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Sotherby Homes causes hard times for homeowner
Friday, 02 January 2009

Homeowners burdened by homebuilder's money woes
As hard times fall on a Dallas-based homebuilding company, homeowners are also feeling the weight of the problem. Michael Garver moved into his new Sotherby home two months ago. Within the past two weeks, letters started arriving in the mail from subcontractors threatening to put liens on his house and demanding thousands of dollars.

Homeowners burdened by homebuilder's money woes
Monday, December 29, 2008
By JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA-TV
                            
View Video Report Homebuilder's financial woes flood onto homeowners
FRISCO — As hard times fall on a Dallas-based homebuilding company, homeowners are also feeling the weight of the problem.

Michael Garver moved into his new Sotherby home two months ago. Within the past two weeks, letters started arriving in the mail from subcontractors threatening to put liens on his house and demanding thousands of dollars.

"It's certainly frustrating to have people coming after you for things that you — in your mind — have already paid for," Garver said.

The Frisco father said he is now dealing with collection demands that shouldn't be aimed at him.

"They're demanding we pay the bill that Sotherby was supposed to pay — that we paid for in the house," he said.

Known for building hundreds of high-end homes in North Texas, Sotherby admitted serious problems last week.

"My job's at risk," said Jay Hankla, vice president of Sotherby. "Other people's jobs are at risk."

Company e-mails said the builder has temporarily suspended its warranty program, and executives admitted Sotherby may not be able to finish building dozens of homes.

"Now, we have 20 homes and a bunch of vacant lots," said Andrea Maluso, a homeowner. "And so that concerns me more so than the warranty work."

Executives have blamed the economy and lenders that cut off loans to the company. A representative said Sotherby is trying to work with its subcontractors, but acknowledged that some may not have been paid.

The company said it is waiting until after the new year to reorganize. Sotherby said every home it sold should have title insurance to protect new owners from any liens.

 

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