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HOBB Update Message
Saturday, 28 March 2009

A message from Janet Ahmad: Like never before your participation is so important; Hearings & Lobby Days

A message from Janet Ahmad:
Like never before your participation is so important; Hearings & Lobby Days

After all of these years the time of change for new homebuyers and homeowners with defective homes is now, from Texas to Washington DC finally elected officials see the need for consumer protection. 

Since the Texas Sunset Commission issued the scathing review about TRCC, lawmakers have gotten serious about regulating the powerful homebuilding industry.  See:
 HOBB Press Release: Sunset recommends to Abolish TRCC.

TRCC was great for the homebuilding industry.  As one builder bragged;
"We're happy, you bet," says Ron Connally, a homebuilder and developer out of Amarillo who is also president of the Texas Association of Builders. "Court actions are way, way down because TRCC has taken care of a lot of those problems."  

Since the Sunset Report all of that is about to change.  Yes, It was great for builders while it lasted but for homeowners who suffered under TRCC it was devastating. Now that the Texas legislature is underway elected official are getting serious about abolishing TRCC and things are about to change in a big way.

This past Monday the first bill to abolish the TRCC was heard.  Homeowners spoke candidly and effectively about their builder and TRCC experiences.   View Official State Testimony on TRCC Sunset Bill 2295. Video: 03-23-09: 3:46 p.m. - 9:49 p.m.

Let the hearings begin MARCH 31 HEARING – 20 Bills to Regulate Texas Homebuilders will be Heard! Then April 9 TEXAS HOMEOWNER LOBBY DAY – Meet and speak with law makers. THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFYSee reviews and ratings of proposed bills

The national media is looking at Texas .  The National Public Radio (NPR) has done an outstanding report that takes a look at Politics and Homebuilding Texas Style.  NPR takes a look at Bob “The Builder” Perry and the defective house he built for Bob and Jane Cull 13 years ago, Perry’s money and TRCC.  Tomorrow, Sunday morning (3/29) the second part will air between 8-10 a.m. (CST).  See: NPR Station Finder for your area. 

Bob Perry has avoided warranty responsibility for defects utilizing his money, and the courts including the Texas Supreme Court. TRCC, the “homebuilder protection” agency Bob Perry built was created and is run by the building industry to regulate homebuyers.  A builder run system that for too many homeowners has gone awry.

 

UPCOMING NATIONAL EVENT: APRIL 29, 2009,
ARBITRATION FAIRNESS DAY!  LOBBY DAY AT THE CAPITOL – WASHINGTON , DC  
Arbitration victims and consumer advocates from across the nation will be attending.    HOBB is planning a get-together in the afternoon the day before, April 28, 2009 or please plan on coming a day early if possible. Please let me know if you are interested in attending.  Binding Arbitration is one of the hottest topics in Washington .  More details on this coming soon…  

Be sure and read the latest news update below…

Help us to help you by keeping in touch. Tell your story through HOBB , to your elected officials, and write the press.  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
Home Owners for Better Building
210-494-6404
  *******************************************

News Updates:
Perry's Money Speaks and Builds TRCC to Regulate Homebuyers
Critics: Texas Agency Favors Builders Over Buyers
Imagine hundreds of executives from BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil rallying on the steps of the Capitol in Washington to save the Environmental Protection Agency. That may be hard to picture, but recently in Texas , 1,000 homebuilders rallied at the state Capitol in an effort to save the agency that theoretically regulates them. Texas homebuilders are big fans of the job the Texas Residential Construction Commission has done since its inception five years ago. But after a backlash from homebuyers, who say the process is stacked in the builders' favor, state lawmakers are now considering whether to abolish it.  Out of 181 legislators, there are only six who don't take money from the Texas Association of Builders. So when the homebuilders come to Austin to lobby, the most powerful politicians in the state pay their respects. .."We're happy, you bet," says Ron Connally, a homebuilder and developer out of Amarillo who is also president of the Texas Association of Builders. "Court actions are way, way down because TRCC has taken care of a lot of those problems." Read more...

