN COURT If I told you there was a courtroom in America where consumers lose lawsuits to businesses 94 percent of the time, and there is no chance to appeal, you'd probably never want to go there.
But here's the problem: You don't have a choice...
Friday, October 26, 2007. Newsday: 4 arrested in N.Hempstead building irregularities Arrests of former North Hempstead building commissioner and three employees ended what District Attorney called "systemic ring of greed and corruption." (There are Public Comments at end of article too.)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. MSNBC: REMINDER: "House Wreckers" Remodeling nightmares, hour long show On TV TONIGHT Wed Oct 24th!!! Check LOCAL schedule; on in some time zones at 10 p.m. and again at 1 a.m.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. US: Beazer Raises Offer To Bondholder Beazer still refuses to agree to file its periodic financial reports as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. PA: Contractors Accused of Fraud Held for Trial Victim after victim filed into court to testify that Joseph and John Salvatico ripped them off by failing to complete remodeling and construction work on their homes.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. Nat'l interest: Experts advise recent Neumann buyers UPDATE of general interest: What to do when builder goes bankrupt.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. MIdwest: MORE on Neumann Homes bankruptcy Homeowners, village officials, and subcontractors scrambling for solutions.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. PA: Elliott Building Group Selling All Assets Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. OK: Disconnect: Audit sparks inspection review UPDATE: As reported last week by The Oklahoman's John Estus, the audit called into question nearly 2,200 electrical permits issued to developers and homebuilders, some of whom had personal and family relationships with employees of the development center.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. SC: Removal Site Evaluation Released for the Wescott Plantation Site in Summerville, SC Methane, benzene, Lennar development
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. MN: Parish homebuilder mortgage fraud case UPDATE: charges make no mention of the $100 million in loans the government previously alleged had changed hands.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. US: Mandatory Arbitration Stinks You'd be taking up your beef about a builder to a group of people who are builders or associated with builders. It's not exactly a jury of your peers, is it?
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. NC: Anti-tax mailings spur questions Builders lobbyists stretching the rules again.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. US: It's Official: Homebuilding's Lost It I wouldn't put my worst enemy's shekels into homebuilding shares.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. US: Neumann Homes Bankruptcy More...update
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. US: Cracks in the Foundation Home inspector's page on how little coverage "home warranties" provide.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007. US: MSNBC Homewreckers online The hour long program documents several cases of egregious contractors and the homeowners who have paid the price for their behavior. Video is now online.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. Business Week: Countrywide Moves to Ease Mortgage Misery But the biggest beneficiaries may be financial players like hedge funds.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. MSN Money Central: Banks to customers: Drop dead!! (From Jim Jubak, author of "Make Builders, Lenders Pay for Housing Mess," posted previously.)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. CT: Builders get class action against town In a crushing blow that could cost the town millions of dollars, a judge granted class-action status for a lawsuit against the town that claims Madison’s building fees are excessively high.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. US: Future Of Home Builders Levitt & Sons In Doubt UPDATE
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. MI; IL: UPDATE: Neumann Homes bankruptcy Company had recently purchased Tadian Homes in MI.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. WI; IL, possibly other states: UPDATE on Neumann Homes bankruptcy Are you a home buyer who is a Neumann Homes customer?Please e-mail email@example.com with your contact information.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. WA; Nat'l interest: Unfinished business - Can you trust your contractor? Wanted on fraud and theft charges in GA, contractor Christopher Kelley was able to get a state license, allowing him to legally work as a contractor in Washington.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. MN: UPDATE: Developers expected to plead guilty in Minn. mortgage fraud case Michael Parish, wife Ardith, charged along with company, Parish Marketing and Development Corp., and son-in-law Christopher Troup.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. US: Predatory Lending Legislation Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives Links to more info in article.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. US: Web of Deception Biggest supplier of debt junkies--a.k.a. debt serfs--is real estate industry...
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. US: Exposing New Home Builders News and commentary
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. US: National Home Insurance Company, rated "Below Average" Demotech, Comparative Financial Observations. NHIC is a risk retention group (RRG) that backs some home warranties notably 2-10 HBW.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007. US: Is the Nat'l Association of Home Builders putting words into members' mouths? The real info is for members only, but the article gives an overview of "talking points" the NAHB urges builders associations to use, to "bust myths" of current housing market problems.
Monday, October 22, 2007. IL; Nat'l interest: Neumann Homes Files For Chapter 11 UPDATE
Monday, October 22, 2007. IL; Nat'l interest: Financial problems mount for local homebuilder Financial problems are mounting at Neumann Homes Inc., which is facing lawsuits from subcontractors over unpaid bills, construction delays and mounting speculation that the firm is headed for Bankruptcy Court.
Monday, October 22, 2007. MSN Money Central: A super-duper bad-loan bailout scam (Subprime problems) How anyone can look at the creation of this fund as anything other than a cynical way of moving an existing pile of crap from one place to another is beyond me. The fact that no one seems to think there is anything wrong with it (and I include the regulators) tells you just how 'fixed' the markets' problems are.
Monday, October 22, 2007. US: Harsh Realities The real estate industry's Standard Model can be summed up as: "real estate never declines." Alas, reality has rudely disrupted this model--not just currently, but in the recent past.
Monday, October 22, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Rule could change what inspectors recommend Some N.C. home inspectors are upset over a controversial new rule that would limit the amount of information they can include in their summary reports to home buyers.
Monday, October 22, 2007. LA: Rebuilding Louisiana after Katrina, or setting homeowners up for another nightmare? Blog with photos of terrible construction.
Monday, October 22, 2007. Business Week: A Troubled 'Ownership Society' Increase in "homeownership" may have been due to temporary surge in toxic loans.
Monday, October 22, 2007. CO: Developer faces $2M judgment "Gree" homebuilder Aspen Devco LLC on hook for nearly $2 million in wake of breach-of-contract lawsuit that Nevada lender filed.
Monday, October 22, 2007. US: U.S. plans bailout for lenders at homeowners’ expense Public should get ready to be fleeced
Saturday, October 20, 2007. TX: Getting SLAPP-ed around by Trendmaker Homes A homeowner in Sugarland has taken her complaint about her builder Trendmaker Home to their door step. Her home had tile that came up off the floor after the first 3 years. I have heard from other homeowners of the same type of problem.
