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ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration

Property Rights Denied!
Protecting HOA Members' Rights is NOT The #1 Priority
of Managed Communities
The High Price of Managed Living, Books and Records Hidden
gives appearances of impropriety
Editorial Feature: Part One - Are Homeowners' Rights a Myth? 

Part Two: HOA Bureaucrats Overstep Their Authority

2004 Archived News Reports
Thursday, 04 December 2008

Welcome to HOBB

Group protests against home builder over fee  
Friday, 31 December 2004

Group protests against home builder over fee
Assessment leads to protest
Berea
- Residents of a Ryan Homes subdivision notched up their protest against the builder Wednesday, when more than 75 of them demonstrated at a new Ryan development in Berea. The demonstrators, many of them owners of Ryan homes in the Westfield Park subdivision in Olmsted Township, accused the builder of failing to disclose costly assessments...

Read more...
 
Homebuilder Perry, Contributions & Tort Reform to Limit Liability  
Wednesday, 29 December 2004

Perry’s gifts get noticed
Houston builder donated $9 million to Republicans in 2004 elections
As the largest political donor in Texas elections, Houston home builder Bob Perry and the pro-business measures he advocates get noticed in Austin. After he pumped $3.8 million into the 2002 Texas elections, the Legislature approved several policy proposals that Perry supported…President Bush is trying to breathe new life into what his supporters call tort reform - limits on damage awards in lawsuits. Perry has promoted the issue.

Read more...
 
Dallas Morning News -TBYR in the news again  
Monday, 27 December 2004

Letters: Let's build higher standards
Can't stop now
By Carol Becka
Frisco residents fully understand that if nothing is done "now" …to provide protection from home builders' careless and inferior construction of new homes, all Frisco residents will ultimately pay the price in lost property values and increased taxes to subsidize the city for lost revenue from devalued homes...

Whom do you believe?
By Andrew Ellender
Home buyers expect the truth from home builders. We certainly did… Who would oppose a new-home disclosure besides someone who wants to hide the truth? I believe an informed consent requirement would be a welcome addition in any city… Bonding also makes sense for the home building industry… Dr. Becka does not want what happened to his family and others, like mine, to happen to anyone else…

Read more...
 
Legacy homeowners upset with warranty follow-up  
Wednesday, 22 December 2004

By BYRON HARRIS / WFAA-TVThe fact is new car warranties, which commonly last three years, are a lot better than home warranties in Texas . After a year, Legacy and most other big builders said an owner's gripes are not their problem… And in addition to lasting just a year, warranties don't cover much. .."These warranties are limited so much that they don't resemble a warranty, but they become a disclaimer for the builder," said Janet Ahmad of Homeowners for Better   Building . "(They're) not a protection for the homebuyer..."                                                                                                   

12/21/04  WFAA Ch8 Legecy homeowners upset with Warranty 
12/1/04 Report Video: Byron Harris reports 
                                   

  

Read more...
 
Be careful what you ask for in Texas  
Thursday, 16 December 2004

           Texas Homeowners with defective homes ask for consumer protection and this is what they got

A Homeowner’s Nightmare: No Protection from Money Pits. The Legislature passed in 2003 HB730, which greatly restricts the rights of homeowners to get their builder to fix major construction problems. Under this new law, homeowners no longer have common law rights to an implied warranty of good and workmanlike construction, nor can they sue for Deceptive Trade Practices. These important rights, once taken for granted, have been replaced by a very limited state-mandated warranty that covers few defects. In addition, a homeowner can’t go to court without first going through a lengthy, bureaucratic process and paying for expensive inspection fees. In short, fewer homeowners’ rights, lots more bureaucracy.

Homebuilders are among the state’s biggest donors. They gave over $5.2 million in our 2002 state elections. The biggest donor in Texas, Bob Perry of Perry Homes, alone gave over $3.8 million. Perry Homes’ general counsel was appointed to the board of the new Residential Construction Commission, which will enforce the new home construction law.

 
N.C. Home Builder Gets More Than Four Years For Fraud  
Thursday, 16 December 2004

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- 
A well-known builder of luxury homes in Charlotte has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for defrauding banks and launderingmoney.

Builder Fraud
Related Article: The Charlotte Observer
Fallout from several cases of mortgage fraud
Property valuations drop, losses on loans and convictions mount 
The FBI says mortgage fraud has been on the rise nationally the past three years. In Washington, concerns over mortgage fraud prompted the Federal Housing Administration this year to stop insuring loans on homes that have been resold within 90 days. Charlotte Observer

Read more...
 
