Need Legal Help

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jim Sentry, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. Jim Sentry

    Jim Sentry Stunt Coordinator

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    Get ready for a Nightmare

    Wife buys to be built Custom Home for 700K. It is a 3BR. The theater of our dreams will be on first floor as well as huge bar, billiard room, master. Approx 5200sf.

    Bank Appraises it at 800K only later I find out they counted the BR in this house as 5. The comps they use are all o/s subd, even though a 4BR sold 6 months earlier for 654K

    She takes out a CP Loan for 640K

    Builder/Developer is now about to go bust. We find out he never filed for a Building Permit. Builder's ex-wife is one of the selling agents, who works for a very large Broker.

    3 Other Builders in subd had filed suit against this Developer at least 2 weeks earlier than the date contract was signed. Suit was never disclosed by agents or our builder.

    Bank sends out inpsector who does not have plans and continues to OK release of draws to builder for completing framing. I complain garage has not been framed nor second story over garage. He says builder told him it was detached garage.

    I find out portion of draws intended for materials was never paid to suppliers and I just had to charge over 20K to my CC to prevent liens.

    We have been screwed by builder, bank, real estate agents and co., appraiser amd inspectors.

    Because of all the players involved no attorney will take the case unless a huge retainer is paid.

    I need someone to take case on a contingency basis. All the players have E&O policies and this should be an easy win. Failing that it is deed in lieu of foreclosure.

    Help!!!
     
  2. j45rpm

    j45rpm Auditioning

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    I'm not an attorney and can't help you, Jim, but if you are hoping for an attorney on the list to help you, or for someone on the list to refer you to an attorney they know, you're going to have to tell us where this all took place. (At least the state, if not the city.) Afterall, an attorney licensed in Oregon doesn't do you any good if you're in Florida, etc.
     
  3. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Most county bar associations have lawyer referral services. You should contact yours.

    Lawyers generally only take cases on a contingency-fee basis in limited circumstances. Yours may not be one of them. In addition, lawyers may listen to your case and then decide not to take it on a contingency-fee basis. The reason: they only want to take on "sure winner" cases. Your case sounds like there would be a good deal of expense involved in discovery. Don't forget that you would have to front these costs as most contingency-fee agreements only cover the lawyer's fees, not other costs of litigation.
     
  4. Jim Sentry

    Jim Sentry Stunt Coordinator

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    I am in GA. Any sources?
     
  5. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    About all I can say is......CRAP.

    I would check the local Bar referral service. There should be one and it should be listed in the phone book under Attorneys.

    My gut feeling is the first course of action is in regards to the builder never getting a permit. Unbelievable. I seriously doubt you will get any decent attorney to take this on contingency. That tends to be more insurance claim and liability cases.
     
  6. Jim Sentry

    Jim Sentry Stunt Coordinator

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    I'll seek out referral sources. But, I've also found out Builder has done something similar to other people. Also, with knowledge of Realtors.
     
  7. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Jim, I hate to say this, but the fact the builder has done this before actually probably bodes badly for you. It indicates he has gotten away with it enough to continue. I have some experience with this, which I won't burdon you with because it will give you nightmares more than you are probably having already.

    There are plenty of people out there who absolutely lack any semblance of conscience and have learned to use the legal system as a weapon in helping them actually break the law. There are plenty of them working as builders in particular.

    I say this only to prepare you, but there is a good chance you are in for a long, difficult fight. So, prepare yourself, but don't be intimidated and try not to back down. That is what people like this rely on.

    One other idea, you might research and try to find others who this builders has pulled these things with. It is the economy of volume. One attorney could represent all of you in one joint case and ease the burdon on each of you in the meantime.
     
  8. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    Have you spoken with the police about any of this?
     