Saturday, October 20, 2007. NJ: Builder will not finish Millville housing project Elliot Building Group has abandoned attempts to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will sell all of its assets.
Saturday, October 20, 2007. US: Housing market will correct itself sans government help Real estate agents, mortgage brokers, lenders, homebuilders and homesellers were happy enough to keep the market going (as were big investors in the mortgage-backed securities and agencies that rated their creditworthiness), but prices couldn’t keep going up by double digits forever.
Saturday, October 20, 2007. MI: Shattered Dreams: Deadly tornado turns couple's first night in new home to tragedy On the first night they planned to stay in the modular home they built over the summer, a freak, late-season tornado whipped through mid-Michigan, lifted their house from its foundation and shattered it into a million pieces into their beloved pond.
Friday, October 19, 2007. TX: Defective Homes in Hutto Park Homeowner's site.
Friday, October 19, 2007. MSN Money Central: Make builders, lenders fix the housing mess "It's reminding me more and more of the Enron scandal every day." Countrywide, Beazer's mortgage fraud, builder's lenders...
Friday, October 19, 2007. Readers' Digest: House Wrecked? Buyer relied on advice from a builder and a local mortgage broker, & "got screwed."
Friday, October 19, 2007. Newsweek: Dream House or Nightmare? For years Americans custom-built homes with pricey extras expecting high returns on their investment. They're in for a letdown.
Friday, October 19, 2007. WV: Charleston construction giant Eimors going out of business Luxury home builder had rapid growth before closing.
Friday, October 19, 2007. US: Housing Crisis Goes Global A trilliion dollars in adjustable rate mortgages will adjust higher in 2008 pushing foreclosures higher, over 17 million unsold homes now, but builders continue to add to supply.
Friday, October 19, 2007. US: Home-loan insider invites limited government help Countrywide exec. essentially says they don't want govt regulation for their industry, just a govt bailout.
Friday, October 19, 2007. PA: UPDATE: Chase Manhattan Mortgage aided fraud, suit says Ongoing lawsuit alleges builder Percudani, Chase, appraiser Dominick Stranieri, others engaged in widespread fraud, selling homes at inflated prices through Percudani companies Raintree Homes, Why Rent, Chapel Creek Mortgage.
Friday, October 19, 2007. TX: Homeowner's options few when sewer backs up Builder D.R. Horton never connected home to sewer.
Friday, October 19, 2007. GA: NBA legend Allen Iverson sues over house construction $2.2 million home w/sagging floors and lots of cracks. Builder: Order Homes, owned by Saeid Sadri and Nasser Golshani
Thursday, October 18, 2007. Southeast US: Levitt and Sons halts all work on houses UPDATE: Customers in limbo
Thursday, October 18, 2007. PA: UPDATE: BBB director resigns; lawsuit over tax business Same BBB that shielded criminal builder Scott Binsack (earlier articles posted here).
Binsack and business, Mansions & Estates retained membership in good standing even as details of past felonies emerged...After arrest on bad-check charges was still member in good standing. Only after failing to renew membership was he cut.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. TN: UPDATE: Hard-hit builder considers outsourcing sales, marketing Matthews Brothers Homebuilders, Traditional Properties; 255 liens, and 13 properties being foreclosed on by bank.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. OK: PDF of investigation related to Oklahoma City article below "Is your wiring safe?"
Thursday, October 18, 2007. OK: Is your home's wiring safe? Some homes to which inspectors granted temporary permits received permanent electric service without being granted proper permits or receiving required inspections.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. FL: Flagler builders bail out of jail, face more lawsuits 3 new civil suits against Canterbury Estate Homes & owners Herbert Heron and Noel Richardson. Darren Thomas, construction supervisor, also named in suits.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. OH: Whitlatch & Co. goes Chapter 11 One of region’s largest best-known builders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. TX: One of a number of Mirasol residents takes SAHA's buyback offer UPDATE on KB Home built development.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. TX; Nat'l interest: IN RE U.S. HOME CORPORATION, LENNAR CORPORATION Oct 12, 2007 case in the TX Supreme Court regarding arbitration.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. TX: Texas Residential Construction Commission Seminar. At this cutting-edge seminar, faculty will discuss the effects of the TRCCA on you and your organization, as well as tips on navigating the SIRP process. This must-attend seminar will also explore the future of residential construction issues in Texas. Faculty includes HADD member John Cobarruvias.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. US: TOUSA Creditors Hire Lawyer Builder's shares lose more than 90% of value over last year. Dismal news seems to have given Tousa's unsecured creditors cause for concern that Tousa may be on way to bankruptcy.
Thursday, October 18, 2007. US: Mortgage Meltdown Quiz Why have so many mortgage lenders gone out of business?
Thursday, October 18, 2007. US: Paulson Media Blitz on Mortgage Backed Securities government invites businesses to the table to dream up solutions to protect the invitees from blatantly poor loan decisions
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. US: Builders and Their Own Mortgage Companies Fueled Housing Collapse Blog posting.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. NV: Beazer inviting investors to buy their homes FYI
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. CA: Another ad for a Beazer Home with requirement to use their lender to get deal Craiglist. Earlier ads were removed almost as soon as posted. Relevant to earlier articles this week and previously on problems with using builders' lenders
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. Florida, (also Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee): UPDATE on Levitt and Sons halting construction Telephones were not answered at the sales office
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. US: When Your Home Is Not Your Castle Homeowners' associations also become a focal point for litigation involving angry homeowners and developers (developers often control the HOA).
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. US: Blogger talks about bad experience with warranty co. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty apparently didn't please this customer, nor the people who submitted comments at end.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. US: Consumer Affairs complaints Read complaints on builders, real estate agents, etc.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. US: America’s McMansion Problem Housing bubble left behind a couple of million families in danger of foreclosure. Also spawned new generation of big, deluxe, under-occupied houses bulked up on low-interest steroids.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. TX: Housing Crisis Realtor Linda Villareal, of One Stop Realty, who's currently handling the sale of nearly 50 foreclosed homes tells Action 4 News, a big part of the problem are the builders.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Beazer forced to replace siding on 50 townhomes. (the Observer is the paper that did Sold a Nighmare, series we periodically post new articles from. --Ed.)
