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Tremont Tower / Ignore customer complaints

1 United States Review updated:

Contractors From Hell - Not at the BBB!

People Magazine's May 30, 2005, edition awarded the dubious honor of being 'Contractors From Hell' to certain homebuilders, including one from San Antonio and one that is a former member of the Houston Better Business Bureau. The company, Tremont Homes, raised a red flag at the BBB when numerous reports from consumers alleging deceptive and substandard building practices began being filed with the dispute resolution department. The initial response by Tremont Homes was that they were not the builder; rather a company named Stature Construction was to blame. Given that response, the files were closed.

But the dogged determination of one of the consumers, Jordan Fogle, and her ability to connect the ownership of both Tremont Homes and Statute Construction gave the BBB cause to reopen the files and investigate further. That investigation led to the discovery that these same business owners are incorporated under at least 10 different business names, each affiliated with either the building or building management industry. Under their Membership Agreement with the BBB, they where required to mediate or arbitrate any claims or disputes through the Houston office. A hearing was scheduled and notices were sent to both parties.

Upon receipt of the notice, Tremont's attorneys weighed in and began to assert the same ownership and corporate shell game they had used as a defense before. In the eyes of the BBB, however, same ownership equals same ethical responsibility to resolve the consumer's complaints. That, plus the fact that even though they now insisted each incorporation was separate, each entity used the BBB seal under only one annual membership dues. Again, supporting the opinion of the BBB that ethically, these companies were accountable to answer the consumer's complaint.

Discussions ensued regarding the BBB's acceptance of the American Arbitration Association (AAA) as an 'approved' provider, per the wording of the Membership Agreement. It was pointed out to their legal counsel that: 1) any provider other than BBB must be approved at the time the contract is signed, not many years later at their convenience; and 2) the BBB would not approve AAA as a provider in this instance due to the overly-burdensome costs being charged to the consumer in this case. Therefore, Tremont was told to decide - either arbitrate through the BBB, or risk revocation of their membership.

Tremont failed to take the ethically correct route and chose to pursue their case through the AAA. Due process was followed at the BBB and they were ultimately revoked from the Bureau. The language on their BBB report reflects the same. Ms. Fogle continues to wage war with Tremont, only to find herself being personally sued for her troubles. Tremont has also sued another of their residents in Tremont Towers for painting lemons on her windows. Last report to this office indicated that the judge at that hearing commended her on her artwork.

People magazine offered this advice to its readership - Check references and contact your local Better Business Bureau. In following that advice, those prospective homebuyers that do will find out which are the Contractors from Hell and which are those to be trusted.

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Comments

  • Jo
      30th of Jan, 2007
    0 Votes

    Foreclosure means home. Foreclosure means family.

    Our story is in Washington Monthly, has appeared in People Magazine, under "Contractors from Hell," and a seven page expose in Mother Jones Magazine. Google Jordan Fogal for more information.

    Study: Texas riddled by foreclosures

    Austin Business Journal - January 26, 2007
    National foreclosure numbers are in, and they're not pretty.

    Texas finished 2006 with a total of 156,876 foreclosure filings -- the highest aggregate total of any state, according to a year-end report by foreclosure source RealtyTrac Inc.


    No one mentions some of the reasons for foreclosure, like bad builders, substandard construction, or arbitration clauses that protect bad builders even bad lenders. No one mentions we no longer have access to the courts. Or the ridiculous red tape stopping victims and protecting builders by the Texas Residential Construction Commission. The only reason for all these forecloses that is mentioned ... is just stupid people. Mostly poor and middle class hard working people, many first time homebuyers, and senior citizens like us. We had a 6% fixed morttgagee and we could afford our payments. We just couldn't afford the astronomical repaires to our new Tremont Home/ Stature Consturction Company uninhabitable dwelling. How many of us are out there?

    In the great state of Texas, are we going to believe that one out of very 51 Texans is just plain stupid? Or are we going to look for the truth. More importantly are we going to do something about it.

    This sickness in the economy is because of greed and crooks. Not stupid homebuyers and it has reached epidemic numbers and everyone except the FBI seems not to notice. There is so much mortgage fraud here in Houston, they have set up a special task force.

    "Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty. Without them we have no other fortification against being ridden like horses, fleeced like sheep, worked like cattle, and fed and clothed like swine. -John Adams 1774

    This quote was taken from the wonderful new book,

    Blockiing the court house door
    by Stephanie Mencimer

  • Jo
      27th of May, 2007
    0 Votes

    We had twelve bills that came before the legislature and 12 hours of testimony. Most of the testimony was personal stories about the bias and builder owned and operated agency, called the TRCC. Even those in the Attorney General's office call it by it's real name, "tricky". The head of the legislative affairs committee Rep Swinford, became incensed and angry at the mere mention of the investigation that was done on the TRCC by Comptroller Carol Strayhorn. Swinford said that she had no right to investigate the TRCC. He did not want the truth or the proven statistics... that were even admitted on TV by Duane Waddell the Deputy Director of the TRCC. The truth was not at issue in these proceedings. Only the protection of the builder owned agency and greedy builders. Now that the TRCC has proved so profitable for the state, it will forever be embraced. There were other bills with substance and meaning to homeowners and consumers that would have offer real protection. They were rejected. Representative Senfronia Thompson fought valiantly to get consumers as much protection as they had for their cars or at least their toasters. The legislators and the Senators when it reached the house showed how much they are concerned about the people who elected them. Senator Harris was dismissive rude and bored by the testimony of the tearful wife of a disabled veteran who had nearly given his life for his county. For two years, this veteran and his wife had been forced to live in deplorable conditions in their new home. His advise, to get a lawyer. When she tried to explain lawyers do not want to represent homeowners because they already know the outcome...The kind senator repeated himself, get a lawyer. The despicable representative of the people, then added in his slow Texas drawl, almost with a yawn, that it was getting late and all other comments were limited to 3 minutes. Representative Allan Ritter commented, that he can't imagine anybody that's defrauding, misappropriating funds, that's going to want to take court action to prove he didn't do it. Does the representative not even know what goes on in the building next door? The case of Bob Perry, of Perry Homes vs Cull is in the Supreme Court of Texas. Mr. and Mrs. Cull have been tied up in court and won all the way to the Texas Supreme Court for TEN years. Builders seem to find a way to court, while the homes they have dumped on good people go into foreclosure. Blame the foreclosure rates on sub-primes all you want, but those of us, who did not have sub-primes and are homeless, know the truth. This bill has so much spin we will be suffering vertigo until the 81st session. Really see how and who operates the TRCC. Google my name or go to HOBB.org. Jordan Fogal

  • Jo
      9th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5873676.html
    --
    Tremont Towe in Mortgage investigation by the FBI

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