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HOBB Update Message
Tuesday, 01 April 2008

A message from Janet Ahmad - HUD Sec. Jackson Resigns & Home Builders "Death Sprial" give Hope for Tomorrow

A message from Janet Ahmad

LATEST NEWS: AP Wire – HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson Resigns Under Cloud of Criminal Investigation.

It has gotten to the point that the number of bad news articles about builder’s $929.4 million lose or $268 million first-quarter loss – and other homebuilding hardships are so overwhelming we at HOBB can’t keep up with reporting them.  Frankly, they won’t get too much sympathy from me. Every time I read another article on builder’s woes, visions of one builder at a builder conference (Nov. 06) comes to mind. Remember this?
           "Death Spiral" Makes Home Builders Angry! 

Is it even possible to feel builders pain after the damage done to so many homeowners whose lives will never be the same?  Do some of us almost revel at the building industry’s misfortunes right now and its inability to sell new houses or do we feel the pain of families who can’t sell their defective homes?  Good heavens, is it possible, could it really be that the bad times and exposure of all their predatory building and lending scams finally bring about effective regulation of the industry?  One thing is for sure the industry isn’t handling the “Death Spiral” well.

In the end it will be their phenomenal ability to create a market from nothing or that never was – to sell millions of houses to families who could never qualify or afford homeownership, which I believe, will prove to be their own undoing.

This was the one time when putting the ‘cart before the horse’ actually worked. Creating a lending market of mortgages to unqualified buyers came first and throwing up a house in a matter of days was secondary.  Be sure it was certainly illegal, but it worked so well it brought on a housing boom like never before in history, but left behind communities of broken dreams and false promises of living happily ever after.  Building houses was not the objective, creating a fraudulent market of mortgages was the plan and building defective housing was easy.

The bolt of lighting that is needed has not yet hit builders. They were still playing with fire when they started bullying lawmakers. Recently big bully builders and their leadership the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) were more angry than smart.  Last month at the NAHB Convention in their anger and arrogance builders made demands for a federal bailout for the downtrodden building industry and voted on a policy of “No Builder Bail Out - No Builder Big PAC Money Contributions to Congress.” See the story below and see: CNBC Video Report   

They can bully some of the people sometimes but not all the people most of the time.  Which brings me to an important personal update; I would like everyone to see,
An interview with Janet Ahmad  “Build it right the first time.” 

Exciting event: 

  • The national board of directors for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) the largest Hispanic organization in the country passed a comprehensive Resolution calling for investigations of new home construction standards compliance and affordable housing.
  • On Saturday, March 22 national leaders of LULAC & Cesar Chavez March for Justice members protested with Mirasol resident at KB Home Headquarters.
  • This past Saturday a Democratic Precinct Caucus passed resolutions to establish a New Home Lemon Law and amend the Federal Arbitration Act. I would urge anyone who is a delegate to use the resolutions on the HOBB site as examples to submit Resolutions to your Democrat or Republican Caucuses.

One more point, most of the news publications found on the HOBB site have an online “Comment Forums” asking for your views about articles.  I would like to encourage you to participate when ever possible by writing your comments.   In case some of you consumers have forgotten during this long shocking anti-consumer period, this is still America.  They may rob us of our money and full enjoyment of our homes but, they can’t rob us of our freedom of speech.  It is through your voice and participation that we can continue to make a difference.

I’ve seen a lot in the past ten years and am more confident then ever before that the industry is vulnerable and that our voices are being heard.  So, with that I will bid the soon to be Ex-secretary
Alphonso Jackson, farewell!

Don't miss articles about the other HUD Ex-secretary:
Did HUD Ex-Secretary Cisneros Mastermind Predatory Lending

Enjoy the news and please participate!
Again, your participation is vital. Together we have and will continue to make a difference!  Help us to help you by keeping in touch.

We would like to hear from you so
, please take a few minutes to post your comments on the HOBB Forum.

Thank you,
Janet Ahmad, President
HomeOwners for Better Building


AP Wire: HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson Resigns under Cloud of Criminal Investigation
HUD in turmoil as secretary resigns
The Bush administration's top housing official, under criminal investigation and intense pressure from Democratic critics, announced Monday he is quitting. Jackson, 62, has been fending off allegations of cronyism and favoritism involving HUD contractors for the past two years. The FBI has been examining the ties between Jackson and a friend who was paid $392,000 by Jackson's department as a construction manager in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Read more...

LULAC Pass Resolution Calling for Investigations new home construction standards compliance
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That LULAC and its  National Board call for an investigation by appropriate Federal Agencies having oversight or jurisdiction over the matters of; new home construction standards compliance, affordable housing, new home warranties, compliance with federal consumer protection laws, predatory lending, waste in government, and the welfare and human rights of all peoples particularly those of Latino heritage; and... Read more...

Home Lemon Law & Amendments to Federal Arbitration Act gains Democrat support
Democratic Precinct Caucus passes Resolutions to Establish a Home Lemon Law and Amend The Federal Arbitration Act 
That the Democratic Party in order to protect consumers when purchasing a new home has the same rights afforded new car buyers and supports passage of a Home Lemon Law...That the Democratic Party in order to protect consumers and their constitutional rights supports and recommends the amendment of the Federal Arbitration Act. Use examples to submit Resolutions to your Democrat or Republican Caucuses. Read more...

