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Special Investigative News Reports
Thursday, 07 October 2004

            Special Investigative News Reports on Homebuilding
                                                   

NPR Special Report - Texas Politics and Money
Perry Home No Warranty I Bob and Jane Cull never really had a warranty with their Bob Perry Home.

Texas Favors Builers II  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."  We heard from one reformer say that Texas is the worst state n the nation when it comes to protecting buyer of new homes.

Princeton study: Institutional racism played role in foreclosure crisis
African-Americans were more likely to be offered subprime loans over whites who had similar financial backgrounds, according to a new study that looks at institutional racism in the nation's housing crisis.“While policy makers understand that the housing crisis affected minorities much more than others, they are quick to attribute this outcome to the personal failures of those losing their homes — poor credit and weaker economic position,” noted Douglas Massey, the study's other author and a professor at Woodrow Wilson. “In fact, something more profound was taking place; institutional racism played a big part in this crisis.”  Read More on Study: Princeton study finds racial dimensions to foreclosure crisis See: Summary Read News Report

New York Times: Examining the Financial Crisis
Reporter Gretchen Morgenson discusses an upcoming New York Times series of articles examining the causes of the current financial crisis.  See Video by Gretchen Morgenson

New York Times Report Features Henry Cisneros
 Building Flawed American Dreams
As the Clinton administration’s top housing official in the mid-1990s, Mr. Cisneros loosened mortgage restrictions so first-time buyers could qualify for loans they could never get before. Then, capitalizing on a housing expansion he helped unleash, he joined the boards of a major builder and the largest mortgage lender in the nation, Countrywide Financial — two companies that rode the housing boom, drawing criticism along the way for abusive business practices
... The causes of the housing implosion are many: lax regulation, financial innovation gone awry, excessive debt, raw greed. The players are also varied: bankers, borrowers, developers, politicians and bureaucrats...For the three years he was a director Mr. Cisneros received at least $70,000 in pay and more than $100,000 worth of stock. He also received $1.14 million in directors’ fees and stock grants during the six years he was a director at Countrywide. He made more than $5 million from Countrywide stock options, money he says he plowed into his company. Read more... 
 Feature Page: Henry Cisneros - Rise and Fall of Predatory Lending and Housing


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

                                           

 MSNBC Undercover: Home Wreckers 

BusinessWeek Special Reports - Bonfire of the Builders
Cover Story AUGUST 13, 2007
Homebuilders helped fuel the housing crisis—and how far the damage will spread 
BusinessWeek Executive Editor John Byrne and Banking Editor Mara Der Hovanesian discuss how by rushing into the mortgage business big-time, homebuilders helped fuel the housing crisis. Now they’re hurting—and so is Wall Street  
Read more...

BusinessWeek Cover Story - Housing: That Sinking Feeling
OCTOBER 15, 2007

Homeowners are getting slammed as builders slash prices. The big question: Will this shock treatment help hasten the end of the painful downturn? Read more...


OUTSTANDING! Special Charlotte Observer Feature - Beazer Homes Investigation
Sold a Nightmare -
Home bailouts are often traps
Many who are offering mortgage help are stripping value, taking over houses
As risky mortgage loans fuel a rise in foreclosures, some opportunists are targeting struggling U.S. homeowners, promising a quick bailout but ultimately stripping the properties of their value or owning the homes outright. 
Beazer Homes USA said Wednesday it is cooperating with a federal investigation of its mortgage business. A subsidiary of the builder, Beazer Mortgage, arranges loans for many buyers in its subdivisions. See special report 
     Part Two: Starter homes, sad endings
      Part Three:  One builder, hundreds of foreclosures
      Part Four:    Failing mortgages fly under the radar

CBS 13: Outstanding Report on thousands of Defective Homes

Big Cost Homes Blown Apart

In a growing number of cases we're finding people who think the new homes they've worked a lifetime to afford are literaly being blown apart.  And it doesn't appear the building industry has thought much about the problem.  It's hard to believe a house that’s only three-years-old has a cracked wall makes it look like an ancient ruin. Damage to this nearby home is so widespread, the original owners left nearly everything behind to escape the sickness spreading here. See: Call Kurtis -  Kustis Ming Reporting 02-02-07- Read more...