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. US: Are Builder-Lenders Better? JD Power (an survey organiztion we don't think much of!) says YES, but the National Association of Mortgage Brokers says "baloney!" We agree w/NAMB. --Ed.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. CA: City ponders foreclosure for tax delinquents 50 percent of parcels facing foreclosure owned by developers Prestige Homes, Beazer Homes and Empire Land.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007. AZ: Realtors guarantee sale of couple's home but don't deliver Program offered by real estate agents Gary and Caryn Shannon of Keller Williams Realty, (contract not honored). As part of "guaranteed" deal, had to buy new KB home.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: How the U.S. Media Failed Homebuyers (Very little mainstream coverage was given during boom years on) laughably obvious conclusion that the doubling and tripling of house prices was unsustainable.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. World: Housing Crash News Current news articles.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: Better Bellwethers Shamefully self-anointed "America's Builder," D.R. Horton's sales drop 48%
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. FL: UPDATE on Lennar development Live bombs found, more to be dug up.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. FL: Land-value drop boosts preservation purchases Counties have struggled for years to buy and save ecologically sensitive land from being paved over.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. SC; Nat'l interest: Builder halts work at Inlet retirement community Levitt and Sons has halted construction at all of its home projects across the Southeast...leaves some buyers in the lurch.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Beazer proposes deal for creditors UPDATE: Part of ongoing series "Sold a Nightmare."
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. FL: UPDATE: 40 to 50 losing jobs in Coast Bank sale Back-office workers Coast felled by $110 million in loans to 482 customers of defunct builder Construction Compliance. Many borrowers hoped to build, flip homes for quick profits.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. Business Week: Bear (Stearns) Bets Wrong Market for subprime mortgages was crumbling, but the 51-year-old manager of two Bear Stearns (BSC ) hedge funds offered nothing but reassurances to investors.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: National System for Brokers Would Help Protect Home Buyers Between predatory lending and complicated disclosure, "some of the conduct and practices I have learned about are shameful," Paulson said.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. U.S.; Reminder!: Please urge your senator/representative to support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 People over Profits.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: There Ought To Be a Law... Law blog article about the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007, S. 1782. The author thinks the bill won't pass. Please contact your congressmen and see what we can do about that!
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: PDF: Construction Arbitration Services, Inc.’s Response to Public Citizen’s Inflammatory and Misleading Press Release Relevant to the court document AND the 2004 Public Citizen report directly below. Several HADD represenatatives participated in the Public Citizen report and more have since spoken with HADD. We believe the Public Citizen report got it right. --HADD Ed.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. TX Court of Appeals, 5th District: IN RE LESTER B. WOLFF, IMPARTIAL SERVICES GROUP, L.L.C. f/k/a NEUTRAL SERVICES GROUP, L.L.C., CONSTRUCTION ARBITRATION SERVICES... Background: "(Wolff) sued Marshall E. Lippman and Marshall E. Lippman, L.L.C (collectively Lippman) for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, and negligent misrepresentation." (It now appears that Wolff does not want to arbitrate the dispute and Lippman does. Ironic! --HADD Ed.)
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: Use of questionable arbitration firm should be investigated In 2004 Public Citizen asked state insurance commissioners to investigate Construction Arbitration Services (CAS), a private firm that hears cases over defects in new homes. Two owners of CAS (as shown until fairly recently on the TX state site for corporations) were Lester B. Wolff and Marshall E. Lippman. CAS claimed Lippman was no longer with the company when Public Citizen's report came out. This article is relevant to the court document above.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: Survey shows confusion among holders of adjustable mortg Trap door between American Dream and American nightmare
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: Kiss Levitt Goodbye and Pucker Up for Beazer Debt, fraud investigations, & consumer fears that houses under contract might never be built.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: Mortgage Securities Bailout Fund: A Bribe? Like the meeting of the Five Families in the Godfather, the Ten Banks have gotten together to hammer things out.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007. US: SIV Bailout Plan: Don't Ask, Don't Sell Proposed solution same as underlying problem...delay tactic that simply cannot work.
Monday, October 15, 2007. TN: Tennessee Law Concerning Consumer Arbitration S.E. TN Legal Services page on arbitration. Site also has info on subprime lending, predatory practices, foreclosures...
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Judicial Reform - Consider the Missouri Plan Not to let the "justice" system off the hook either, (alongside all the anti-arbitration material), some are suggesting better ways to put judges on the bench that might be better for citizens, too. --Ed.
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Congress Should Ban Mandatory Pre-Dispute Consumer Arbitration For years, consumer advocates have rightfully claimed these clauses to be grossly unfair. (Arbitration clauses are prevalent in home purchase and warranty contracts. --Ed.)
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Stacking the Deck Against Consumers Congressional hearings are expected next month on a bill that would increase consumer choice. The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007...
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Be Wary of Waiving Your Rights Chamber of Commerce and its corporate members want is mandatory binding arbitration—the kind of arbitration that permanently precludes deserving individuals from ever seeking legal redress in the courts when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others. (Arbitration is prevalent in home purchase contracts & warranties as well. --Ed.
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Countrywide Mortgage Tricks Continue It seems that the lenders are still willing to play financial games to keep loaning money....The thought of some of these three-story toothpick structures having a 30-year life seems like a stretch.
Monday, October 15, 2007. ME: Contractors split on licensing issue Currently, if a contractor doesn't stand by his work, he said all he has to do is change the sign on his van and start over.
But Conti said registration is problematic because it leads people to believe just because the contractor is registered, he's qualified.
Monday, October 15, 2007. NY: Former N. Hempstead building commish accused of fraud District attorney's probe has broadened to include possible links between campaign contributions to town elected officials and favors to developers.
