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Organizing your community to bring public attention to builder’s bad deeds and seeking assistance from local, state and federal elected officials has proven to be more effective and much quicker for thousands of families. You do have choices and alternatives.  Janet Ahmad

New Jersey - Latest News
New Jersey begins sweeping changes for builder regulation
Tuesday, 10 May 2005
Governor orders ethics code for state's building inspectors
Reacting to a damning state report on shoddy new construction, acting Gov. Richard J. Codey yesterday ordered up a new ethics code for building inspectors and a push to advise homeowners of their rights. The SCI investigation found the program -- one of the nation's first -- riddled with problems. Buyers testified that they were strung along by builders until warranties expired and that arbitration tended to favor builders. It is unclear when the Legislature might act on more sweeping recommendations, such as the lemon law requiring builders to buy back defective homes, regulating some building trades not now licensed and bringing new housing under the Consumer Fraud Act, which would make builders liable for triple damages.
Read more...
 
Another Arrest in New Jersey
Wednesday, 04 May 2005

FEDS ARREST MARLBORO DEVELOPER AT EX-WIFE'S HOLMDEL HOME: Faces four counts of giving Scannapieco, Larrison a total of $143,500 in bribes
Federal agents rousted Spalliero, 62, from bed at 6:30 a.m. at the palatial home of his ex-wife in Holmdel. He was handcuffed and taken to FBI offices in Tinton Falls for processing and then driven by federal agents to U.S. District Court in Newark.

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FBI Investigation of Public Corruption
Friday, 29 April 2005
LARRISON CHARGED WITH TAKING BRIBES
FEDS SAY EX-FREEHOLDER DIRECTOR TOOK CASH FROM DEVELOPERS
FBI: Was to get $10,000 for help in Marlboro but received $8,500
Former Freeholder Director Harry W. Larrison Jr. — the patriarch of Monmouth County government for nearly four decades — was charged Wednesday with accepting at least $8,500 in bribes from two developers, the most stunning accusation yet in an ongoing FBI investigation of public corruption.  Related Article: Ashbury Park Press - Prosecutors turn spotlight on Howell development project
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Editorial: Chairman of the NJ State Commission of Investigation
Friday, 22 April 2005
Home-building report seeks to fix broken system
W. Cary Edwards is chairman of the State Commission of Investigation
The State Commission of Investigation, of which I am chairman, recently completed an inquiry into new-home construction and inspections in New Jersey, and the picture that emerged is not a pretty one. The final report of this unprecedented investigation sets forth a catalog of shoddy and deficient construction practices, lax regulatory oversight and poor remediation options that routinely plunge unsuspecting new-home purchasers into a quagmire of waste, fraud and abuse. And it's not just in one community, but all over the state — in single homes and housing developments, high-priced and affordable, in suburban and urban areas across New Jersey, particularly with regard to large-scale production builders.
Read more...
 
New Jersey/Georgia Contractor turns FBI Informant
Thursday, 14 April 2005
A productive informant is spared jail
Crooked contractor's effusive apology and his history as FBI ally move judge to leniency
Jerry Free, the Tennessee contractor who bribed officials statewide, then helped the FBI build cases against targets in New Jersey and Georgia, was sentenced yesterday to six months of house arrest and three years' probation... It was Free's cooperation after he left New Jersey that particularly impressed the judge. Free met with antitrust prosecutors in Philadelphia and Atlanta. And, working with the FBI in Georgia, Free posed as a corrupt contractor there willing to pay bribes for contracts. The ensuing chain of cases culminated last fall with the indictment of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell on corruption charges...Free argued that the virus of graft that plagued New Jersey was active long before he arrived. "I was solicited all the time by e-mails, faxes, requests, things charged to me," he said. "These individuals, I did not have to give them the virus."
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New Jersey - ExMayor, Bribes, Housing and Developers
Thursday, 14 April 2005

New Jersey
EX-MARLBORO MAYOR: I TOOK $245K IN BRIBES
Former Marlboro Mayor Matthew V. Scannapieco pleaded guilty Tuesday to accepting $245,000 in bribes from a developer in exchange for his support for housing and commercial developments opposed by many residents.