The Enquirer Special Report - Construction disputes can get heated
JAMES MCNAIR  - Unlike with automobiles, there are no lemon laws requiring builders to take back defective houses, and new home warranties typically last a year. Only when homebuyers file a claim do they learn whether their builder will stand behind its product - or won't.
Buyers lement flawed homes
Was new house wrapped?
Beware of the pitfalls
What to do when faced with issues

SHOCKING MIAMI HERALD REPORT
- HOUSE OF LIES REPORT
 
Where's the Housing?
Miami Herald 6 Part Report - In the nation's least-affordable city, the Miami Dade Housing Agency lost millions of dollars on dead projects, insider deals and developers who never delivered, stranding the poor in rotting and unsafe homes. A year-long Miami Herald investigation exposed a series of ill-fated government deals that played out under the noses of county leaders, enriching well-connected developers at the expense of the community's coveted funds for affordable housing. 

The Charlotte Observer Special Report - Foreclosing on the American Dream: 
Three Part Series   Loan defaults a growing burden for lower-income neighborhoods. Buying a home has never been easier. And it's never been easier to lose one

Denver Post Foreclosure Series - Foreclosing on the American Dream
FHA program key in surge of foreclosures
A key factor in the state's record-setting wave of foreclosures, critics say, is an FHA program that allows people to borrow more than their houses are worth with little or no money down. Created to extend the dream of homeownership to first-time buyers, the so-called FHA gift program instead has led to rampant foreclosures. Nearly 6,000 FHA loans have wound up in foreclosure in Colorado in the past two years, and during that time the program allowed more than 25 percent of FHA buyers to use gifts as down payments.

Record foreclosure pace
More than 9,500 real estate foreclosures have been filed in the Denver area in the first half of the year, about 34 percent more than in the first six months of 2005.  It's on pace to be the worst year ever in terms of the number of foreclosures, topping 17,122 in 1988, though the area's population growth since then means the total percentage of homes in foreclosure is smaller.

Foreclosures still surging
Residential foreclosure filings continue to flood public offices throughout the metro area, with no signs that the record-setting pace of failed home loans will let up. Foreclosures in the seven-county metro area jumped by nearly a third in the first half of the year compared with the same period in 2005, according to public-trustee counts.


 8 DAY INVESTIGATIVE REPORT

      WESH Ch2 & Orlando Sentinel – 650 e-mails prompts Special Reports
University of Central Florida and the Orlando Sentinel Investigate Homebuilding
By Dan Tracy | Sentinel Staff Writer 

A yearlong investigation of housing construction in Central Florida shows that new homes are riddled with problems large and small, the result of builders who are constructing too many homes too fast, with not enough trained workers and inadequate oversight. New houses in Central Florida are likely to have heating and cooling problems; cracked walls and windows; mold and poor drainage. But many homeowners experience far more -- and worse -- than that.  Links to the Oranndo Sentinel indroduction and series...

 BUILDING HOMES: BUILDING PROBLEMS
UCF team did inspections for 6 months
Industrial-engineering students from the University of Central Florida inspected 406 houses for the Orlando Sentinel/WESH-NewsChannel 2 investigation of the quality of new-home construction in the region.

Homes often are rush jobs, critics assert
Fast work by subcontractors' unskilled labor leads to flaws
The new homes of greater Orlando are built by tens of thousands of men and women who work in the murky world of subcontractors. Often rushed and poorly supervised, the so-called "subs" sweep onto a job, complete their individualized tasks as swiftly as possible, then move on to the next site. The faster they lay block or drive nails or run air-conditioning ducts, the more money they make. Production is key, critics say, not quality.

Code, inspections let flaws through
The state building code -- and the often-overworked, sometimes-careless inspectors who enforce it -- offers little assurance that a buyer will move into a well-built home....There are more Mexican migrants working residential construction in Central Florida -- at least 25,000 -- than any other ethnicity. Without them to hammer nails, lay block and install windows, the industry would grind to a halt. 