Monday, October 15, 2007. FL: Lennar Marks Homes That May Have Bombs On Property UPDATE w/links to previous articles
Monday, October 15, 2007. CA; Nat'l interest: In Slow Times, Homebuilders Look to Cities for Help (Lennar) has asked Santee to allow special tax to be charged to future homebuyers...The tax, called Community Facilities District, would take Lennar off hook for millions of dollars in infrastructure
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Buzz: It's not a good sign when... developers take homes off market, turn them into rentals.
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Beazer Opens The Door To Litigation Berg said Beazer’s admission means that it was "caught red-handed and they want to put a stop to the bleeding." He added: “The evidence must have been so overwhelming that it would have been useless to continue the fight."
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Beazer Tries Po' Boy Routine It looks like the house of cards homebuilder Beazer (NYSE: BZH) built for itself is in danger of collapse.
Monday, October 15, 2007. CA; Nat'l interest: New California Law Aims to Take the Heat Off of Appraisers While Protecting Consumers Too making it illegal to pressure appraisers to arrive at a predetermined property value that's been set by mortgage brokers or homeowners to ensure a sale goes through.
Monday, October 15, 2007. OK: 10 sentenced for roles in mortgage fraud Officials said the defendants intended to profit by funneling substantial sums of money back to themselves and others from excess sales proceeds under the guise of remodeling, repair costs or marketing service fees.
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Appraisers Respond: Too Much Fraud In Lending You cannot participate in the real estate business without committing felonies. I complained to the boards and they tried to stifle me. According to the FBI, this is the new Mafia.
Monday, October 15, 2007. US: Mortgage Fraud Current news, indictments, etc.
Friday, October 12, 2007. MN: Appraiser admits hyping values UPDATE to Parish Marketing homebuilder-mortgate fraud case: Donald Todd Yeager testified that he inflated value of homes by $50,000 to $100,000 each.
Friday, October 12, 2007. FL: Bombs May Be Buried Under 54 Homes; Crews To Dig Up Properties Plans to begin digging up properties may force families from homes.
Friday, October 12, 2007. CO: Stafford makes political switch Stafford said decision to change parties brewing for a while and dust-up in March when she supported construction-defects bill opposed by home builders industry helped crystallize decision. In that fight, fellow Republican warned her she'd be targeted by home-builders association in future elections if she supported bill.
Friday, October 12, 2007. FL: Poor economy boosts Flagler crime In last three months, three homebuilders have been arrested and accused.
Friday, October 12, 2007. US: Beazer Homes faces up to $15M fine for loan violations UPDATE.
Friday, October 12, 2007. US: Probe weakens Beazer further UPDATE on BEAZER's federal investigations
Friday, October 12, 2007. US: Democrats agree on Fannie, Freddie caps House and Senate lawmakers said Thursday they will support legislation that permits Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to increase holdings of mortgages by $74 billion each, or 10 percent above current limits of $735 billion -- for six months.
Friday, October 12, 2007. US: Fannie and Freddie won't buy loans with arbitration clauses (as of 2004) Older article, relevant to one above.
Thursday, October 11, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: Class Action Lawsuit Against First Home Builders of Florida and K. Hovnanian Complaint alleges that First Home, D&W, and several of its officers and directors, violated the federal securities laws by issuing materially false and misleading statements to prospective investors in order to induce them to purchase real estate investment properties
Thursday, October 11, 2007. US: Press release from BEAZER about investigation Re: other articles posted here today.
Thursday, October 11, 2007. Craiglist: Another Beazer ad, promoting their lender Same deal as below, different house
Thursday, October 11, 2007. Craiglist: Beazer Home for sale; loan deal only available if you use Beazer Mortgate This is the kind of stuff that led to the problems below isn't it?
Thursday, October 11, 2007. Houston Chronicle: More on Beazer Lending violations Co. may negotiate wtih feds, pay fines
Thursday, October 11, 2007. US: Think the National Arbitration Forum is more likely to be fair than other arbitration firms/org's? The credit card company could produce no proof Cornock had opened the account or made any charges. Not to worry. The National Arbitration Forum ruled against the customer anyway, and awarded MBNA $9,446.85. (Arbitration clauses in house purchase contracts can be equally unfair. --Ed.)
Thursday, October 11, 2007. WI: Builder's woes pile up, costs city manager his job 22 lawsuits against real estate developer Robert Niebauer and PRDC: Foreclosed, b'gosh
Thursday, October 11, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Beazer says its mortgage unit violated HUD regulations MORE on federal investigations into Beazer Homes' lending practices from SOLD A NIGHTMARE series
Thursday, October 11, 2007. Charlotte Observer: Probe targets Realty Place Company records show -- and former employees affirm -- that Realty Place maintained a close relationship with builders after vowing to protect clients from them. (MORE from the SOLD A NIGHTMARE series that included federal investigations into Beazer Homes, foreclosures, etc.)
Thursday, October 11, 2007. US: Moody's cuts Centex, Lennar, Pulte to junk status Debt, cancellations, other problems.
Thursday, October 11, 2007. TN: Start to Finish Homebuilders and Developers suing county again Builder doesn't get its way, sues, claiming also "emotional damages." "Planning Commission Bob Farris said he stands by his decision to reject the development, which he said will cause flooding to neighbors and to future residents of the subdivisions."
Thursday, October 11, 2007. VA/D.C.: Subprime & Punishment NVR (builder and in-house lender) suckers buyers into classic predatory loan.
Thursday, October 11, 2007. AL: Two area builders shutter businesses Carroll & Green Group Inc. and Vintage Homes
Thursday, October 11, 2007. US: Beazer to Restate Earnings After Mortgage Unit Probe Various federal investigations--update
Thursday, October 11, 2007. US: Countrywide CEO probe sought; Beazer restates results UPDATES to ongoing stories posted previously.
Thursday, October 11, 2007. Charlotte Observer: UPDATE: Sold a Nightmare (investigative series that began in March 2007--see links to series in article) Beazer's HUD violations, high forclosures, were "particularly in relation" to down payment assistance programs
Thursday, October 11, 2007. US: Beazer Homes reveals violations Beazer Homes USA, the troubled Atlanta-based homebuilder, said Thursday that a five-month internal investigation found evidence that employees violated federal regulations governing its mortgage loan business "dating back to at least 2000."