Read more...
 
New Jersey Judiciary Committee to hold public hearing
Thursday, 07 April 2005
Senator calls corruption hearings in response to Monmouth scandal
A state Senate committee will hold hearings next month to examine how to deter corruption by public officials.
Sen. John Adler (D-Camden), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said he decided to hold public hearings in the wake of the recent federal probe in Monmouth County that has so far nabbed 14 elected officials, public employees and contractors on corruption charges. "When you have that many people in one county indicted, it suggests the problem is pervasive in every level of government and we have to find ways on a statewide basis to deter it," Adler said. "One way to deter this crime is to more effectively punish the corrupt officials that commit the crime. Another way is to catch them more often."
Read more...
 
Some builders whine about results of State Investigation
Thursday, 07 April 2005

New Jersey Home Builder Investigation
New Jersey's CSI damning report leaves builders spinning, while
State's largest builder, K Havnanian Homes acknowledges problems and supports a Home Lemon Law.


Star-Ledger
Builders defend work after SCI's negative report
Joseph Riggs, group president of K. Hovnanian Homes, the state's largest residential builder, said he did not believe the SCI report was accurate but conceded there have been some problems...
"Problems have arisen," Riggs said. "Most builders, us particularly, stand behind their houses. There have been times when we have responded (to complaints) more slowly than we should have." Riggs said his company could support a lemon law -- that it had, in fact, bought back houses from some owners they could not satisfy -- but he said extending the Consumer Fraud Act to new housing as the SCI also recommended could be nettlesome.
Read more...
 
The Associated Press - New Jersey Investigations
Saturday, 02 April 2005
Report on home builders finds waste, abuse
"This is a system mired in the past, a system utterly incompatible with 21st century standards and expectations, a system that, in many respects, is as fractured and as imperiled by structural flaws as the problem-plagued homes it has produced," said the report released Thursday by the State Commission of Investigation.
To correct the problems, the commission recommended several measures, including instituting stricter licensing of construction supervisors, requiring currently unlicensed carpenters and masons to become licensed, expanding the state Consumer Fraud Act to include new home construction and creating a "lemon law" for new homes that would require builders to buy back problem houses.
Read more...
 
Star-Ledger Editorial Endorses Recommendations to Regulate Industry
Saturday, 02 April 2005
The Star-Ledger Editorial
Safeguard home buyers
The State Commission of Investigation's latest comprehensive report calls on the Legislature to protect consumers from developers who cut corners. While professional groups are already balking at some of the recommendations, we endorse the move to correct what the SCI found to be a persistent problem in the home-building industry... The SCI proposes a package of legislation including extension of the state's Consumer Fraud Act to new houses, enacting a lemon law that gives a builder a specific time period to correct problems or buy back the house, publishing a list of claims against builders and changing the definition of what's a major structural defect.
Read more...
 
New Jersey recommends Home Lemon Law
Saturday, 02 April 2005
Home building remedies urged
SCI: Industry rife with problems
In its final, 51-page report on its investigation into systemic problems in the building industry, the SCI outlines a battery of suggested changes. Key among the recommendations are an overhaul of the state's Consumer Fraud Act, the creation of a "lemon law" for new home buyers, and a requirement that all construction crew supervisors earn licenses and certification before they can work on New Jersey developments... In its report, the SCI outlines how a "lemon law" could protect buyers of new homes that are still seriously flawed after several repairs are made. The law could force the builder of such a home to buy it back.
 State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation Report
State of New Jersey commission of Investigation 51 page Report
TITLED: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly - New-Home Construction in New Jersey
SCI Latest Reports and Hearings
Read more...
 
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Reckless Endangerment
BY: GRETCHEN MORGENSON
and JOSHUA ROSNER

Outsized Ambition, Greed and
Corruption Led to
Economic Armageddon


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