Builders' clout keeps regulations weak
Homeowner concerns often take back seat in state law
From keeping regulators at bay to stopping legislation they oppose -- such as a bill that would have fined them $1,000 a day for being late in completing a house -- Florida's home builders are among the most powerful groups in the state.

READ MORE...

 

 

 

 

Photos/Video- Media Gallery...

TALK ABOUT IT...
Share your thoughts about this series on our message boards.


*****************************************************************
The Columbus Dispatch
 
Ohio leads the nation in home foreclosure, a problem fueled by a weak economy,
aggressive mortgage brokers, financial overreaching and tepid state oversight.
After the series                                                                             Comment on articles: 

Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2005

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005

Monday, Sept. 19, 2005

Sunday, Sept. 18, 2005

     Updates: Columbus Dispatch on Dominion

   ****************************************************************
Home Owners Associations
HOA's Out of Control
American Homeowners Resource Center (AHRC)

<><><><><><>    

"The mission is simple but very important. It is to help citizens in homeowner associations to take
back their homes from the two generations of crooked lawyers, politicians, judges and vendors who
have stolen them."  
About one in six people in the nation, or roughly 50 million residents, lives in a community governed by a homeowners association, from co-op buildings in New York City to
suburban subdivisions... Some homes were sold at foreclosure for amounts ranging from $1400 to $7,000. The equity in each home was estimated to be between $150,000 to $300,000.
Read more:Investigation on Homeowner Association Foreclosure Filings
ENCINITAS RANCH HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION INTRODUCES MASSIVE PARKING FINES 

For more information, please check out the articles listed below:

 
  • Bills May Curb Associations' Ability to Sue Homeowners - Linda Rapattoni
  •  
  • Burden of debt - Emmet Pierce
  •  
  • Homeowner Boards Blur Line of Who Rules Roost - Motoko Rich
  •  
  • THE $140,000 PARKING TICKET IN A CALIFORNIA HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION - Peter Amherst
  •  
  • A DAY IN COURT - AHRC News Services Staff
  •  
  • Investigation on Homeowner Association Foreclosure Filings - AHRC News Services
  •  
  • Brook Hills resident fights association - Julie Reeder
  •  
  • Foreclosures And Lawsuits In California Homeowner Associations - Arnold A. McMahon
  •  
  • FORECLOSURES FILINGS BY HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATIONS - Melissa Colburn
  •  
  • FORECLOSURE INVESTIGATION ON PETERS AND FREEDMAN - Dan Ackroyd
  •  
  • Peters and Freedman
  •  
  • James R. McCormick Jr - Peters & Freedman LLP
  •  
  • Stephen M. Kirkland - Peters & Freedman
  •  
  • Proposed bill will up residents' say - Susan Gill Varden
  •  
  • Parking company is towing, booting and fining residents - Mark Walker
  •  
  • Misery By Associations - A News Survey by NBC6.net - Joni Skibo
  •  
  • HOW TO STEAL A UNIT FROM A CONDO OWNER - Margret Koch Chalupowski MD PHD
  •  
  • Torrey View Homeowvers Association board is issuing "parking violations" for parking on our private driveway - Julie B
  •  
  • Encinitas Ranch Homeowners Association
  •  
  • N. N. Jaeschke
  •  
  • Case Number: GIN 026443 Brook Hills HOA v Bass & Bass v Brooks Hills.Peters
  •  
  • THEY WILL HIT YOU WHERE YOU LIVE - Pete Fuentes - FOX 6 News San Diego
  •  
  • DEVASTATION IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA - David Osterpil
  •  
  • California Lawmakers At Work Passing Crazy Laws - James Galley
  • John J. Carona - Texas Senator - Associa Management Company
  •  

     

    San Antonio Express-News - Special 4 Part Series
    Developer Clear Cutting
    Losing Ground - Law lets developers ignore growth controls  


    An obscure Texas San Antonio law written for developers has cost  millions of dollars, stripped parts of the scenic Hill Country of trees and blocked attempts to protect the region's water supply. The "vested rights" law stops cities from imposing new restrictions on a real estate project once a developer files virtually any kind of plan for it.  From that point on, the project is "vested" and frozen in a time warp of more lenient city codes. 
    Developers Clear Cut

    Read more ...  