Special Interview with Author Jordan Fogal  
Monday, 13 December 2004
 
Read more...
Dallas Morning News: Dr. David Becka Guest Commentary  
Wednesday, 08 December 2004
David Becka: Looking for protection

As the leader of Take Back Your Rights, the group that led the drive for an election on building controls, I'd like to respond to – and correct – a misconception... Builders should look upon this as nothing more than extra insurance and the cost of doing business in Frisco, a city whose residents care so deeply about quality home construction that they called for an election to ensure construction excellence.

Read more...
KB Home in the News  
Tuesday, 07 December 2004

Mortgage Shock
VIDEO - Round Rock residents struggle with mortgages 

Several homes in Round Rock's Chandler Creek subdivision are up for sale. Families are moving out because they can't afford the house payments. KB Homes developed and financed the property… It's a common practice used to get homeowners in quickly and at a low cost.

Read more...
 
Buy a Home and Shut Up  
Sunday, 05 December 2004
Mercedes Homes
Fine Print Has Homeowners Scared To Discuss Damage

Buy a Home and Shut Up – Contact us immediately if you find you have a Builder Shut up Clause

 Attention: New Homeowners check you contract and subdivision covenants to see if you have unknowingly given up you Constitutional to Rights to Speak 

 Florida and Texas Builders – , Drees, Centex, Mercedes Homes and other builders are increasingly are using Bullying Tactic to silence Free Speech.  Have Homebuilders gone too far...they have no shame when it comes to their intent to defraud homebuyers. 

Read more...
 
Special Report, Dallas - ABC's WFAA-TV  
Friday, 03 December 2004
Homeowners: We're tired of builder inattention
  Video: Byron Harris reports 
Wednesday, December 1, 2004
By BYRON HARRIS / WFAA-TV
Find a homeowner, and there's a good chance you'll hear a complaint about a homebuilder...Waterford Oaks East in Cedar Hill is just such a place, though, and buyers are angry about the workmanship and business practices of builder Legacy Homes... Ahmad sees similar problems among many Texas builders. "We find a pattern of structural defects; we find a pattern of sloppy work," she said. "It's the problem of getting the builder to address the issue whether it's minor or whether it's major." ... Ahmad said Texas warranties are designed to protect the builder rather than the homeowner. Until that changes, she said the only solution is to stay vocal and be persistent. ... Until we can regulate the industry, homeowners have only one choice, and that is to be very public about their problem and to make a pest of themselves." 
Read more...
 
Catching up on the Florida Corruption News  
Friday, 03 December 2004
GUILTY -- TAMPA PUBLIC OFFICIAL CONVICTED!!!
St Petersburg Times Staff Writer

LaBrake, wife, guilty on all counts

Steve LaBrake, former Tampa housing chief, and his wife Lynne, have been found guilty as charged of taking a series of bribes and gratuities to build a 4,200-square-foot home and, in turn, steering millions of dollars in U.S. HUD contracts.

Read more...
Catching up on New Jersey Corruption News  
Friday, 03 December 2004

Fired....Building official is accused of approving work on sites he owns.  Chief inspector, William Strohmeyer and another inspector John Tamburrinni also inspected the infamous Crosby's house in Branchberg, which has been the subject of newspapers reports for several years. See Crosby House news accounts in HOBB archives 
Building official in Bridgewater under fire  
By PETER N. SPENCER Staff Writer
Published in the Courier News on November 21, 2004  BRIDGEWATER -- The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs is moving to revoke the license of Bridgewater's chief code enforcement officer for allegedly approving construction projects on three township properties he owns.

Read more...
No Binding Arbitration Allowed   
Thursday, 02 December 2004

FANNIE MAE NO LONGER INVESTING IN MORTGAGES CONTAINING MANDATORY ARBITRATION CLAUSES
FANNIE MAE NO longer invests or accepts delivery of residential mortgage loan products that contain mandatory arbitration clauses.  According to Fannie Mae Announcement 04-06, Fannie Mae issued, among other things, new instructions to lenders outlining the policies for purchasing and accepting residential mortgage loans. Specifically, the instructions included a prohibition against purchasing or accepting delivery of residential mortgage loans containing mandatory arbitration clauses. A limited exception exists, permitting the use of mandatory arbitration provisions in mortgages that contain a waiver provision. The waiver provision shall provide that if the loan is sold or an interest in the mortgage loan is transferred to Fannie Mae, the mandatory arbitration clause becomes null and void.

Read more...

Deceptive Builders?