San Francisco Chronicle: Builder One Stop Shopping
The Perils of One-Stop Shopping
Like many new-home buyers, lead plaintiff Debbie Bolden had availed herself of the builder's in-house services. KB Homes offered not only in-house real estate agents, but an affiliated mortgage company - in a 50-50 partnership with Countrywide Financial. Countrywide also owned the appraisal company...California builder Ryland Group agreed to refund 850 buyers about $250 each and pay a $161,000 fine after North Carolina's banking commissioner's office accused the builder/lender of using unlicensed loan officers and charging borrowers excessive fees... Altlanta's Beazer Homes, another large builder that began funding its own loans during the boom and has since closed its lending division, is also being investigated by the North Carolina banking commissioner's office for alleged violations of federal lending laws. In 2005 a HUD investigation led to KB Home shelling out a record $3.2 million settlement in response to allegations that the builder's mortgage wing pushed through loan applications that overstated borrowers' incomes. Read more...

Times are tuff for KB Home 
Builder On Line: KB Home Reports $268 Million First-Quarter Loss
KB Home, the industry's fifth-largest builder, lost $268.2 million in the three months ended Feb. 29, compared to a $27.5 million gain in the comparable quarter last year. The builder's revenue from its home building operations fell 47.1 percent to $794.2 million in the quarter, when its deliveries declined by nearly 43 percent, to 2,928 units. Read more...

San Antonio Current: An Interview with Janet Ahmad
Build it right the first time
If you own a home in Texas, you should get to know Janet Ahmad... Ahmad has paid the price for being an outspoken critic. A recently concluded, six-year, Tarrant County trial found Janet innocent of making a false 911 call to report a bomb in an Arlington neighborhood built by KB Homes on a defunct bombing range...KB Homes was certainly not discreet about spending a great deal of time and effort convincing the Tarrant County District Attorney to bring the baseless felony charges against me in the first place. It’s now been over 7 years since KB Homes first vowed to inflict its powerful wrath and to maybe even put me behind bars. Make no mistake; KB was on a mission to silence its many critics. Before the Arlington charges, they sued me, the HOBB organization, and their own customers for $20 million, alleging that picketing constituted racketeering, of all things!...It’s the voice of the little guy. They are the ones that inspire me. Just look at the people at Mirasol Homes. It’s voices like theirs that have given me inspiration. Read more...

KB Home Protest: LULAC & Cesar Chavez March for Justice
Protest at KB Home Headquarters - Rally & Press Conference

Home Owners for Better Building joined with members of LULAC and its national president Rosa Rosales, the Cesar Chavez March for Justice Committee, Mirasol residents as well as other disgruntled KB Homeowners in a march on KB Home Headquarters.  HOBB Opinion of the Mirasol Fiasco - KB Home constructed defective homes funded by taxpayers and the HUD Office of Inspector General audit confirmed $4M was unaccounted for on the Mirasol project.  Mirasol was a program that was to provide homes for those in need with a promise of homeownership however, KB robed taxpayers and SAHA robed families who could least afford it.  No corporate empire like KB Home should go unpunished for cheating families, rich or poor.  See Protest Photos....  See Video Protest    Read more...

KB Home & Countrywide Conspire to Inflate Appraisals
A Court Case That Could Be A Sign of the Times

On Feb. 6, Bolden filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court along with her husband, Lonnie Bolden, and her neighbors David and Dolores Contreras against her builder KB Home, her lender Countrywide Financial Corp., along with affiliated businesses and two appraisers. Alleging that the defendants conspired to inflate the price of their homes through deceptive, fraudulent appraisals, the suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Asserting that they are the tip of the iceberg and that many other KB Home owners have been harmed by the same practices, the plaintiffs are requesting class-action status for all California KB Home buyers who obtained financing through Countrywide between Aug. 1, 2005 and July 31, 2006.  Read more...

Year #11 Living with a Defective Perry Home - Couple Still Waiting
Texas Supreme Court: Moving at a Snail's Pace
Remember Bob and Jane Cull and their 10-year battle with Houston homebuilder Bob Perry over their problem-plagued home? Of course you don't. Apparently, the Texas Supreme Court doesn't either...The case has focused attention on how construction disputes can last for years without resolution and raised questions about possible influence of big-dollar campaign contributions. Bob Perry is the biggest campaign contributor in Texas. He has given money to every member of the Texas Supreme Court, which now sits in judgment on the Cull case. Read more...

KB's stock dropped 56% as CEO Mezger receives $24.8 million compensation
KB Home's Mezger Gets $6 Million Bonus in Slump: Graef Crystal
Revenue dropped to $6.4 billion from $9.4 billion. Diluted earnings per share plummeted to negative $12.04 from positive $5.82 the year before. Total shareholder return for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30, 2007, was negative 58 percent compared with a positive 7.7 percent return on the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. Read more...