Thursday, October 11, 2007. TX: Mirasol Home Repairs Halted Again UPDATE on KB Home development's problems
Thursday, October 11, 2007. WV: WV Attorney General finds & sues home improvement business Superior Windows, Inc., a.k.a. WDS Marketing
Thursday, October 11, 2007. US: Students compete to design solar homes with products already on market.
Thursday, October 11, 2007. Nat'l interest: HADD president's letter to editor re: Arbitration article If the arbitration process is so wonderful for consumers, why is it mandatory, binding and hidden in fine print in consumer contracts? If it truly was fair and less expensive for consumers, wouldn’t they choose arbitration after a dispute arises?
Thursday, October 11, 2007. TX: Choice Homes Experience Homeowner's website about their bad experience.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. MD: Mortgage company loses court appeal POS Dream Home, also known as Metropolitan Grapevine. (UPDATE)
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. The Hook: Caveat emptor: Mold house auctioned off A woman answering the phone at the Richmond company that handled the sale says the lender bought the house back.
To the new owners, Butler has a message: “I want that person to know you bought a whole lot of heartache.”
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. U.S. Dept. of Justice: Competition and Real Estate: Anti-Trust Division Laws in your state, etc.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. AZ: Runaway growth can only be stymied by passage of Prop. 200 In spite of the water situation, our local governments continue to pander to the land-development industry and the home builders
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. Nat'l interest: Experts Question Home Sales Incentives An artificial way to sell a home for less money, but not have the public records show it was sold for less money.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. FL: Creditors start weighing options in Enterprise bankruptcy case (Many owed money by the bankrupt builder. Interesting how complaints may have been hidden by the state as problems grew:) "Chapter 455 of Florida statutes states that the department can only release information about complaints 10 days after an investigation reveals probable cause."
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. TN: Bank sues builder Cadence Bank has sued home Mark Matthews Development claiming they owe nearly $1 million on overdue loans....Suppliers have filed 255 liens for nonpayment...
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. US: The Great Subprime Credit Fake-Out Home-builder managements stand guilty of facilitating the subprime credit mess, signing up "nothing down" buyers with spotty employment records.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. US: How breaking copyright laws can shut down your builder gripe-site www.powermarkhomessucks.com shut down: "By merely asserting that a negative website contains copyrighted material (or other forms of intellectual property that most ISPs cover under their DMCA policies), a complainant can get the site taken off the Internet almost immediately, often within minutes, and without prior notice to the site owner."
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. MI: CORRECTED LINK from yesterday: Border v. Henning Defendants were properly denied a directed verdict on plaintiff's claims that defendants fraudulently misrepresented that the roof of the home plaintiff was purchasing did not leak and that there were hardwood floors throughout the house.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. US: Women Forced Out of Their Jobs For Reporting Fraudulent Sub-Prime Home Loans Win Appellate Decision UPDATE: Worked for Lehman Brothers subsidiary BNC
Wednesday, October 10, 2007. US: National Association of Consumer Advocates Arbitration abuse, deceptive practices etc... "not isolated instances, but systemic corporate problems that need to be challenged and fixed."
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. US: Turning Out Voters Can Elect Pro-Housing Local Leaders Nat'l Association of Home Builders encourages members to put their favored candidates in office.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. US: Corporations Versus Democracy No one running for office wants to be blacklisted by corporate lobbyists in Washington. (Homebuilding is a very well funded and connected lobbying group. --Ed.)
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. US: Mortgage Meltdown Has More to do with Fraud than Anything Else Real Estate and mortgage industry comprise concerted effort on part of industry professionals and insiders to fleece consumers.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. MI: Border v. Henning Defendants denied directed verdict on plaintiff's claims that defendants fraudulently misrepresented roof of home plaintiff was purchasing did not leak and that there were hardwood floors throughout house.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. Newsweek: The $5 Billion Mulligan Banks insist their credit problems are over. Why on earth do investors believe them?
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. TX: Anti-SLAPP lawsuit legislation in Texas legislature now SLAPP=Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. SLAPPs are sometimes filed against people who complain about builders or other companies. The lawsuits are usually without merit and serve to silence critics.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. FL: The Fall of Florida's Largest Land Developer St. Joe; Lennar mentioned...
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. TX: Minor suspect speaks out in bribery probe UPDATE on Dallas city hall-housing corruption case
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. World: State Department Hired Corrupt Contractor To Build U.S. Embassy In Iraq “Substandard work” by First Kuwaiti General Trading & Contracting Company. Investigation uncovered poor workmanship — widespread defects in fire detection systems and electrical wiring — and past record of corruption that State Deparment may have purposefully overlooked:
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. US: Foxtons' debts top $40 million; seeks Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Early investors included executives and a subsidiary of Hovnanian Enterprises, Toll Brothers, and Kimball Hill Inc., a Houston-based home builder, according to court documents.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. MN; MI; CO; FL; WI...: UPDATE: RE: earlier stories posted this year on Norlarco Credit Union in CO, First Home in FL Superior Choice credit union in MN latest to be damaged by ongoing First Homes (K. Hovnanian) case involving more and more states.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. TN: Building Inspections Office Under Scrutiny $400,000 house by Bill Jennings of B & L Construction: crumbling, sinking, water in basement, mold. Was not built to code, inspection reports did not exist. Building inspector may have made up documents after the fact to cover for builder.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. AZ: Scottsdale couple battle Shea Homes over $164,000 for damages, legal fees and court costs City and licensing agency powerless to enforce laws on builders. Builder accused of attempting to financially bleed couple into submission in decade-long legal dispute over defective retaining wall. Homeowners obtained rare win in arbitration but apparently still don't have their money. Arbitrator Raymond Weaver called Shea Homes’ arguments “literally preposterous” and slammed developer with dragging out proceedings in attempt to outspend the homeowners.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. Nat'l interest: Toxic Mold Litigation Book: might be of use to your attorney if you are in a mold case. Not sure if the book is written from the perspective of a homeowner's lawyer, or other party's but could be helpful either way.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. MSNBC: Housing: That sinking feeling MSNBC resurrects Business Week story from several weeks ago.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: KB Home Sold Me a Lemon Homeowner's website.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. US: Mortgage Bankers Association Advises Against Broadening Fraud Laws Wants to keep definition of fraud contained to when it hurts lenders. When it just hurts home buyers it's apparently ok.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. National interest: Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud Information Informative site; organization doing classes in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Idaho.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007. US: Lawsuits Filed Against CertainTeed Corporation Defective roofing shingles.
