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ABC Special Report
Investigation: New Home Heartbreak
Trump - NAHB Homebuilders Shoddy Construction and Forced Arbitration
Special Interview with Author Jordan Fogal
Monday, 13 December 2004

Interview with Award Winning Author Jordan Fogal, Victim of Tremont Homes of Houston  

  “Tremont Homes is the Grinch that stole our Christmas,” said Jordan Fogal

            Jordan Fogal and her husband Bob are waiting while the builder, Tremont Homes ignores the construction defects that have caused rot and mold to consume their $400,000, 2 ½ year old home.  Now the builder and the American Arbitration Association (AAA) are trying to destroy them for complaining.

The following is an interview with the author: 

Question:  Why have you been out on the street protesting?

Jordan Fogal:  “I have been out here over three months,” replied Mrs. Fogal, “I call this my Public Forum.  Tremont Homes and the state of Texas are making homebuyers homeless; I am just one of the latest casualties.”

Question:  Why don’t you just sue your builder?

Jordan Fogal:  “That is the question I am asked most often.  The short answer is; we can’t.  When we bought our a new home we gave up our seventh amendment rights and no longer have assess to the courts.  Most people in this state are totally unaware when they buy a new home that they cannot sue their builder and their only recourse is to be subjected to a binding arbitration process.  Worse yet, most people can’t afford it and the builder knows it.”

Question:  It sounds like AAA and the homebuilding industry are allies?

Jordan Fogal:  “They sure act like it. Tremont Homes has been incredibly defiant and AAA has behaved like a demented collection agency, acting at the behest of the builder.  AAA is forcing us into Fast Track Binding Arbitration without legal representation, where our damages will be limited to less than $75,000, allowing less than 30 days for preparation and does not allow us any discovery.  Incredibly, the builder can file a claim against its victims to limit actual damages for their own bad building practices even when our home is a total loss.”  

Question:  It sounds like a lawless situation?  

Jordan Fogal:  “It is worse than anyone can imagine.  Homebuilders are not licensed or regulated in Texas. In fact, unlike any other profession, knowledge seems to be optional.  As for AAA, there is no impartiality since its very existence depends on bad homebuilding.   AAA and the powerful homebuilding industry acting in tandem, seek to suppress the homebuyer’s right to justice and have in fact become as powerful as the State or US Supreme Courts.  We can find no protection for the consumer.  The new Texas Residential Construction Commission (TRCC) says they did not expect the builder to go after its’ victims, so no rules were written to regulate the builder – only the homebuyer.”     

Question: How long are you prepared to protest in the streets?

Jordan Fogal:  “Until someone listens.  I am appalled at the lack of regulation.  No one is willing to accept responsibility and we as consumers have no laws to make them.  They have taken away my seventh amendment rights; they can not have my first.  We are paying dearly for exercising them.  I stand here on the street because there is no where else to go.”   

Question:  Are you saying no one will help you?

Jordan Fogal:  “Yes and the real travesty of this is that I have a 30-year mortgage on a house that didn’t last 3 years.  An unregulated industry is literally throwing up houses that will definitely not make the Historical Register.” 

Question:  What do you intend to do now; they seem to hold all the cards?

Jordan Fogal:  “I’m pleading for a stay of execution.  AAA is being used as a henchman for Tremont. Intimidation, harassment and AAA are the builders weapons and I am here with spitballs to fight off a giant, ethically challenged industry.

I have no choice; Tremont Homes has destroyed my home, my investment, and my life as I once knew it.  I no longer have anything to loose, which as I have told them, makes me their worst enemy.

This situation is so bizarre; sometimes I feel I am living in a John Gresham novel… except this isn’t fiction.

AAA is being using to tell the homeowner to “Buy It - Shut Up,” or else…”



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