Monday, 29 November 2004
Street's future spurs rift
Resident says he wasn't told road in community would be major artery
...Little Elm subdivision at Eldorado Parkway and FM423 also has a major four-lane road running through it that will eventually connect Interstate 35 to the future Dallas North Tollway extension in Frisco.    DreesSucks.net
Read more...
 
Words from the past and present…  
Tuesday, 23 November 2004

He will cheat without scruples who can cheat without fear.
                                                          Benjamin Franklin
What gives a builder the incentive to build a home that is lasting, when he has no fear of being held accountable for cheating.                Author Unknown   

 
Can Texas Homeowners afford to Complain? Texans to pay $350 to file complaint against builder  
Sunday, 21 November 2004

Texas Homeowners ask Senators for help.

What other state agency charges consumers a fee to file a complaint?

HB730 Texas Residential Construction Commission Act (TRCCA) disproportionately changed the way homeowners must deal with builders who ignore both major and basic home warranty concerns.  Since the passage of TRCCA, homeowners with construction defect issues must pay the Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) a $350.00 fee for standard warranty issues or $450.00 for major warranty issues. . .  What other state agency charges the consumer a fee to file a complaint?

Read more...
 
Consumer group presents city charter amendment petition  
Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Frisco Enterprise

Dr. David Becka is on a mission to hold homebuilders accountable, and he's willing to fight City Hall to do it.

By Mike Raye, Staff Writer
Monday, he and members of a Frisco-based consumer advocacy group presented a petition signed by 9,300 like-minded neighbors to Frisco City Secretary Nan Parker, hoping to get two group-penned city charter amendments on a ballot next year. TakeBackYourRights.com

Read more...
 
Huntington Homes Troubled with Lawsuits  
Sunday, 14 November 2004

Huntington Homes and its subsidiaries Riddled with Lawsuits.
See Homeowners Website: HuntingTon of Problems
Huntington Homes is also known as, Sanders Custom Homes,
Sanders & Associates, Horizon Homes and Highland Homes 
Huntington Homes and Associates Lawsuits public records

 
Editorial - Drop the hammer on code violators  
Saturday, 13 November 2004

An Asbury Park Press editorial
Drop the hammer on code violators 
The agency responsible for overseeing housing code enforcement in New Jersey  presented a list of proposed reforms last week in response to an 18-month investigation by the State Commission of Investigation that found deficient construction practices, inadequacies in home warranty programs and a badly flawed code enforcement system... But the suggested reforms don't absolve Community Affairs, or the Legislature, of responsibility for a system that is badly broken. And they won't help the thousands of consumers who have been victimized over the years by unscrupulous or incompetent builders and code enforcement officers. Five hearings and 40 hours of testimony on the issue confirmed what SCI Chairman Francis F. Schiller said the agency's earlier investigations had found -- "a startling lack of proper and appropriate enforcement and follow through" at both the state and local levels.

Read more...
 
Florida Special Reports - Building Homes: Building Problems  
Friday, 12 November 2004

WESH Ch2 & Orlando Sentinel – 650 e-mails prompts Special Reports
Builders refuse to repair defective homes.  Series begins with Ryland Homes Our NewsChannel 2 - Orlando Sentinel investigation found 25 out of 33 Central Florida builders surveyed are not fixing this damage. Among those are Pulte Homes, Lifestyle Builders, America's First Home and Avatar Homes… Don Zeman, a home improvement expert who has a nationally syndicated radio program and hosts television news segments… "It's the construction techniques, the practices. It's not an Act of God," he said. 


Other Builders refusing to fix leaks: B
eazer Homes, Bovis Homes, Cambridge Homes, Cosmopolitan Homes, Deluca Homes, D.R. Horton, Landstar Homes, Lennar Homes, Maronda Homes, Mercedes Homes, M/I Homes, Morrison Homes, Transeastern Homes, Engle Homes of Orlando and US Home
• 11/09/04 at 11pm, WESH Ch2 aired part 1 of a 3 part series special report. 13 neighborhood scream – Lawsuit.
11/10/04 the Orlando Sentinel reports "Sopping houses get short shrift" 

Another 15 builders did not return at least three phones calls each from the Sentinel/WESH seeking their position on water problems. Numerous owners of homes built by each of those companies complained that the builders have refused to fix their leaks…These builders include: Beazer Homes, Bovis Homes, Cambridge Homes, Cosmopolitan Homes, Deluca Homes, D.R. Horton, Landstar Homes, Lennar Homes, Maronda Homes, Mercedes Homes, M/I Homes, Morrison Homes, Transeastern Homes, Engle Homes of Orlando and US Home.
• 11/10/04 at 11pm, WESH Ch2 aired part 2 of a 3 part series special report - Building Homes: Building Problems. The story is also posted on their website.http://www.rylandwaterdamage.com/wesh_part3.html

 • 11/11/04 at 11pm, the 3rd part of a 3 night special report will air. There is a video promo on their website. And this pdf letter from WESH Ch2 gives an overview of the series. 
See RylanWaterDamage.com - http://www.rylandwaterdamage.com/

Read more...
 
