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ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
San Antonio Building Inspectors Under Investigation for Bribes
Latest News
Tuesday, 23 February 2010

City code inspectors accused of taking bribes
When the retaining wall in the Rivermist subdivision collapsed last month, city inspectors admitted they didn't know the wall was even there.  Now, the news four WOAI trouble shooters uncovered new concerns that city inspectors aren’t doing enough to keep you safe inside your home.  When your house is under construction, city inspectors are supposed to inspect things like the plumbing and electrical wiring to make sure it's done right.  But we've uncovered some inspectors are the target of a criminal investigation for allegedly taking bribes from contractors in exchange for approving work they never checked.

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Another San Antonio shoddy home built
Latest News
Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Couple sues home builder for shoddy home
Mold, cracked walls, unlevel ground, leaking floors. Not exactly something you want to deal with after moving into your remodeled home.  It's a situation Robert Overby and his family faced. That was three years ago.  "To buy the home, to make repairs, to make engineers come out... we've spent over $300,000 dollars," says Robert.  Robert wants the builder to fix these problems soon. A state commission came out in 2007 and found there were significant defects to the home...The builder has offered to buy the Overby home, but the couple refused because it's less than the contract price. They are now suing the city, SAWS, CPS, and the builder for 1.2 million dollars.

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FBI Raids Developer
Latest News
Friday, 19 February 2010

AP Wire: Feds raid headquarters of Concord development firm
CONCORD, Calif.—Federal agents are reviewing documents seized in a raid of the headquarters of a Northern California-based development company.  A spokesman with the Federal Bureau of Investigation says about 30 federal agents served search warrants at the offices of Discovery Builders and the Albert D. Seeno Construction Co. in Concord Thursday. Spokesman Joseph Schadler said agents were looking for evidence of possible financial crimes. No arrests were made. The two companies are part of a giant development and home-building operation founded by the late Albert Seeno. The Seeno family also holds major stakes in companies that own Peppermill Resort Casino in Reno and a casino resort in Wendover, Nev. An attorney who represents Discovery Builders and other Seeno family enterprises said the companies are cooperating with the FBI.

 
More on Outrageous Wealthy Builder Federal Welfare Program
Latest News
Thursday, 17 December 2009

Over $800 million in taxpayers' money goes straight into the home builders' pockets
No matter if they don't need the money? According to the reporter, Gretchen Morgenson of the NY Times:Among the biggest beneficiaries are home builders, analysts say. Once again, at the front of the government assistance line, stand some of the very companies that contributed mightily to the credit crisis by building and financing too many homes.

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Defense Bill with No Arbitration Amendment Expected to Pass Before Christmas
Latest News
Thursday, 17 December 2009

KBR rape case to influence rules for contractors
Prompted by the alleged rape of former KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones, Congress is poised to pass a measure banning defense contractors from forcing employees to use arbitration to resolve claims of discrimination and sexual assault. House and Senate negotiators agreed to include the no-arbitration provision in a $636 billion defense spending bill that passed the House 395-34 on Wednesday. The measure now heads to the Senate, which is expected to pass it before Christmas.

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Bankrupt? Royce Homes Wealthy Owner Opens New Homebuilder Company Under New Name
Latest News
Saturday, 05 December 2009

Bankrupt Home Builder Resurfaces
Local 2 Investigates has learned the owner of Royce Homes is seeing a lot of green. Fifteen miles away in the Lakes of Cypress Forest, we found new home builder, Vestalia Homes, building houses. John Speer, listed with the Secretary of State as the only board manager of Vestalia, opened the company Sept. 29, 2008, just three weeks after we reported Speer closed the doors of Royce because of financial problems. The Web site for Vestalia Homes touts "decades of experience," with no mention of Royce. "If they're gonna rely on those decades of home building experience, they might as well disclose where they came from and what they're basing that claim on," said Monica Russo with the Houston Better Business Bureau.

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Royce Homes: Misappropriated $400,000 Charity Funds and Homeowners left hanging
Latest News
Saturday, 05 December 2009

Royce Homes under fire from local homeowners, charity
There are thousands of people in the Greater Houston area living in houses built by Royce Homes. For new homebuyers, those houses represented the culmination of a dream. But that dream has become a nightmare for homeowners like Nicholas Howard. He says he’s been forced to contend with what he calls faulty construction by a homebuilder that filed for bankruptcy last year. Attorneys have filed a lawsuit against Royce Homes, claiming the builder misappropriated $400,000 raised from an annual golf tournament and skeet-shooting event – money that should have been paid to charity.

Read more...
 
A hoax, or at minimum – incompetence, the ‘Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009
Latest News
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

American Banking News: Obama’s ‘Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009′ Provides Tax Breaks Worth Billions to Big Business
Nowhere has the bailout funds been seen as useless than the billions thrown around by the Obama administration in the name of creating more jobs. Now that it has been exposed as either a hoax, or at minimum – incompetence, the ‘Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009,’ which was recently signed into law by Obama, offers up to $33 billion in tax breaks to big business under the guise of creating more jobs. In the meantime, unemployment continues to soar while companies use funds and tax breaks for business purpose and not hiring.

Read more...
 
Texas State Investigators Set Up Sting At Vacant Home
Latest News
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Sting Targets Unlicensed Contractors
When your house needs repairs, do you know who is coming into your home? Monday on the Nightbeat at 10, it's plumbing, lies and electrical tape...State investigators recently launched a sting operation in San Antonio to target unlicensed electrical and air conditioning contractors.
Their goal was to keep homeowners safe. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation set up shop at a vacant house and called contractors and handymen for bids on electrical and air conditioning work. None of the contractors the agency targeted possessed state or city licenses, which makes it illegal for them to offer such services.

Read more...
 
News 8 Tulsa: FBI Investigates
Latest News
Tuesday, 17 November 2009

FBI Investigating Home Builder
It's been a month since builder Grant Cole told his employees that he was filing bankruptcy before abruptly disappearing. On Monday, an attorney took action to find out if there's anything left..."From what I can tell, it's in excess of $1 million dollars and potentially up to $2 million dollars."

Read more...
 
NY Times's Gretchen Morgenson: Home Builder Gifts from Washington
Latest News
Monday, 16 November 2009

The New York Times's Gretchen Morgenson: Home Builders (You Heard That Right) Get a Gift
The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009 into law, extending unemployment benefits by 20 weeks and renewing the first-time homebuyer tax credit until next April.  But tucked inside the law was another prize: a tax break that lets big companies offset losses incurred in 2008 and 2009 against profits booked as far back as 2004. The tax cuts will generate corporate refunds or relief worth about $33 billion, according to an administration estimate.  This is getting to be a habit: companies that participated on the upside and are now reaping rewards from the taxpayers on the downside. The banks that underwrote so many dubious loans, for example, received government aid to get them lending again. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the result.

Read more...
 
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