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June 3, 2005

McCreary Homes Causes a Bankruptcy

Because we believe in the power of the truth, we want to share with all of you some of what has happened in our family since we began this website 18 months ago. We are gratified by the number of people who have visited our site. As of yesterday the site has been viewed by 27,393 unique IP adresses for a total of 854,599 page hits. It speaks to the power of the Internet and also to the depth of the problems in the building industry. The problem in Arizona is particularly discouraging. SAHBA (Southern Arizona Home Builders Association) is very active in lobbying for legislation and there is no one who speaks up for the home buyer. We know that so much remains to be done. To this end we are in the process of becoming an Arizona representative for HADD (Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings) and we will continue to fight for the rights of the average homeowner against the powerful lobbies of builders, developers and their organizations. It is, and always has been, our goal to prevent another family from experiencing the devastation that shoddy construction brings.

The devastation that McCreary Homes brought to us continues. Earlier this year we were forced to file for personal bankruptcy. It was an incredibly painful moment and one we “never in a million years” would have anticipated. The combination of paying the mortgage for our defective home, paying the lawyers for the lawsuit, three kids in college and sudden and drastic forced pay cuts took their toll. It is particularly frustrating that when the pay cuts occurred, if our house had been built correctly we could have placed it on the market, sold it and downsized. As it was, no realtor would touch the house because of the defects, the mortgage company would not help us and the lawyer's bills kept mounting. We had already depleted our savings buying the house and fighting the lawsuit. The pay cuts left us unable to meet our obligations and we were being sued for the deficiency on the mortgage. After an appraisal in December of 2001, our bank determined that if the house were defect free, it would be worth $810,000. It sold for $255,000! Our deficiency was over $400,000. We could have afforded the house or the lawsuit but not both together. In a worse case scenario, if our home had been built correctly, we could have avoided bankruptcy by selling the house and downsizing.

So after working our butts off for more than 20 years, we are starting over. It has been a devastating time and as if the pay cuts weren't enough, it was announced shortly befor we filed bankruptcy that our promised pension plan was to be terminated. Terrible things happen and everyone faces some kind of adversity. Ours has been particularly hard to swallow as we did nothing wrong. We hope we will survive; but we will not stop fighting the industry and laws that make it possible for a shoddy builder to destroy the lives of innocent families. So much for family values! The problem goes much deeper than just our home. It goes to the legal system – not the justice system because you can't call it justice when the truth doesn't matter.

It goes to the fairness and justice of a system that allows a shoddy builder to pay a small amount in builders risk insurance to his insurance company to fight the innocent homeowner over his poor workmanship. It goes to Homebuilders Associations that cover up what these builders do and push for laws that make it more difficult for the homeowner to fight. It goes to the media who rely on builders, developers and real estate agents advertising dollars to the point that exposing the fraud and injustice conflicts with the ethics of Journalism and the dollar wins. It goes to the apathy in the electorate who don't pay attention to what their elected officials do in the legislature. It all comes down to fairness and justice. We continue to hope that one day we will find both. If not – we hope that our fight will benefit one of you.

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