Public Citizen - First Amendment right to criticize  
Wednesday, 10 November 2004

Dissatisfied Home Improvement Customers Have Right to Criticize North Carolina Company on Web, Public Citizen Tells Court
Georgia Residents Launched Web Site After Bad Experience With Siding Installation
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Two dissatisfied customers of a North Carolina siding company have a First Amendment right to criticize the company - and allow others to do so - on a Web site they set up, Public Citizen has told a federal court in North Carolina.

Read more...
 
Dallas Morning News - Frisco Petitions to regulate Builders  
Tuesday, 09 November 2004

9,300 sign Frisco home-building standards petitions
Drive would allow vote on two changes to city charter
The petitions call for an election to allow a vote on two changes to the city's charter. The grass-roots group Take Back Your Rights says the amendments would hold home builders accountable for faulty construction..."The response to our group's petition drive far exceeded all expectations," said Dr. David Becka, who led the effort. "These Frisco amendments will provide the first steps toward protecting new-home buyers, returning to the consumer their constitutional rights."
TakeBackYourRights.com

Read more...
 
Frisco Family invokes the Legislative Process  
Saturday, 06 November 2004

The Frisco Story: Why the Becka family decided to help future homebuyers

 After several years and many futile attempts to persuade their builder, Huntington Homes to address construction problems the Becka’s learned that builders are not licensed in Texas and that state laws do not protect homebuyers,.  Finally, upon discovering that their home had been destroyed by toxic mold due to construction defects and non-compliance with city building codes, the Becka’s decided to exercise the legislative process to change the way homebuilders do business in their town. 
**********
Frisco Grassroots Group Exceeds Signatures Needed For Ballot Vote
Volunteers gathered signatures to require Homebuilder Accountability  “The Legislative Process is a remarkable privilege. This is the first time in the history of Frisco that citizens have attempted to gather the required signatures to revise the Frisco City Charter and I am delighted to have been a part of the process. This is the first step toward protecting new homebuyers and holding homebuilders accountable for their mistakes,” said Dr. Becka.

Read more...
 
Businesses File More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens  
Thursday, 04 November 2004

Public Citizen: U.S.Businesses File Four Times More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens And Are Sanctioned Much More Often for Frivolous Suits
But Corporate America and Political Allies Bush and Cheney Campaign to Limit Citizens’ Rights to Sue...American businesses file four times as many lawsuits as do individuals represented by trial attorneys, and they are penalized by judges much more often for pursuing frivolous litigation, according to a report issued today by Public Citizen.

Read more...
 
DR Horton - Building Problems  
Monday, 01 November 2004
Orlando Sentinel - November 2004
Building Homes: Building Problems - Home List
... Cosmopolitan, Dan McKinney Construction, Dave Brewer, Dave Konkol Homes, David Weekley, DR Horton, Duracraft, Engineered Homes, Engle, ERM Development ...  Average Problems per home 8.4 Cached - Similar pages
Read more...
 
Take Back Your Rights Ad  
Friday, 29 October 2004

Attention: Frisco Group calls for Homebuyer Protection through Charter Revision 

 See Video: Take Back Your Rights 
For Dr. David and Carol B ecka of Frisco, however, that dream turned into what they described as a nightmare as the new custom home they built in Starwood became a "money pit" of problems. FRISCO ENTERPRISE 

 
Fooled by Tort Reformer's?  
Friday, 29 October 2004

 Is the public being misled? 
Tort Reformers have launched a campaign to intentionally mislead the public about  the number of frivolous lawsuits.  Their goal is to ultimately limit liability for Big Business. However, recent research exposes that Businesses file more lawsuits than the general public. Lead by the Homebuilding Industry consumers, especially homeowners are left without recourse due to the to change in consumer protection laws.

See:  Read more... Fooled by Tort Reformers?

