I wanted to post this to show that the HOMEOWNER is targeted by FRAUD from many sources. The American Dream has been murdered by those we should have been able to trust. I can't think of a more vile profession than finance or real estate. Those people are equal to what collects on the bottom of restaurant dumpsters.
Builders Exposed - All the signs were there… Who are the real losers?
The review of events reported in this News Update began years ago when the building industry devised a plan to make billions, and now the walls are caving in on them. The questions are; what kind of scams will the next generation of homebuilding with empty promises of sound homeownership bring to our communities? How can we prevent history from being repeated?
All the signs were there, even before July 2005 when HUD fined KB Home $3.2 million for mortgage irregularities. Not long afterward its CEO Bruce Karatz was caught in a scandal of messing with backdating stock options.
Shortly thereafter the Charlotte Observer announced an FBI Beazer Homes Investigation in a four-part series that exposed Beazer’s lucrative scam of loan fraud involving first-time buyers.
Instead of stopping the bleeding a band-aid of industry spin obscured the industry sins. Using skillful marketing techniques on young first-time homebuyers, friendly sales representatives worked their magic to create ‘pulse-loans’ – if a individual entering the model home door had a pulse, the builder’s loan company had a mortgage for them and the house was thrown up in a matter of days.
Scams of the powerful homebuilding industry are slowly and painfully unfolding daily in nationwide news. The first eye-opening report came on August 13, 2007 in a BusinessWeek special report ’Bonfire of the Builders,’ where the editors discussed “how by rushing into the mortgage business big-time, homebuilders helped fuel the housing crisis. Now they’re hurting—and so is Wall Street.”
In one of the articles this past week American Watchdog explains how the 2007 real estate disaster happened and what consumers should know and do. “For over three years Americas Watchdog has been warning of a coming real estate disaster, as a result of greedy lending practices. Despite the warnings, mortgage lending practices did not change, greedy mortgage lenders & homebuilders had their way with unsuspecting consumers, and now the US economy is tittering on the verge of a serious recession or worse.”
Currently the bad building practices of Lennar are being reported and showing a significant pattern of critical design flaws, construction defects and customer neglect. In my message in the May 13, 2007 HOBB News Update I reported that Lennar was getting blasted in a number of states especially Florida and the South Carolina, Westcott Plantation where homeowners were demanding Lennar Homes buy-back their defective homes.
Friday, Lennar may have met their match when Erin Brockovich held a press conference announcing she would represent the South Carolina, Westcott Plantation homeowners after she confirmed high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) contaminates in their community.
Also in town was Georgia’s HOBB Rep. Scott Kimball to support the Lennar homeowners as well as the Arbitration Fairness Act of 2007 that would discourage binding arbitration in builder contracts and the Home Lemon Law.
If things aren’t bad enough for Lennar its all too familiar construction defects are getting attention in Texas. Ten days ago unhappy Hutto, Texas homeowner’s packed city hall asking that Lennar buy-back their homes after the City Building Officials confirmed construction defects in their Hutto Parke community.
Meanwhile, builders are whining that business is in the toilet and homebuilder stock prices have plummeted by as much as 75%. Stockholders are crying over their losses in the stock market and filing lawsuits. Investment groups urge homebuilders to address compliance failures. September 7. 2007 the giant Countrywide Mortgage announced it was cutting 12,000 jobs as rumors of bankruptcy spread. Beazer is on the verge of bankruptcy and KB Homes is still limping along as other builders use splashy campaigns, auctions, to clear out inventory.
Who are the real losers; the answer is every taxpaying citizen in America? Families, when the breadwinner looses his or her job because of its relationship to the building industry or mortgage industry. Those who were duped into believing they qualified for a house they couldn’t afford. Communities sit with abandoned houses where house prices dropped overnight due to epidemic numbers of foreclosures. The children who once danced and jumped for joy around the big new house now watch their friends and neighbor move out and soon move out to an unknown future as well.
See the media coverage of the building industry exposed and more enlightening articles below!
Your participation is vital. Together we have and will continue to make a difference! Help us to help you by keeping in touch. .