Monday, October 08, 2007. MSN: Developers helped build a bust Real-estate nightmare with new breed of monster: the big home builder as lender. (Article is resurrection of Business Week's series this summer/fall. --Ed.)
Monday, October 08, 2007. US: Immigration/Housing: An Industry Response All of this seems to come right back to the lenders
Monday, October 08, 2007. NJ: Suit Puts Hovnanian Under Fire State environmental regulators approved development on condition that 20 percent of the homes would be affordable. K. Hovnanian hasn't kept its end of deal.
Monday, October 08, 2007. FL: Construction arm of Marco-based real estate firm files Chapter 11 Enterprise Construction, of RE/MAX Results Realty, announced it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, bringing to close a chapter in firm's life marked by public protests against the company by disgruntled clients...While filing the Chapter 11 petition, Enterprise also filed motion requesting approval for post-petition line of credit from Dan Dufault Sr.
Monday, October 08, 2007. US: UPDATE: More on the Arbitration Trap More info and links about the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007.
Monday, October 08, 2007. World: Housing Crash Today's news.
Monday, October 08, 2007. US: Swimming with loan sharks Professionals' advice should be accurate, reliable, not lies. Loan originators should've known better than to create, approve, toxic loans.
Monday, October 08, 2007. US: More Lipstick on a Pig? Better Business Bureau launching "branding campaign," complete with arbitration where businesses now pay a fee for "accreditation." We see same old pig, new lipstick. --Ed.
Monday, October 08, 2007. US: BNC Mortgage Employees Win Appellate Court Battle Legal victory involving six former BNC Mortgage employees who say they were harassed out of jobs after reporting fraudulent lending practices...can have jury trial instead of being forced into private arbitration.
Monday, October 08, 2007. US: Nonprofit down-payment assistance banned Builder/seller funded downpayment assistance through "charities" resulted in higher payments, inflated prices, increased defaults. (Other articles referred to it as money laundering and scams. --Ed.)
Monday, October 08, 2007. US: Housing Counsel: New Homes Need Inspections According to Frank Lesh, the current president of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), "even new homes have defects that only a professional can detect."
Monday, October 08, 2007. Nat'l interest: (Some) Builders resisted the urge to surge Builders who are in trouble now might learn something from this.
Monday, October 08, 2007. US: Will One Of The Home Builders Go Bankrupt? Burdened with too much debt.
Monday, October 08, 2007. Nat'l interest: Homebuilders use car dealer tactics on new-home lots "It's one gimmick after another," Baker said.
But the buyer should beware, housing experts say. The sales typically come with conditions, disclosed in the fine print, such as use of the builder's lender.
Sunday, October 07, 2007. US: NAMB Applauds Investigation of Builders’ RESPA Violations NAMB Warns that Violations Emerging Now Are Just Tip of the Iceberg (Relevant to article directly below. --Ed.)
Sunday, October 07, 2007. US: When builder is also a lender, be sure to comparison shop (JD Power, the same company that gives builders high ratings when we hear scads of complaints on them, now claims people are happiest using the builder's lender, a relationship fraught with predatory lending, e.g. the federal investigation into Beazer Homes and other builders' lending practices, KB Home being fined over $3 million by HUD, etc. --Ed.) "National Association of Mortgage Brokers ... calls the survey findings "a bunch of baloney" and claims to have hundreds of examples of buyers who believe they were taken by their builder-lender."
Sunday, October 07, 2007. TX: Sixteen People Charged in Dallas Affordable Housing Corruption Case 31-count indictment includes charges of bribery, tax fraud, and embezzlement. Among those charged: prominent state lawmaker, pair of Dallas city councilmen, city planner, four real estate developers.
Sunday, October 07, 2007. US: Homeowners' Associations Operate As Governments HOAs function as unnacountable de facto governments that need to be reined in.
Sunday, October 07, 2007. TX: UPDATE: Rival developer blew whistle in City Hall FBI probe Among the others indicted was Mr. Fisher's former boss, Southwest Housing Development Co.'s Brian Potashnik.
Sunday, October 07, 2007. Paul Wenske in KS City Star; Nat'l interest: When you sign up for a credit card, you sign up for arbitration (Same harmful clauses prevalent in home purchases. --Ed.)
Sunday, October 07, 2007. US: Home-foreclosure auctions call for diligent preparation Homes may have code violations, liens, etc.
Saturday, October 06, 2007. CT: Builder took cash, but didn't build home, state says John and Eileen Johannessen, principals of This New House II, took money to build a house in Kent but didn't finish the job
Saturday, October 06, 2007. NJ; Nat'l interest: Potential for conflict looms for lawmakers Elected official has ties with lobbying firm, developers.
Saturday, October 06, 2007. US: Countrywide's Misguided Pride PR campaign launched by lousy-lending poster child...One laughable takeaway: This is the media's fault.
Saturday, October 06, 2007. MI; FL: UPDATE: Norlarco Credit Union financed real estate deals that went sour Foreclosures, unfinished houses. Homes mostly built by First Home Builders of FL, a company purchased by Hovnanian Enterprises
Friday, October 05, 2007. AZ; Nat'l interest: American Dream turns to a nightmare for some owners Builders raised prices thousands per week, got buyers into risky loans. Speculators bought up houses. Everyone thought it would keep going up. Now many have foreclosed.
Friday, October 05, 2007. NV: In Business Las Vegas Opposing views on mortgage bailout, & list of 9 disciplined contractors
Friday, October 05, 2007. US: More mortgage fraud and other news/commentary on Flipping Frenzy
Friday, October 05, 2007. US: Mortgage fraud Current news articles on Amico home building co fraud and more.