 
The IEQ Review 
Friday, 29 October 2004
Experts: New Firehouse Contains Health Hazards
By: ABC Action News
TAMPA - Tampa's new $1.4-million firehouse is not only riddled with construction and engineering problems, it is also making some firefighters sick.
More Information
 
The IEQ Review  
Thursday, 28 October 2004
Indoor Dampness a Public Heath Threat
By: Todd Zwillich, WebMD Medical News
May 25, 2004 -- Damp indoor spaces and the molds that breed are likely linked to lung problems including asthma and coughing, a new report issued by the Institute of Medicine shows.
More Information 
The IEQ Review  
Thursday, 28 October 2004
'Hidden Decay' Clause Pivotal in Lawsuit
By: Robert J. Bruss, Inman News Features

Mary Ann's 70-year-old home was insured with Allstate Insurance Co.'s "all-risk" homeowner's policy. After a window fell out of her home, Mary Ann hired a licensed pest-control inspector to determine the cause of the unexpected accident.
More Information
 
$8.6 Million personal injuries claim award  
Tuesday, 26 October 2004

IEQ Review
Jury Awards $8.6 Million to Calif. Condo Owners For Defects,
Personal Injuries
A California jury on Sept. 8 awarded $8,571,028 in damages for construction defects and personal injuries claimed by residents of a four-story condominium complex in Santa Ana, Calif.

Read more...
 
Businesses File More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens
  
  Public Citizens
Oct. 4, 2004 - U.S.Businesses File Four Times More Lawsuits Than Private Citizens And Are Sanctioned Much More Often for Frivolous Suits
But Corporate America and Political Allies Bush and Cheney Campaign to Limit Citizens’ Rights to Sue...American businesses file four times as many lawsuits as do individuals represented by trial attorneys, and they are penalized by judges much more often for pursuing frivolous litigation, according to a report issued today by Public Citizen.
Something new, someone blue  
Saturday, 23 October 2004

Nashville   City Paper

Something new, someone blue
By Richard Courtney 
…attorney Jean Harrison – A typical case involves a homeowner who has had the house three years or so and has a number of problems with it, but the alleged 'one year warranty' has expired. In actual practice, the one-year warranty has very little to do with a builder's obligation to make repairs. “…favorite Jean Harrison quote is, "If your house passed codes, it means it got a D -."

Read more...
 
Home Warranty Coverage 'Extremely Limited'  
Friday, 22 October 2004

Realty Times - HADD Report: Home Warranty Coverage 'Extremely Limited'
10-22-04 by Broderick Perkins
It's not that home warranties or those who issue them are deceptive. It's all right there in the small print -- disclaimers, exclusions, "weasel" clauses. "New Home Warranties: Deception or Protection?A Consumer’s Perspective"...  Read more

Read more...
 
Realty Times - Grassroots Groups Claim Bullock Victory As Their Own  
Friday, 22 October 2004

Grassroots Groups Claim Bullock Victory As Their Own
by Broderick Perkins -
Realty Times
"A victory for Sandra Bullock brings to an end a long grueling trial that sends a loud message to lawmakers, the home building industry and a message of hope for home buyers of defective homes across the nation," said Jane Ahmad, president of San Antonio, TX-based Home Owners For Better Building (HOBB).

Read more...
 
Villages grill builder about delays in new police headquarters  
Wednesday, 20 October 2004

Tremont Homes/Stature Commercial Construction, Inc. has a history of extensive mold contamination in new homes and the new police headquarters in Houston. 

Houston Chronicle

Villages grill builder about delays in new police headquarters
Confronting a project six months behind schedule, the Memorial Villages Police Commission is taking steps to terminate its contract with the construction company building a new police headquarters.

Read more...
 
Sandra Bullock Wins Estate Debate  
Friday, 15 October 2004

Eonline
Sandra Bullock Wins Estate Debate
by Sarah Hall
…Bullock missed her winning verdict Thursday, having returned to Los Angeles the day before to work on a film. But she did issue a statement thanking the judge and jurors and dedicating her victory to the little guy...I felt firmly committed to see this process through to a just conclusion, no matter what the outcome, especially for all those homeowners who could never afford to come this far," Bullock said. "I want you to know I am in awe of, and humbled by, the great service and enormous sacrifice the members of the jury have made over these last eight weeks over something that was far less important than what is going on in the world today." Her father, John Bullock, who was on hand, told the Austin American-Statesman he was happy with the jury's decision. He said he did not know what would become of his daughter's property.  "She loves the land, it's a beautiful lot...it's her decision now," he said…

Read more...
 