  9. bobbyg2

    bobbyg2 Supporting Actor

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    Easy, get a 12 guage, go to the builders office, and hold them all hostage until they give you the specified amount of money, then run to Mexico and buy a cheap house! (kidding)

    Ya, I can't really help you much, but it looks like you're in a bit of a jam. You're gona have to find a lawyer to represent you. Which will be very hard to find...
     
  10. RichP

    RichP Second Unit

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    This reminds me...

    I have to run over to Lawyers.com to see what they think of the new DVDs that came out tuesday!
     
  11. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Because the phone book has so few lawyers listed. Stick to what you know Bobby, advanced speaker design.
     
  12. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    I think that's exactly what he meant, in a sarcastic way.
     
  13. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    and mac networking.

    CJ
     
  14. Dave_Brown

    Dave_Brown Supporting Actor

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    Come on guys, everyone knows that the two best places for any kind of advice, legal and sexual being the top 2, is the internet and 15 year olds.
     
  15. Jim Sentry

    Jim Sentry Stunt Coordinator

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    I need an Erin Brockovich or John Travolta (A Civil Action) type.
     
  16. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    bobby is 16 now, so we'll have to get our advice elsewhere.

    CJ
     
  17. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    This sucks. Something similar happened to a friend in the late 90s- the builder basically ran off with the money, leaving him with 10s of 1000s of dollars he had to cough up. He had to max out his credit cards to avoid losing the house, basically paying that amount twice.

    I don't know if he ever sought legal action- I lost touch with the guy a few years ago, but at that time he had already been paying on the credit card debt for years. His home was in central Florida, so even if I were in touch with him & he knew a good lawyer, that wouldn't help, you being out of state.

    I also remember him saying the same builder had ripped off several other families & fled the state.

    Hope it works out for you. It seems like it's too easy for someone to rip off a buyer like this. Keep us updated.

    BTW, wouldn't it be odd for a 700K house to have a detached garage? I always thought it was good to be able to park the car, then go into the house without having to go outside, & it sure seems like the buyer of a higher priced home would want that, too.
     
  18. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Color me dim, but I don't understand this. What's to lose, if the house hasn't been built yet? If it has been built, what did the builder run away with?
     
  19. Marianne

    Marianne Supporting Actor

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    We had a similar experience about 12 yrs ago. Not as bad as yours because the bank stopped releasing draws and we had to become the contractor to complete the house. The bank released the remaining draws to us. We did end up with some liens and ended up paying twice for some things. We had trouble finding a lawyer because this builder had taken a bunch of people and most of the local lawyers already had clients relating to this situation.

    I did a lot of research myself, finding out about lien law, etc. When I had all the details and list of who had and hadn't been paid we got advice from an attorney in another town who put all my information into a letter to send out to lienholders, etc.

    Check your State's Lien Law. In Florida, in order for a lien to be valid a sub-contractor or supplier must have sent you a "Notice to Owner". The date you receive this in relation to delivery of supplies or work is important. If not done within a certain time-frame the lien is not valid and you don't have to pay.

    Also found out that one lien-holder had been paid by the builder and then tried to put a lien on the house when he found out the builder went bust! We informed him that this was fraudulent and he removed the lien.

    One of the things that surprises me is that your Bank would start making payments without evidence of a building permit. In Florida the permit has to be posted in the box on the job site.

    You might want to try your State's Attorney General in regard to the conduct of the Bank and the Realtors.

    Hope you can get some help with this situation!
     
  20. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    > What's to lose, if the house hasn't been built yet? If it has been built, what did the builder run away with?

    The house was under construction when the builder fled. My friend had paid money to the builder that was supposed to be paid to subcontractors who did the work- that's the money the guy ran off with. So those people (who had nothing to do with the builder running off) still had to be paid.

    I'm guessing that the construction was on schedule for the first few weeks so it would look to the buyer like everything was fine- the perfect time for the scammer to run off with the cash.

    Does that make sense? It's sort of like the fact that if your car gets stolen, you still owe the payments on your car loan. Those don't disappear just because the car did.
     

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