More New Jersey Building Sacams!

Originally Posted By: rbracklow
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More Builder Scams in New Jersey - interesting reading!



Fox29 Undercover Investigation

Homewrecked
Jeff Cole, Reporter



Life-threatening construction defects in homes valued at a half-million dollars !!! These are the findings of a Fox 29 Undercover investigation into shoddy home construction. Fox 29 Undercover begins a series of reports over the next few months. We begin our "Homewrecked" series in New Jersey . For some it's not a ?Garden State.?



Janet Ahmad, President

HomeOwners for Better Building

San Antonio, Texas

http://www.hobb.org

210-402-6800



Fox29 Undercover Investigation

Homewrecked
Jeff Cole, Reporter



Life-threatening construction defects in homes valued at a half-million dollars !!! These are the findings of a Fox 29 Undercover investigation into shoddy home construction. Fox 29 Undercover begins a series of reports over the next few months. We begin our "Homewrecked" series in New Jersey . For some it's not a ?Garden State.?

***************

In a Central Jersey neighborhood of half million-dollar homes sits a house with its facade torn off. The front is covered in tarps and the porch is just gravel with no pavement. The home is not under renovation, however. It is being fixed by the builder due to code violations and defects.

?The windows weren't installed properly and the stucco wasn't installed properly so water got in and this whole side here this whole area was rotten,? said Steve Peterson, the home's owner.

Manalpan Chase is a development of 52 homes. Violet and Steve Peterson lead a fight on behalf of other homeowners.

?If it's one house, one house I can understand. (But) 52 houses with the same problem now the state has to ask something is really wrong here?? said Violet Peterson.

Years after they moved in, the Petersons discovered all the homes lacked something needed for stability and safety. The structures weren't attached to the foundation.

The township ordered the builder to install anchor plates in all the homes. This would prevent the houses from sliding off the foundations or blowing away in a storm.

In another Jersey shore town Drs. Christine and Arthur Aria live in their dream home, which had turned into a nightmare. They told Fox29 Undercover a defect in the home could've killed them.

It was soon after they moved in 1998 that Arthur Aria began to feel sick and have terrible headaches. His wife had other symptoms.

?I started to have a tremor in my right hand the summer we moved in. I had some memory problems and I was tripping a lot,? said Christine Aria.

The Arias noticed a funny smell in their home. Christine called the gas company. It advised her to get carbon monoxide detectors, which went off within days. The culprits, the Arias say, were three furnaces.

?The new furnace man said the three furnaces had been put in wrong because they didn't have the metal flue liners, ? said Christine Aria.

Dr. Aria soon saw a neurologist about her symptoms: tremors in her hands, tripping and falling. The MRI showed brain damage and the diagnosis was carbon monoxide poisoning. Their lawsuit against the builder was dismissed and is on appeal.

The attorney for the builder told Fox 29 in a phone conversation:

"There was no proof of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the home."

?There was nothing wrong with the furnaces. "

But the Arias have several engineering reports which state the furnaces were not properly installed. Fireplaces in the home are also an issue. They can't use the three fireplaces due to faulty construction. The Arias told Fox29 Undercover, if they use their fireplaces, they will be ineligible for homeowner's insurance!

Both the Aria and the Peterson cases are part of a broader probe by New Jersey 's State Commission of Investigation -or SCI- about the state's homebuilding industry.

The SCI is holding public hearings as part of its investigation. They told the public at the hearings that the American dream of owning a home in the state is already being "shattered by graft, greed and incompetence." They called it a "dangerous consumer crisis."

SCI agent Charles Kuyl says the system is broken, and he has seen evidence that builders could be criminally prosecuted for what they've done.

?And in those matters when we come across a situation like that with enough probable cause to open up criminal prosecution we refer the cases, ? said Kuyl.

Furthermore it's not hard to become a builder! Anyone who hands the state 200 bucks qualifies!

We went undercover to prove it. Our producer filled out the paperwork, calling her company "Goodwall Homes."

She just dropped off her application right in the lobby and was told she did not have to come back in person.

A few weeks later her homebuilding license arrived. What makes this lack of oversight more dangerous is the new homebuilding industry is booming.

?They want to build these houses very quickly to make money and they hire subcontractors that actually have workers that are unskilled, ? said Agent Kuyl.

?When they were taking the stucco off the guy had a sledgehammer and he knocked a hole in the foundation because the foundation was only 2 inches thick, ? said Steve Peterson.

Centex Homes, the builder who now has subcontractors doing repairs on the Peterson home, issued this statement to Fox Undercover: ?Centex Homes has been working, and will continue to work, with Mr. and Mrs. Peterson to complete the remaining repairs in their home. ?

?We had to fight for months to get the simplest things done,? said Peterson.

The Arias say in their case what's wrong with Christine can't be fixed. She's a surgeon with hand tremors.

Jeff Cole : ?Will you work as a surgeon again??

?I don't think so I think its no, no I never will, it's wrecked my whole life.?

The attorney for the Arias' builder says Christine Aria "told" her doctor she was exposed

to carbon monoxide and that's why the doctor diagnosed carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Arias contend it was a "thorough" diagnosis that ruled out all other possibilities.

The New Jersey SCI will call a number of different builders to testify in July.

Shoddy new home construction is a problem region-wide. Fox29 undercover will continue to investigate in the months ahead. We have a special Homewrecked tip line: 215-928-3535.


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