KB Home/Mirasol subject of City Council Meeting
Regular Meeting of the City Council of the City of San Antonio
Mr. George Alejos stated that Mirasol Residents had walked out of the last meeting and would no longer communicate with the Task Force. He noted that they would be taking their concerns to Congressman Charlie Gonzalez...Mr. Guadalupe Lopez stated that before the Mirasol Residents walked out of the meeting, they had asked Mr. Gordon Hartman to remove Ms. Battle from the Task Force...Workers hired to repair their homes told residents that they are not actually fixing anything, only patching them up cosmetically. Read more...

Feds probe the KB Home Mirasol Fiasco
Feds launch inquiry into Mirasol Homes
The federal Office of the Inspector General has started a new inquiry into the Mirasol Homes public housing project.  This is the second probe in five years of the taxpayer-funded project owned by the San Antonio Housing Authority...Community activist George Alejos, a task force alternate who represents City Council District 5, said he has pushed for an independent look at itemized accounts for the $1.7 million already spent on Mirasol... According to information distributed to task force members, the OIG is requesting information in 15 specific areas. Read more...

Lennar community dominated by renters and out-of-town investors
Broken Promises Plague Suburban Development
"We were expecting a real nice, clean community," Spector said. "We'd moved from California, and we were expecting the planned communities to be similar to the planned communities we'd lived in in California." Spector says what he got instead was a community dominated by renters and out-of-town investors. Residents say the community is plagued by drug dealing, gang graffiti and poorly maintained properties.  See home builder related articles: Housing Market Tracker - Homeowners Fighting Back Against Homebuilders  Read more...

Lenders and Building World begin to unravel
Associated Press Reports: Feds investigating Countrywide lender
Federal authorities are investigating Countrywide Financial Corp. for securities fraud, according to media reports. The FBI is in the early stages of an inquiry into whether officials misrepresented the company's financial position and the quality of its mortgage loans, the Wall Street Journal first reported on Saturday, citing law enforcement officials and finance executives. The Justice Department is also involved in the investigation into the nation's largest mortgage lender, said the New York Times, which also cited anonymous sources who said they were not authorized to discuss ongoing criminal matters. Read more...

KB Home Shut Down after $929.4 million lose
KB Home to quit building in some markets
Home builder KB Home said Friday that it would stop building in Chicago, the mid-Atlantic region and Albuquerque, N.M., after finishing houses under construction in those regions... KB Home had a loss of $929.4 million in fiscal 2007, compared with net income of $482.4 million a year earlier. See KB Home construction warranty issues    Read more...

Orlando Sentinel: KB, Lennar Scandals, Bombs & Bribs
Texas case may mirror Orlando bombing range site at Pinecastle

HUD Ex-Secretary Cisneros a Mastermind of Predatory Lending?
EXPRESS-NEWS: Henry Cisneros on the hot seat
When Henry Cisneros joined the board of directors of Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2001, the real estate industry was poised for a spectacular ride... Cisneros' financial fortunes would soar, too. He was granted — and sold — more than $5 million in company stock as prices climbed from around $10 per share in 2001 to more than $40 per share in late 2006 and early 2007... Yet Countrywide's business began unraveling during the watch of Cisneros and his fellow directors. While the company's executives are considered primarily responsible, the case of Countrywide illustrates how quickly a director can find himself accused of having divided loyalties and poorly representing shareholders' interests...  He resigned from the board in October,... just days before Countrywide reported a $1.2 billion quarterly loss. Talk Back: How much do you think Henry Cisneros is responsible for the plight of Countrywide Financial, its shareholders and its customers?   Read more...

Did HUD Ex-Secretary Cisneros Mastermind Predatory Lending
 HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros Modifications to Deregulate Lending in '93 and '94
"Henry Cisneros on the hot seat”...he blamed the national housing and mortgage crisis on a variety of villains...The trouble is Cisneros failed to include his own name as one of the masterminds of predatory lending practices under his direction at HUD.  A predatory lending scheme that many experts predict could eventually lead to the worst recession to hit this county, and possibly the entire financial world...which ultimately compensated him generously... after leaving HUD Cisneros became a KB Home board member as well as a Countrywide board member.  He created American City Vista, an affordable housing joint venture with KB Home, as KB Home began construction on the disastrous Mirasol project that cost taxpayers millions, of which $5M is still missing. See Express-News article: Henry Cisneros on the hot seat  Plus Related articles...HUD's Broken System   Read more...

Express-News Public Comments – HUD Ex-secretary Henry Cisneros on the hot seat
Henry Cisneros on the hot seat
February 15, 2008 - Henry Cisneros and Countrywide Fincial - How much do you think Henry Cisneros is responsible for the plight of Countrywide Financial, its shareholders and its customers? Original Express News Article Link  * See Reader Comments






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Rise and Fall of Predatory Lending and Housing

NY Times: Building Flawed American Dreams 
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Homebuilders helped fuel the housing crisis
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As Goes Texas So Goes the Nation
Knowledge and Financial Responsibility are still Optional for Texas Home Builders

TRCC from Bad to Worse
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The Pat and Bob Egert Building & TRCC Experience 

Build it right the first time
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