Bob Perry's Power and the House Without a Warranty
Did Builder's Clout Trap Couple In Dream Home?
Bob and Jane Cull bought the home of their dreams in Texas . It was built by one of the most powerful and politically connected homebuilders in the country — and it was defective. Thus began a 13-year odyssey that would teach them some unhappy lessons about money, power and influence....Seventy-six-year-old Bob Perry is one of Texas' most successful homebuilders. For the last two decades, he has used his $600 million fortune to fund the Republican revolution, both in Texas and nationally. He helped put George W. Bush into the White House. He was the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth's largest contributor. In Texas , if you hold a position of legislative, judicial or executive power, a Bob Perry donation is almost certainly in your campaign account. After he lost in arbitration to the Culls, the builder began appealing the award through the state courts. Perry's appeals were rejected at each stop until he got to the Texas Supreme Court. And there, he got satisfaction. Read more...

Dallas Morning News on the NPR on Bob Perry's TRCC and Bob and Jane Cull
NPR to spotlight political moneyman Bob Perry
The battle has come to symbolize the disadvantage that an average homeowner faces in going up against a builder with deep pockets -- especially one as politically well-connected as Bob Perry. The Houston homebuilder is Gov. Rick Perry's (no relation) biggest campaign donor, and the governor was instrumental in creating the state agency that Perry wanted. The homebuilder has contributed money to much of the Legislature and to every member of the Texas Supreme Court, which ruled in his favor last year -- overturning the arbitration award and a string of court rulings and directing the Culls to start all over. Bob Perry spokesman Anthony Holm says the homebuilder is defending his legal rights. Read more...

Star-Telegram: The Watchdog, TRCC Follow the Money
The Watchdog: When it comes to the Texas Residential Construction Commission, follow the money
As always, you can follow the money behind efforts to promote the builder-friendly Texas Residential Construction Commission. As always, most of the money leads back to the largest individual donor in recent state history. Usually, such a big elephant would remain unmentioned in a legislative hearing, but on Monday,Rep. Chente Quintanilla, D-El Paso, brought it up — obliquely. He berated the construction commission: "It never became consumer-friendly." Then, after asking why, he mentioned "some builder who should not be named" and a "report about donations." Referring to the lawmakers’ overturning of the sunset staff report, he said: "All of a sudden, it changed overnight. Was the tail wagging the dog? Were they able to control what the commission was supposed to do?" Read more...

More and More Builder Liens
Homeowners troubled by builder liens
“We moved in January, and about two weeks later, we got our first claim to lien,” Renee Hoffman said. The lien was for work that Wilshire Homes should have paid for during construction.  The Hoffmans said the company told them it was an isolated incident. “They said all debt on the house was paid for, all vendors were paid,” James Hoffman said.  Read more...

TRCC in need of a mercy killing
Who supports the Texas Residential Construction Commission
The staff of the Sunset Commission after a 6-month indepth investigation recommended abolishing the TRCC. A list of those in support of this recommendation and those who were against abolishing was published in the report issued by the staff. Here is the list of those who are for abolishing the Commission... then the list in support of abolishing the TRCC: Read more...

Dallas Morning News - TRCC, Tail Wagging the Dog
Homebuilder who backs TRCC donated thousands to lawmakers deciding agency's fate
The fate of the Texas Residential Construction Commission, an agency designed to regulate and handle complaints against homebuilders, lies in the hands of lawmakers who received thousands of dollars from Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, one of the agency's top supporters.  The Legislature's Sunset Commission staff – which reviews state agencies and recommends how to beef them up – determined last year that the agency is so toothless and such a hindrance to aggrieved homeowners that it should be abolished. Since 2000, Perry, whose corporate attorney helped create the commission six years ago, has donated $388,000 to 10 of the 11 members of the Business and Industry Committee, state records show."Maybe the tail was wagging the dog," said Rep. Chente Quintanilla, D-El Paso, the only member of the House committee who has never received a donation from Perry. Read more...

Building Industry Struggles - Sub go Unpaid
Houston chronicle: Troubles build up for housing contractors
Another indicator of how the builder woes are rippling though the housing market is the number of complaints received by the Texas Residential Construction Commission, the agency that regulates home builders.  Duane Waddill, the TRCC’s executive director, said consumer complaints related to builders abandoning work sites or other financial issues like earnest money refunds made up 19 percent of the agency’s complaints in the last fiscal quarter, up from 14 percent in the previous three months.  “There’s clearly a major increase in the complaints we’re getting related to builders no longer in business,” he said.  Read more...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 Hearing – Bills to be heard:  See reviews and ratings of proposed bills

Come tell your homebuilder experience and call for the abolishment of TRCC, the homebuilder protection agency.

 
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