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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

HOBB Update Message
Sunday, 10 February 2013

A message from Janet Ahmad:
Don’t Miss this Opportunity at the Texas Capitol

Attention: Tuesday February 12, 2013 at 10 AM.  Your help is needed!  Home Owners for Better Building and aggrieved homeowners will kick off Legislative Days and Home Lemon Law Campaign at the Texas State Capitol. Joining us at the Capitol will be Cibolo Mayor Hartman and Mayor Pro-Tem Liparoto. 

Home Owners for Better Building urges the passage of the following list of common sense Consumer Protection Legislative Bills for the 83rd Session:

       1)   A New Home Lemon Law

        2)    A Homebuilder State Standard Contract Form, similar to the Texas Real Estate Commission New Home Construction Contract.  Ref. 2009 – 81st HB2896

3)   A $25,000 Builder Surety Bond – cost to builder $250.00 per year, no matter how many houses they build. To remain in effect for a two year period after closing.

4)
 A Victims Recovery Fund – This will help to protect those consumers whose builders have gone bankrupt and cannot be held accountable in addition to a Surety Bond.

5)  
All Builders 3rd Party Warranty’s must be insured, regulated and enforceable by the Texas Dept. of Insurance (TDI).  No substitution of a Risk Retention Group alternative will be allowed.

6)  Adoption of a Texas Code of Regulations for Site Condition Hazards, equivalent to HUD: 24 CFR 200.926 (d) and a Texas Builders’ Certification of Compliance with the Texas Code of Regulation Site Conditions and Hazard Mitigation, including penalties for non-compliance and/or falsification. 

Not since May of 2009 has your help been more important. That was when HOBB and its members; along with other affiliated consumer groups and the Texas Legislature finally abolished the homebuilders’ Fifteen Million Dollar, Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC), aka as the Texas Homebuilders Protection Agency. Collectively, participation by many victims helped lawmakers to understand the irresponsible injustices and to do the right thing.  A monumental achievement that proved Texas big business money does not always get its way.  

It was an event that confirmed when consumers work together to say enough is enough, good things happen.  Because of citizens’ right to participate in the legislative process the TRCC is gone and each of you has a much greater opportunity today.  An opportunity made possible by the extraordinary support, and action taken by City of Cibolo officials, which has already set the example and inspired other cities to do the same.  In fact for the first time ever, officials from the City of San Antonio, Bexar and Guadalupe County officials have indicated support for our efforts.

If you cannot make Tuesday’s event, tThe next Legislative Day at the Capitol will be held February 26, 2013.  The time is now, so make your plans!   Please respond to let us know you will attend.

Together we have and will continue to make a difference! Help us to help you. Your participation is vital. Tell your story through HOBB, participate, write to your elected officials, and write the press. This is your opportunity.  

Thank you,
Janet Ahmad, President
Home Owners for Better Building
*******************************************

 News Updates: 2009 was a big year. 
TRCC Gone and Binding Arbitration Gets Attention in Washington
For those of you who were not around in May of 2009 it was an exciting and energy driven time when Home Owners for Better Building and it delegation from various states participated in Arbitration Fairness Day at the Nation’s Capitol in DC. "Fair Arbitration NOW," advocates and homeowners from across the country filled the halls and legislative offices on Capitol Hill to deliver their personal messages. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Congressman Hank Johnson (D-GA) opened the noon press conference announcing the filing of the Arbitration Fairness Bill and Public Citizen introduced an outstanding Binding Arbitration Report titled Home Court Advantage, "How the Building Industry Uses Forced Arbitration to Evade Accountability." 
(View photos) http://www.hobb.org/content/view/3029/1/

 Worth Reading:  Public Citizen Report - Home Court Advantage
May 2009: Big News, TRCC Abolished and Outstanding Public Citizen Arbitration Report Published
New home buyers are told (often at the last minute) that they will receive a warranty, which is often characterized as a “gift” or "bonus" ...warranties dictate that any disputes between buyers and builders must be settled through mandatory binding arbitration, or forced arbitration. This privatized adjudication system provides the ultimate home court advantage for builders and warranty companies. Arbitration firms rely on builders and warranty firms for their business. They have every incentive to keep builders and warranty companies happy. A promotional brochure for AAA’s spring 2009 construction conference advised builders not to miss the opportunity to hear about “How you can control the arbitration process through advocacy and by drafting appropriate clauses for your contracts” and promises tips on “identifying the right arbitrator for your case.
Read Report... 
http://www.hobb.org/images/stories/HomeCourtAdvantage.pdf 

All Americans Are Entitled To Their Day In Court
PRESS CONFERENCE: FEINGOLD INTRODUCES CONSUMER JUSTICE LEGISLATION
Restoring The Rule of Law 
Washington , D.C. - U.S. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) is reintroducing legislation to protect the right of Americans to have their day in court. The bill would make pre-dispute agreements requiring arbitration for any employment, consumer, franchise, or civil rights disputes unenforceable. The bill does not prohibit arbitration, but rather prevents a party with greater bargaining power from forcing individuals into arbitration through a contractual provision and ensures that citizens have a true choice between arbitration and the traditional civil court system. Similar legislation, H.R. 1020, was previously introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA). Like Johnson’s bill, Feingold’s legislation does not generally apply to collective bargaining agreements, but it includes a new provision to reverse a recent Supreme Court ruling (14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett) that arbitration provisions contained in such agreements can waive an employee’s right to enforce employment discrimination laws in court. View Press Conference... View photos

Senator Russ Feingold & Cong. Hank Johnson Introduce Bill Arbitration Fairness Act 2009
Consumer Protection Measure Introduced In Senate
Sen Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would prevent companies from forcing consumers and employees into arbitration agreements. Arbitration clauses pop up in contracts for things as small as cell phones and as big as jobs. At a press conference on the Hill, victims of tragedies made worse by forced arbitration shared their stories. One of them, Jamie Leigh Jones, provided a statement saying she was gang-raped by her Halliburton subsidiary co-workers in Baghdad in 2005..."Unfortunately, my case is not an isolated incident," Jones said. Read more...