Sandra Bullock awarded $7m in home dispute  
Friday, 15 October 2004

REUTERS
Sandra Bullock awarded $7m in home dispute
The star of "Miss Congeniality" and "Speed" testified in the two-month long trial that she had paid $7 million for the 10,000-square-foot (930-sq-meter) house on Lake Austin, but had never lived in it because of construction flaws. Witnesses said the house, which was begun in 1998 and still is not completed, had water damage, a bad roof, wiring problems and holes in the masonry.

Read more...
 
Sandra Bullock Scores $7 Mil Legal Victory  
Friday, 15 October 2004

PEOPLE magazine
PeopleNews
Sandra Bullock Scores $7 Mil Legal Victory
Thursday Oct 14, 2004 4:00pm EST
By Alicia Dennis
A jury has awarded actress Sandra Bullock nearly $7 million in a long-awaited verdict pitting Bullock against the former architect and builder of her lakefront Austin home.

Read more...
 
People Magazine - $7 Mil Victory  
Thursday, 14 October 2004
Sandra Bullock Scores $7 Mil Legal Victory
A jury has awarded actress Sandra Bullock nearly $7 million in a long-awaited verdict pitting Bullock against the former architect and builder of her lakefront Austin home... The architect, M.B. "Benny" Daneshjou, 52, sued Bullock, 40, in June 2001, claiming that Bullock owed money to his company for designing and building her home. Bullock countersued, claiming Daneshjou's construction work was defective and that he had committed fraud through underhanded billing practices... "I felt firmly committed to see this process through to a just conclusion, especially for all those home owners who could never afford to come this far," Bullock said. "I am in awe of the great service and enormous sacrifice the members of the jury have made over these last eight weeks."
Read more...
 
Jurors begin deliberating in Bullock trial  
Friday, 08 October 2004
Seven weeks of testimony to consider in case that pits Austin homebuilder against actress
By Claire Osborn AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF After nearly seven weeks of testimony, jurors will begin deliberating today on who is to blame for the construction problems in a house overlooking Lake Austin that actress Sandra Bullock had built but never could occupy… "There was a conscious pattern of behavior established here to get the client in the door and just ratchet up the price mercilessly," Mizell said. Sandra Bullock paid about $6.5 million for the house, but an insurance company valued it at $3.1 million, he said. Mizell asked the jurors to award the Bullocks $3.3 million for demolition and reconstruction. Part of the roof framing is lying against the chimney, and there are substantial areas within the drywall where it can't be determined whether fireblocking was built, Mizell said. Daneshjou also owes Sandra Bullock $2.7 million for the bills that she paid but that Daneshjou's company could not substantiate, Mizell said.
Read more...
 
Jurors begin deliberating in Bullock trial  
Friday, 08 October 2004

Seven weeks of testimony to consider in case that pits Austin homebuilder against actress
AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
After nearly seven weeks of testimony, jurors will begin deliberating today on who is to blame for the construction problems in a house overlooking Lake Austin that actress Sandra Bullock had built but never could occupy… "There was a conscious pattern of behavior established here to get the client in the door and just ratchet up the price mercilessly," Mizell said.   Sandra Bullock paid about $6.5 million for the house, but an insurance company valued it at $3.1 million, he said. Mizell asked the jurors to award the Bullocks $3.3 million for demolition and reconstruction. Part of the roof framing is lying against the chimney, and there are substantial areas within the drywall where it can't be determined whether fireblocking was built, Mizell said. Daneshjou also owes Sandra Bullock $2.7 million for the bills that she paid but that Daneshjou's company could not substantiate, Mizell said.

Read more...
 
HOBB Press Release - Case goes to the Jury  
Friday, 08 October 2004

Sandra Bullock case goes to the Jury
HomeOwners for Better   Building attends trial
"Because of Binding Arbitration in new homebuilder contracts for the past ten years, literally tens of thousands of homeowners with defective homes have been denied their day in court.  For the first time in many years, one victim of a bad homebuilder is finally being heard.  Those who attend soon forget that this story is about Sandra Bullock, the star.  It’s about something much bigger than celebrity, it about basic consumer law and the constitutional right of a trial by jury,” said Janet Ahmad, national president of HomeOwners for Better Building.

Read more...
People Magazine - Case Goes to Jury   
Friday, 08 October 2004
Sandra Bullock House Case Goes to Jury
After eight weeks of testimony, cross examinations, accusations and rebuttals, a jury now holds the key to the future of Sandra Bullock's Austin dream home-turned-nightmare. Twelve jurors begin deliberations on Friday morning in the Travis County civil case pitting the actress against her former architect and builder, M. B. "Benny" Daneshjou. Daneshjou, 52, sued Bullock, 40, in June 2001, claiming Bullock still owes his company money for designing and building her home. The Speed star countersued him, claiming that he executed shoddy and defective construction work and committed fraud through deceitful billing practices.
Read more...
 