       
                 Day Two
              
    Dig up an old plan, get vested
               
    Priced out of protection

                     Day Three
               
    When S.A. said, 'Stop,' Austin said, 'Go ahead'
               Avoiding rules they wrote


    Consumer Reports - Housewrecked 
    Last year, consumers bought more than 1 million new homes in the U.S., a near record. Average sale price: $250,000. But a CR investigation has found that increasingly, buyers are discovering that their new dream home has serious defects and that they have more consumer protections for a fickle $20 toaster than for a flawed investment-of-a-lifetime.

    Corporate Coruption in the Ohio Homebulding Industry:

    Jul 10 2002 As President Bush calls for an end to Corporate Corruption, homebuilding corruption looms in Ohio Homebuilder case. "Erpenbeck Builder Saga" that now includes Erpenbeck Co. of Edgewood; its former president, Bill Erpenbeck; 200+ new homeowners, 20 Erpenbeck affiliates; 15 banks and 19 title companies.   Also included are up to 100 ''John Doe lenders'' who may have been involved in the banking scandal, but who have not yet been identified. Economic Impact: $114 Million. 

    Erpenbeck Archive  Cincinnati Post. While it took Bill Erpenbeck less than a decade to build Erpenbeck Co. into one of the area's largest homebuilders, allegations of bank fraud and hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills are threatening to bring it down even faster. 

    Under investigation  Cincinnati Enquirer. A. William Erpenbeck spent years building a company that appears to be crumbling. One of the Tristate's biggest home builders, the Erpenbeck Co., is under federal investigation for a suspected bank fraud that is affecting lenders, subcontractors and home owners. 
    NOTE: The above links is a complete set of articles on this homebuilder and the investigation by the FBI in the Cinncinati Enquirer and Post. This is a HUGE investigati

     

    NBC Dateline:
    April 17, 2001 Dateline NBC:"Reading the fine print"
    Do home warranties offer protection for buyers?. Dateline NBC April 17, 2001. With warranties like this, a Lemon Law is needed! 
                    Read: Pulte Nightmare Home.com -
    Pulte Bought Home Back


      Arizona Republic's Special Report on Arizona homebuilders: 
       
    • Construction quality varies widely Builders balance demands of workmanship, speed, profit 
    • Builders apt to lobby legislature
    • How Phoenix compares with other hot home markets 
    • Complaints follow building boom 
    • Skilled labor, oversight stretched thin
    • Costs of home-deficit suits add up
    • Competition makes builders better 
    • High-end buyers file more complaints
    • New-home flaws fertile ground for attorneys
    • New houses inspected on the fly 
    • Cities struggle to keep up with boom
    • Some builders hold multiple licenses
    • State registrar serves as mediator; buyers, builders differ on effectiveness
    • Complaints by zip code 
    • A home buyer's guide to potential problems 
    • Complaint records of Arizona's top 50 builders 


    __________________________________________________________

     Jacksonville, Florida:
    City fails homeowners - Home inspectors missing 40%
    At least four out of 10 homes built recently in Jacksonville have not been fully inspected by city officials responsible for assuring proper construction, an analysis of records by the Times-Union shows. 