We would like to hear from you so, please take a few minutes to post your comments on the HOBB Forum
Janet Ahmad, President
HomeOwners for Better Building
News 2 - Lennar meet their match, unhappy homeowners & Brockovich
Brockovich Plans to Sue
She made millions fighting for the health and safety of homeowners, a story that caught the attention of hollywood film makers. Now Erin Brockovich is part of a team seeking to represent several country homeowners in a lawsuit they plan to file in the near future. "I am here as an advocate first and foremost. I am as a consultant secondly," said Brockovich... According to the EPA volatile organic compounds or VOCs include a variety of chemicals some of which may be harmful. The chemical Brockovich's firm is now concerned with is benzene. The firm hired experts to retest some homes. Results showed various forms of benzene at, what she says, are higher than EPA-approved levels. Read more...
ABC NEWS 4 Lennar Troubles - Erin Brockovich and Contamination
Erin Brockovich Here To Help Westcott Plantation
“They've asked for help-they're sick, we're finding contaminants and somebody needs to give them some answers,” Brockovich pleads. Brockovich says testing at Wescott has shown higher than allowed levels of chemical compounds, mostly Benzene, a colorless and flammable liquid that used to be added to gasoline. Now she says that compound can be found underneath people's homes in levels more than 70 times the EPA allowed amount. Read more...
Erin Brockovich takes on Lennar Homes
Erin Brockovich to conduct inquiry in N. Charleston
Environmental advocate Erin Brockovich is investigating a North Charleston neighborhood that she said she believes is contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical... She said the Wescott case reminds her of other neighborhoods in the country she has studied, in which toxic chemicals seeped from waste sites to residential areas. An EPA official said the agency is investigating whether the areas in question have been used as dumping sites...Brockovich said she'll take on the Wescott case despite threats from Lennar. She said the company told her this week that it would conduct "a smear campaign" against her if she continued her investigation. Read more...
Live 5 News: Erin Brockovich takes on Lennar in Charleston
Westcott Plantation Worries Bring Erin Brockovich To Town
Erin Brockovich came to Charleston to help unhappy homeowners living in Westcott Plantation. "She flew out and met with homeowners, about eight of us, and brought in members of her own team to check into it," Hull says. They found the homeowners are bringing in other more dangerous chemicals, like benzyne and acetone, chemicals commonly found in paint thinner. Read more...
ABC News: Worst Month for New Home Sales in 7 YearsGroup Claims These Are Just the Initial Stages, with More Homeowner Hardships to Come
During the Past Year, Sales of New Homes Have Dropped 21 Percent
August was the worst month for sales of new homes in seven years, according to figures released this morning by the government. The official sales pace for last month was a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 795,000 units – well below the 867,000 economists were betting on and the slowest since June 2000. Read more...
Public Citizen Reports on Binding Mandatory Arbitration
Report faults binding mandatory arbitration
Credit card holders stand little chance of winning in mandatory arbitration of disputes with their banks, according to a report released Thursday by national consumer advocacy group Public Citizen. Arbitration firms used by companies such as MasterCard Inc., Visa, Discover Financial Services LLC and American Express Co. ruled against consumers in about 18,000 of 19,000 disputes analyzed in Public Citizen’s study. The group examined data from California because it is the only state that requires arbitration companies to publish the results of cases they hear. However, consumer advocates at Public Citizen and in Maryland are confident the problem is national in scope. Read more...
Real Estate Disaster the Result of Greedy Lenders and Homebuilders, Says Watchdog Group
According to the release, the single biggest contributor to the 2007-2008 real estate disaster has been mortgage lenders being most concerned about making fast profits, regardless of the long term impact on the economy. This boils down to nothing more than greed, which AW says manifested itself in three primary ways: pay option adjustable rate mortgages, stated income loans and massive appraisal fraud on the part of homebuilders... Massive appraisal fraud occurred when homebuilders conspired with appraisers to over-value builders' new houses by as much as 25 to 35 percent. As a result, says AW, homeowners in existing neighborhoods naturally assumed their homes were worth more money than they actually were. AW says that now "our big worry is formerly hot real estate markets adjusting down 25% to 35% to pre-frenzy levels by this time next year." Read more...