Ryland Homes in the news  
Monday, 04 October 2004
Ryland Home Complaints Could Lead To Building Code ChangeThere's a chance that home construction problems, brought forward by homeowner complaints, could lead to a change in building codes throughout the state of Florida... But any code change wouldn't help him. He figures he has $8,000 in damage. Ryland told him to file an insurance claim, which would leave him paying for half of the damage he says was caused by what he thought was stucco.
Read more...
 
The legal bane of homebuilders  
Sunday, 26 September 2004
Lawyer Scott Sullan supports Amend. 34, which would lift limits on builders' liability  
Christine Tatum
Denver Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 26, 2004
"Greedy," "rabid" and "scum-sucker" are among the nicest words they use to describe Sullan, perhaps the lawyer most despised by the state's building industry. He is the man hundreds of Colorado home and business owners called last year alone when roofs collapsed, basements flooded or foundations cracked, and they couldn't get the companies responsible for the work to fix them… Sullan's legal brawls are spilling from the courtroom onto the Nov. 2 Colorado ballot. Voters will be asked to decide the fate of proposed Amendment 34. That measure would lift some limits on the money property owners can collect in lawsuits against builders. It would also prohibit state lawmakers from capping some damage awards - a power they wielded last year over Sullan's protests with the passage of the bitterly contested House Bill 1161.
 
Lawmakers say builders are stacking dispute panel  
Thursday, 23 September 2004
Lawmakers say builders are stacking dispute panel
08/27/2004
Adolfo Pesquera
Express-News Business Writer
AUSTIN — A state Senate committee looking into arbitration reform had sharp criticism for the heads of the Texas Residential Construction Commission and demanded the director take steps to provide consumer and minority representation on its arbitration task force. See Senate Subcommittee on Binding Arbitration Video - August 25, 2004 - Jurisprudence Committee Go to: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/senate/AVarch.htm - Advance forward the time of hearing on Binding Arbitration to: 4:01
 
Star Community Newspapers/Frisco Enterprise  
Thursday, 23 September 2004
Star Community Newspapers/Frisco Enterprise Editorial
Homebuyers' protections should be strengthened
In a move that could set a state precedent, Dr. David Becka and his wife, Carol, are calling for changes in the Frisco city charter to strengthen protections for people who buy new houses… They want to ensure that homebuyers are as much informed about their purchases as is possible and that new-home builders should be required to file surety bonds with the city to help protect homebuyers when problems develop. http://takebackyourrights.com/
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Texans Still at Odds Over Bush's Legal Reforms  
Wednesday, 22 September 2004
Texans Still at Odds Over Bush's Legal Reforms
By David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer
On his first day as governor of Texas , George W. Bush declared that limiting lawsuits was an ""emergency issue"" for his state…"" Texas has gone from one of the most friendly states for consumer protection to one of the most anti-consumer states,"" said University of Houston law professor Richard M. Alderman, an expert on consumer rights. ""It all began in 1995. Bush oversaw a significant retreat for consumer protection, and it was all done under the guise of attacking 'frivolous' lawsuits.""… The impact has been felt by home buyers such as Mary and Keith Cohn, whose elegant new residence in this well-off Houston suburb came with a leaky roof that led to rotting and moldy wallboard throughout the structure. After their daughters became ill, the Cohns moved out. The repairs ultimately cost more than $300,000….
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Actress shows comic flair at Austin trial  
Tuesday, 21 September 2004
Actress shows comic flair at Austin trial
Sandra Bullock testifies during fifth week of trial about dispute with home builder
Actress Sandra Bullock tried to remain serious but couldn't help cracking jokes about her legal fees while testifying Monday as the trial over her dispute with an Austin home builder entered its fifth week… ""You guys are pricey,"" she said, looking at her lawyers. ""It's going to be a good Christmas, isn't it?"" The courtroom dissolved into laughter, providing brief relief in the middle of a trial that District Judge Paul Davis expects to conclude by the end of this month… Currently half of the ceiling in one of the rooms is falling down and a sliding gate that she requested from Daneshjou is broken, Bullock said.
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People Magazine - Sandra Bullock Takes the Stand  
Monday, 20 September 2004
Sandra Bullock Takes the Stand
Actress Sandra Bullock's second call to the witness stand Monday in her ongoing civil trial against architect and builder M.B. "Benny" Daneshjou played out like a dramatic movie, with the actress at first laughing and then eventually dissolving into tears.
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Witness: Rot Ruined Sandra Bullock's Home  
Sunday, 19 September 2004
Witness: Rot Ruined Sandra Bullock's Home
Sandra Bullock's Texas lakefront dream home dissolved into a house of horrors, according to ... Showing the jury a video of the construction defects, Griffith said ...
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Sandra Bullock trial continues with builder's testimony  
Sunday, 19 September 2004
Sandra Bullock trial continues with builder's testimony
Houston Chronicle, TX - Aug 25, 2004
... foot, multi-million dollar Lake Austin mansion for movie star Sandra Bullock shifted into a ... the house needed $4 million in work to fix design defects after it ...
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Sandra Bullock's Texas House Trial Begins  
Sunday, 19 September 2004
Sandra Bullock's Texas House Trial Begins
People Magazine ... The characters are Sandra Bullock, her father John Bullock, Benny Daneshjou and a ... days – experts will come to testify that, among other defects, the framing ...
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Actress takes stand in mansion lawsuit  
Sunday, 19 September 2004
Actress takes stand in mansion lawsuit
San Antonio Express (AUSTIN — Sandra Bullock, the Hollywood star of ""Miss Congeniality,"" was anything but congenial ... done, about $4 million was needed to fix design defects in the ...
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Homebuilders may have constructed a fortress  
Sunday, 19 September 2004
Homebuilders may have constructed a fortress
Some say their political donations have cost consumers the right to file suit
Joseph S. Stroud 
San Antonio Express-News