Friday, October 05, 2007. CA; Nat'l.: Home appraisers pushed to inflate values Exaggerated appraisals not entire reason agencies and financial institutions in financial distress, but are piece of the puzzle
Friday, October 05, 2007. Nat'l Arbitration Forum: PDF of Construction arbitration matters Pro-arbitration site; info could be useful for anyone trying to get out of arbitration or make sure their contract doesn't trap them into it.
Friday, October 05, 2007. U.S. House of Representatives: How to write to members of Judiciary committee in support Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 Click on names of members to get their contact info (even if you are not their constituent).
Friday, October 05, 2007. Consumerist: How to Write to Congress to support the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 Links and suggestions.
Friday, October 05, 2007. US: Fine Print Can Cost You More on Public Citizen's report on the drawbacks of mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts. Though the report dealt with credit card arbitration the same principles apply to arbitration in home purchase contracts & warranty policies.
Friday, October 05, 2007. Mortgage News Daily: Tell your story Fraud, foreclosure, problems with buying/selling, lenders going out of business, mortgage fraud, etc.
Friday, October 05, 2007. US: Bailouts Wreak Havoc on the Economy Everyone is for free markets when times are good... But the moment someone goes bust, money gets tight, or the economy slows, people start screaming for a bailout.
Friday, October 05, 2007. FL: Fraud case against Sunrise Mobile Homes focused on owner Patricia Wilson Buyers' money gone, homes not even ordered; company's owner says 'get a lawyer,' and laughs.
Friday, October 05, 2007. PA: No public money to fix Linfield Farms concrete Not first Berks Homes subdivision w/ problems. Seventy-five homeowners filed suit in Feb, alleging concrete walks, porches, curbs deficient in materials and workmanship & builder refused to repair or replace.
Friday, October 05, 2007. Bloomberg: Homebuilders Liquidate Assets as Threat to Survival Spurs Sales Builders with heavy debt loads.
Friday, October 05, 2007. Nat'l interest: Stalled Developments Strand Residents Home Alone Down payments should be held in escrow w/third party, payments not to be delivered until conditions met. That way buyer is protected if builder goes belly up
Friday, October 05, 2007. Business Week: Battered Builders Some Wall Street pros piling back into homebuilding stocks despite bleak outlook. What on earth are they thinking?
Friday, October 05, 2007. Business Week: Housing: That Sinking Feeling Homeowners getting slammed as builders slash prices.
Friday, October 05, 2007. The Street: Top 20 'Dumbisms' on Wall Street 13. Anything said by the National Association of Home Builders.
Friday, October 05, 2007. US: Another Absurd Homebuilder Rally Stephen Kim sounds like a guy you should listen to if you want to lose two-thirds of your money.
Friday, October 05, 2007. US: New Twists Already in the Mortgage Forgiveness Act Who qualifies and who doesn't; potential for fraud, etc.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. NY: UPDATE: Amicos plead guilty in fraud case The Amicos obtained more than 200 fraudulent mortgages by using bogus documents that overstated the values of the homes and the financial well-being of the buyers.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. US: Criminal probe is said to focus on collapsed lender Federal prosecutors and FBI investigating whether criminal misconduct was involved in collapse of American Home Mortgage.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. MN: Edina homeowners out hundreds of thousands, police say contractor to blame Sennes Design Build's owner can't be found.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. NJ: UPDATE: Kara Homes Bankruptcy Local developer to complete Kara project; no guarantees home buyers deposits will count.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. FL; Nat'l interest: Editorial: Mortgage fraud Also construction fraud: No longer buying excuses
Thursday, October 04, 2007. OR: Law firm's info on new construction related laws The Oregon Legislature passed many important new laws this year that will affect the way many Oregon contractors do business.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. US: Countrywide hires public relations crisis firm To improve murky image, Countrywide hired same magical company that represented companies involved in Chinese toy scandal & others. Complete with green wrist bands for (remaining) employees.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. International: Mortgage Con Goes Global Banks were fully aware of looming sub-prime mortgage crisis. In fact, were well prepared to quite literally pass the buck… to foreign investors.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. TX: Critics of TX Supreme Court say justices favor large corporate defenders. Between 2005 and 2006, 84 % of cases favored corporations.
Thursday, October 04, 2007. US: Pending Home Sales Down 21% Real estate boom was powered by faux fundamentals...Why on earth, are people more or less advocating for a return to those days?
Thursday, October 04, 2007. CA: Home Owners Associations can file lawsuits that affect even members who don't want to file Even if you don't have construction defects your HOA may file such a lawsuit with expensive repercussions. However, before assuming this article is telling the whole story, consider that some of the units in the condos may have had defects meaning there is a chance they all do. Interesting reading nonetheless. --Ed.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. MI Legislature: Senate Bill 0452 (2007) MI Legislation re: licensing of builders. Re: videos from MI TV station from this morning, below, also Senate Bills 451 and 453 along same lines. Sponsors of the bills are Senators Cassis and Basham, contact info on legislature site also.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. MI: Senate Bill 0450 (2007) MI Legislation concerning complaints against contractors, re: videos posted earlier today.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. PA; Nat'l interest: Better Business Bureau exec sued for fraud UPDATE: Second time this year local BBB confronted controversy. BBB retained as member in good standing ex-con homebuilder, Scott Binsack, of Mansions & Estates even after criminal past emerged and new lawsuits and complaints mounted.
BBB bylaws prevented it from removing disgraced or jailed members. Binsack jailed on bad-check charges, violation of parole. BBB dropped Binsack only after he failed to pay membership renewal fee.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. US: Incentives for malfeasance renewed Countrywide made more questionable loans than anyone else
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. TX: More on TX bribery case involving affordable housing development
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. FL: Contractors charged with promising homes, taking money Noel Richardson and Herbert of Heron Canterbury Estates. Also involved; Oxford Title... (Sheriff's Office in August charged Greg Bleyl, Osprey Homes, for not starting or not finishing homes he took money for).