     St. Petersburg Times:
    Nightmare Dream Home. In 1998, he and his family moved into a new house built by U.S. Home Corp.  in the Hunter's Green subdivision of Tampa.  According to Preslar, they had no hot water downstairs for almost three months. One bedroom had no air-conditioning ducts. The kitchen floor  molded. The foundation cracked. Wallpaper turned black. Soffits turned green. The carpet frayed. The banister fell down. Kitchen lights dropped from the ceiling. Including sidebars

    • Hidden flaws By COLLINS CONNER © St. Petersburg Times, published March 12, 2000 In looking at new home construction, the St. Petersburg Times found plenty of evidence that work had deteriorated. Some defects are easy to see. But industry insiders described commonplace problems that are difficult to detect or that occur during phases of construction that are virtually unexamined. These flaws affect a home's strength, wind resistance, durability or efficiency
    • Riding on its reputation Suarez Housing sells the nuts and bolts of construction quality and, according to a Times poll of Tampa Bay area buyers, it delivers on its promises.
    • Industry regulation lacking. Jack and Ruth Dunn of Hernando County learn there is little recourse when a home is constructed improperly.
    • Home buyers say quality fell through the cracks. Buying a new home was exactly what a couple wanted to do. But when they moved into their $100,000 house, they didn't get exactly what they were looking for.
    • So many new homes, so few skilled workers. Ask builders about construction defects and they will point to the labor shortage as the cause. "It's the No. 1 problem across the nation," said Ron Coppenbarger of Jacksonville, who spearheads the worker recruitment effort of the Florida Home Builders Association.
    • U.S. Home: Survey by Times is not accurate. A U.S. Home Corp. customer-satisfaction survey proves that a scientific poll conducted by the St. Petersburg Times is inaccurate, according to Gene Lanton, president of the builder's Central Florida division. 


    USA Weekend:
                    
    MOLD: A Health Alert.  Included in this report:

        • Stachybotrys atra
        • How common are these molds
        • Why new homes are moldier 
        • How to protect your home from unhealthful molds 


    Outstanding Reporting
    Ryland Water Damage.com - News Articles from Florida - Orlando Sentinel & WESH Ch2 Outstanding reporting on construction defects, water intrusion, code changes, Special Reports and much more

     

     
    Search HOBB.org

    Reckless Endangerment
    BY: GRETCHEN MORGENSON
    and JOSHUA ROSNER

    Outsized Ambition, Greed and
    Corruption Led to
    Economic Armageddon


    Amazon
    Barnes & Noble

     Feature
    Rise and Fall of Predatory Lending and Housing

    NY Times: Building Flawed American Dreams 
    Read CATO Institute: 
    HUD Scandals

    Listen to NPR:
    Reckless Endangerman
    by
    Gretchen Morgenson : How 'Reckless' Greed Contributed
    to Financial Crisis - Fannie Mae

    NPR Special Report
    Part I Listen Now
    Perry Home - No Warranty 
    Part II Listen Now
    Texas Favors Builders

    Washington Post
    The housing bubble, in four chapters
    BusinessWeek Special Reports
    Bonfire of the Builders
    Homebuilders helped fuel the housing crisis
    Housing: That Sinking Feeling

    Texas Regulates Homebuyers
     
    Texas Comptroller Condemns TRCC Builder Protection Agency
    TRCC is the punishment phase of homeownership in Texas

    Consumer Affairs Builder Complaints

     TRCC Implosion
     TRCC Shut Down
     Sunset Report

    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

    TRCC AN ARRESTING EXPERIENCE
    The Pat and Bob Egert Building & TRCC Experience 

    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?

     Give Me Back My Rights Campaign
    Model State Arbitration Legislation
    Fair Homebuyer Contract Model

    Bad Binding Arbitration Experience?
    conttribute@hobb.org
     or call 1-210-402-6800

    Discovery Home Channel
    Holmes on Homes

    Pulte Homeowner Survey
    Warranty & Mortgage Experience
     Click to participate

     Feature: Mother Jones Magazine
    Are you Next?
    People Magazine - Jordan Fogal fights back
    Because of construction defects Jordans Tremont Home is uninhabitable
    http://www.tremonthomehorrors.com/
    You could be the next victim
    Interview with Award Winning Author Jordan Fogal

    Special Money Report
    Big Money and Shoddy Construction:Texas Home Buyers Left Out in the Cold
    Read More
    Read Report: Big Money…
    Home Builder Money Source of Influence

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