When Delores Rollins bought her dream home in the Hart Ranch subdivision off De Zavala Road seven years ago, she had no idea the purchase would draw her into the state and national political fray…   Rollins believes she has wound up on the short end of a long-term effort by Texas homebuilders to protect themselves from paying for their mistakes...  Hoagland said the broad reforms pushed through in Bush's first term — caps on punitive damages, restrictions on venue-shopping and limits on shared liability, among others — may have benefited the homebuilding industry…   ""How many times do they have to win?"" said James of the Consumers Union. ""I think the deal is that it's not about logic, it's not about justice, it's about muscle. And the business community has a ton of muscle, and they don't want to be liable for anything.""

 
Update on Sandra Bullock's Days in Court  
Sunday, 19 September 2004
A $1.5 million price tag for a home by Hollywood standards is a modest sum; however, when that price tag soared to $6.5 million and the owner cannot live in the home, it becomes a nightmare and lawsuit. 
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Sandra Bullock Trial  
Friday, 03 September 2004
Judge Wants Speedier Sandra Bullock Trial
DEMANDED: Judge Paul Davis, presiding over the case of Sandra Bullock and Texas developer M.B. "Benny" Daneshjou, whom the actress claims dashed the hope of making her $1.5 million dream house a reality, on Thursday advised both sides to "speed the trial along," reports PEOPLE.
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Actress takes stand in mansion lawsuit  
Wednesday, 01 September 2004
Actress takes stand in mansion lawsuit
Walter Mizell, one of Bullock's lawyers, has said that even after the construction was done, about $4 million was needed to fix design defects in the massive home…Originally contracted to build Bullock a 5,000-square-foot home for about $1.2 million, Daneshjou, who Bullock said was described to her as being ""the best architect in Austin, if not in Texas,"" ended up building a house double the size of the original plan. Bullock's attorneys say she paid the builder more than $6.5 million before halting further payment…
                                                  More 2004 Archives 
 

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NPR Special Report
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Washington Post
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Arbitration Fairness Now!
Sen Feingold, Rep Johnson
Introduce Consumer Justice
 
Senate Passes Franken
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Public Citizen Report 
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TEXAS ABOLISHES BUILDERS
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Texas Regulates Homebuyers
 
Texas Comptroller Condemns TRCC Builder Protection Agency
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IS YOUR STATE NEXT?
As Goes Texas So Goes the Nation
Knowledge and Financial Responsibility are still Optional for Texas Home Builders

OUTSTANDING FOX4 REPORT
TRCC from Bad to Worse
Case of the Crooked House

Perry's Gifts Keep on Talking
Sun Never Sets On Politicians Taking Homebuilder Money

TRCC AN ARRESTING EXPERIENCE
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Homebuilder's Right-To-Repair Illusion

Builders Looking for Federal Handouts

How Texas Home Building Industry shaped the TRCC to regulate buyers 

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 Mastermind Predatory Lending?

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Big Money and Shoddy Construction:Texas Home Buyers Left Out in the Cold
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