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. TX: Housing developer pleads not guilty in city hall corruption case UPDATE: Southwest Housing's Brian L. Potashnik, wife and father named in indictments alleging elaborate bribery and extortion scheme.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. FL: Home builders charged with multiple felonies Herbert Heron and Noel Richardson, owners of Canterbury Estate Homes Inc. and Oxford Title Company Inc. (the company that handled Canterbury's real estate closings), were charged with grand theft, organized fraud, misapplication of construction funds and issuing worthless checks
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. MI: Bad Builders Bills Proposed legislation.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. MI: Bad News Builder Gets Hammered Video.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. US: Beazer 'loophole' no defense, say creditors Creditors holding $1.5 billion in debt extended to Beazer Homes have drawn line in sand, insist Beazer either provide certified financial statement for most recent sales and revenues or pay back loans.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. US: Beazer CEO reaps bonus Despite federal investigations, etc.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007. US: Arbitration clauses sometimes harm small businesses as well as consumers Larger contractor was able to run up legal bills and force dispute over shoddy work into arbitration where legal fees were not recoverable.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. US: IRS Targets Down-Payment-Assistance Scams Seller-Funded Programs Do Not Qualify As Tax Exempt (The IRS ruling re: more recent articles about Nehemiah, etc, suing HUD. --ED.)
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. US: UPDATE: FHA sued for trying to ban some downpayment help AmeriDream joins Nehemiah in suing HUD. (Earlier news dating back to 2006 compared the "gift" to money laundering. --ED.)
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. US: Women Forced Out of Jobs For Reporting Fraudulent Sub-Prime Home Loans The women had complained to Lehman Brothers (BNC) superiors about co's fraudulent lending practices. Court says women can sue employer; arbitration clause unenforceable.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. Consumerist: Confessions: Arbitration Firms Are Godless Bloodsuckers Mandatory binding arbitration against consumers is a scam. Let's abolish it and keep it where it was designed for, businesses to deal with other businesses.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. GA: Vacant Homes Bring Danger, (increased crime) 42 percent of all properties in neighborhood boarded up. Click on "Read all 11 comments" at end; some readers have said this is at least partially a NEW neighborhood.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. NJ: 'Red flags' seen in NJ Affordable Homes case Volume, persistence and variety of red flags in First United loan files lead to the conclusion First United and Natale either consciously ignored repeated signs of fraud and improper conduct in loan applications or were active participants
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. IN; Nat'l interest: Letter to Editor Housing will not recover until prices are allowed to decline to the point where they are affordable.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. TX: State legislator indicted in Dallas public corruption case Terri Hodge among 14 charged in alleged public housing scheme involving bribery, extortion, kickbacks; two others named in separate case. At the heart of the indictments is the allegation that public officials accepted bribes and kickbacks to help Brian Potashnik's company, Southwest Housing, receive construction contracts.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. US: Mortgage Forgiveness Act: The Seen and Unseen Inquiring minds have been asking...
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. US: Today's Housing Bubble Post - Homebuilder Stocks -- Suckers Let's see, highest housing inventory ever, difficult to get credit, mortgage rates rising in response to Fed bailout attempt, prices far, far, far above what an average person can afford, a huge wave of ARM resets coming next year... and some probably-23-year-old analyst sees a price bottom?
Oh yes, go buy stocks based on a bottom - suckers.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. US: Homebuilding trade organization says fed will keep expansion going NAHB news: (keeping the bubble going?)
Tuesday, October 02, 2007. US: Corporations worried about Arbitration Fairnless Act, which would affect enforceability of the clause in consumer contracts (Gearing up by putting on Continuing Legal Education Seminars which we've noticed an increased number of, this article being one example.)
Monday, October 01, 2007. US: FHA Down Payment Rule To Ban Seller Financing The home buyers are often unaware that the 'gift' is something they end up paying for and is not a 'gift' at all." ... In a ruling last year, the IRS went so far as to call the seller-financed programs "scams,"
Monday, October 01, 2007. US: Nehemiah Corporation of America Responds to HUD's Rule Banning Private Downpayment Assistance Programs (Previous articles on these programs where a seller/builder "contributes" to a "charity" that pays the buyer's downpayment have compared it to money laundering and said it is against the IRS's rules for a true charity.)
Monday, October 01, 2007. US: Home builder Standard Pacific bets against the house in current slump It’s easy to see why shareholders don’t like what they see.
Monday, October 01, 2007. Realty Check: WaMu: Leading The Way Or Stating The Obvious?? Did the mortgage industry get so terribly far out of control that a major lender’s “new standards” are what I consider to be lending 101??
Monday, October 01, 2007. NC: Structural Problems in New Home Update Code violations, empty promises to fix defects, lawsuit against Biltmore Homes
Monday, October 01, 2007. CO; U.S.: Warranty co. requires builders in dispute with it, to use home court PDF: Not arbitration, not just any old court, but the home court advantage?
Monday, October 01, 2007. MI: CARUSO v. CAMBRIDGE INVESTMENT GROUP, INC., and NICHOLAS HOMES WEST, L.L.C., Construction liens; foreclosure
Monday, October 01, 2007. NY Times: Enron’s Second Coming? Is it Countrywide Financial?
Monday, October 01, 2007. TX: Mirasol costs mounting KB Home development, ongoing story.
Monday, October 01, 2007. Consumer Affairs: More coverage on Public Citizen's report on arbitration “Binding mandatory arbitration...is a get-out-of-jail-free card for corporate hucksters.”
Monday, October 01, 2007. WA: Setting the siding straight in Stanwood After news story, manufacturer of MaxiPlank fiber cement siding, and builder Alan Thomas, who installed it wrong, agree to make repairs.
Monday, October 01, 2007. NY: Market stall means empty foundations Unfinished homes; "it looks like Sandord and Son..."
Monday, October 01, 2007. FL: Another Flagler builder charged with fraud Joseph Fasino, Sandcastle Homes
Monday, October 01, 2007. World: The Con That Turned the World Against America U.S. economy beginning to resemble giant smoke-and-mirrors Ponzi scheme....Trust in America quickly disappearing. America single-handedly brought international financial system virtually to its knees by foisting off fraud-ridden subprime debt on unsuspecting world