New Poll: Big Business Win 84% of Arbitration Cases they Initiate
Poll: Americans Oppose Forced Arbitration, Demand Corporations Be Held Accountable
Washington, DC – Americans widely oppose corporations using mandatory binding arbitration clauses in the fine print of consumer and employment contracts, according to national polling of likely voters conducted by Lake Research Partners. Forced arbitration clauses are hidden in the fine print of everything from cell phone, home, credit card and retirement account terms of agreement to employment and nursing home contracts...Fair Arbitration Now Coalition, an organization of consumer and community groups released poll results last week showing most people have no idea they're giving up a constitutional right when they sign contracts containing an arbitration clause. When details of mandatory arbitration are made clear, 59% of Americans say they oppose the practice and would back legislation requiring that arbitration be voluntary, the poll found...companies win nearly 84% of cases they initiate. Six in 10 likely voters support the Arbitration Fairness Act – including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Read Report...

Los Angeles Times: Fair Arbitration Now Coalition
Sue the company? Most contracts force consumers to forfeit that right
Mandatory arbitration clauses have become a routine part of the fine print in most financial, telecom and employment contracts, as well as numerous other customer agreements...Consumer advocates, sensing a shift in the political winds under President Obama, believe the time is right to challenge mandatory arbitration and have banded together to support legislation ending the practice..."We have no problem with arbitration," said David Arkush of the watchdog group Public Citizen... He was speaking on behalf of the Fair Arbitration Now Coalition, an organization of consumer and community groups. The coalition released poll results last week showing most people have no idea they're giving up a constitutional right when they sign contracts containing an arbitration clause. When details of mandatory arbitration are made clear, 59% of Americans say they oppose the practice and would back legislation requiring that arbitration be voluntary, the poll found...companies win nearly 84% of cases they initiate. Read more...

Corporate Entities in this Country – ABOVE THE LAW
Jamie Leigh Jones Feature of Arbitration Fairness Day Press Conference
Washington DC - Good afternoon. I am standing before you to share with you a personal tragedy. I do this to bring awareness to legislation which is designed to ensure that no American will be deprived of their constitutionally guaranteed right to the fair administration of justice before a jury of their peers and judge, skilled in the law...When my lawyers filed suit, they were met with Halliburton’s response that ALL of my claims were to be decided in arbitration – because I had signed away my right to a jury trial at the age of 20, and without the advice of counsel, or any choice other than to be terminated. Thomas Jefferson said that “no man is above the law and no man below it, nor do we ask any man’s permission when we require him to obey it.” Here, with the misuse of arbitration, we have made corporate entities in this country – ABOVE THE LAW. See Related ABC Story - Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR (ABC News)
Read more...

Associated Press: Jamie Leigh Jones Appeal
Appeal heard in rape case against Halliburton, KBR

A judge ruled last year that some of Jamie Leigh Jones' claims against Halliburton Co. and several former subsidiaries can be tried in open court, but the companies say she signed an agreement that requires all of her claims against the companies to be resolved privately through arbitration...The Associated Press usually does not identify people alleging sexual assault, but Jones' face and name have been broadcast in media reports and on her own Web site. She also described her allegations in testimony before a congressional subcommittee. Read more...

Arbitration Victim Speak Up
Stories of Americans Hurt by Forced Arbitration
Forced arbitration clauses – which are buried in the fine print of credit card terms, employee handbooks, health insurance plans, nursing home admissions forms and many other contracts – eliminate consumers’ and employees’ access to the courts and require that they submit their disputes to a private legal system that favors corporations. Forced arbitration clauses enable big business to undermine consumer protections, circumvent civil rights laws, bypass product safety and escape accountability for wrongdoing. Read victims stories about individuals and small businesses that suffered severe hardship due to forced arbitration.
Read more...

Senator Russ Feingold & Cong. Hank Johnson Introduce Bill Arbitration Fairness Act 2009
Consumer Protection Measure Introduced In Senate
Sen Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would prevent companies from forcing consumers and employees into arbitration agreements. Arbitration clauses pop up in contracts for things as small as cell phones and as big as jobs. At a press conference on the Hill, victims of tragedies made worse by forced arbitration shared their stories. One of them, Jamie Leigh Jones, provided a statement saying she was gang-raped by her Halliburton subsidiary co-workers in Baghdad in 2005..."Unfortunately, my case is not an isolated incident," Jones said. Read more...

 

 

 

 Texas, First Home Lemon Law Debated in the Nation
Homebuyers Need a Home Lemon Law

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TEXAS ABOLISHES BUILDERS
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Texas Regulates Homebuyers
 
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HOBB Update Messages

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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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Build it right the first time
An interview with Janet Ahmad

HUD's Broken System
From HUD's Deregulation to Disgrace
Did HUD Secretary Cisneros
 Mastermind Predatory Lending?

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