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Building influence

Here’s an interesting article from the This Week section of the Chron regarding an acrimonious and public battle between a disgruntled homebuyer named Jordan Fogal and the builder who constructed her house, Tremont Homes. The basics of the feud involve claims of defects with the house, a demand to have it bought back by Tremont, and a refusal to use binding arbitration, which is a standard part of most new-home contracts. I’m in no position to judge who’s right and who’s wrong, but I think the following illustrates pretty clearly why many people don’t trust the arbitration process, and why I have a fair bit of sympathy for them.

[William S. Chesney, III, a lawyer for Tremont] said groups like [Homeowners for Better Building, or HOBB] have a skewed view of the arbitration process and in doing so, convince people like [Jordan] Fogal that what they need to do is force builders into buying back a home instead of getting to the bottom of the problem and fixing it.

“It’s customary, if not exclusive, to have arbitration provisions both for homeowners and builders to get quicker and more expedient resolutions to what would otherwise be a 2-3 year court process,” Chesney said. “HOBB thinks 12 people on a jury is better than an independent arbitrator. (Fogal) found HOBB, and HOBB said, ‘This is the position you need to take,’ so she did.

“When she started having some problems, she quickly went to ‘buy back my $360,000 house.’ ”

Said [Charles Turet, another lawyer for Stature and Tremont], “HOBB likes the emotion of 12 people who don’t have any real knowledge of the situation over an impartial arbitrator who isn’t going to be swayed by the emotional argument and is just going to look at facts and determine the best and easiest way to solve the situation.”

Turet, along with being a lawyer for Tremont and Stature, is also an arbitrator for [American Arbitrators Association, or AAA].

Let’s start with the baseless attack on civil juries, something that I’ve noted before. Just once, I’d like to see a reporter ask someone who offers such an opinion if they hold similar feelings about juries in criminal trials. It’s not as if prosecutors haven’t played on the odd emotion or two in search of convictions, yet somehow no one credible seems to think that we ought to scrap that system in favor of judge-only trials. Attacking juries like this is cynical, dishonest, and really quite insulting, since after all everyone reading this is a potential juror. That this now seems to be a standard talking point for the homebuilding industry certainly doesn’t give me any faith in their preferred system of arbitration.

But what really gets me is the last quoted sentence. The lawyer for the builders is also an arbitrator for the AAA, which is the group used to rule on these builder/buyer disputes. If you were brought up on criminal charges, how much faith would you have in getting a fair trial if the judge were an assistant district attorney? Yet here we have an attorney for the homebuilders who also rules on disputes involving homebuilders. Why should anyone outside the industry have any reason to trust this? Remember, restricting access to the courts is something that builders have actively lobbied for, and one of the extra rewards they got for their efforts (and campaign contributions) was a seat on the Texas Residential Construction Commission, the governing body that sets the rules for how these disputes get resolved (see here and here). So again I ask, why should anyone trust this?

As I said, for all I know in this particular instance, the buyer has been irrational and the builder has acted in good faith every step of the way. Without knowing for sure that that’s the case, though, it’s hard for me to sympathize with the builder.

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17 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    There’s a sign in a store window next to Silverlust (across the street from Tremont Towers) about Tremont’s bad practices. The person we talked to about it said that Tremont had, allegedly, acted in bad faith and there was an undisclosed toxic mold infestation.

    Tremont is on my “check carefully” list if they’ve been involved with any place we’re looking at when we come back.

  2. Texas Nate says:

    Campaigns for People has a pretty eye opening report on the legislation that created this mess and just how much the homebuilders paid for it.

  3. chris says:

    I am very distrustful of the arbitration process. It seems that every contract one enters into nowadays has some binding arbitration clause and agreeing to it, one signs away most rights to the legal process.

  4. Charles Hixon says:

    The Chronicle receives a significant amount of revenue from advertising by homebuilders and an insignificant amount of revenue from subscriptions by homeowners. Although the Chronicle revels in discovering and reporting the political influence groups have on our elected officials (assuming of course no conflict of interest within the newspaper business), they distrust blogs (Houston Chronicle Editoral Journal / Notes on Blogs / Trying the hot medium, Jan 15, 2005 by James Howard Gibbons) which give citizens the opportunity to highlight the same influence peddling practiced at the Chronicle.

  5. Mathwiz says:

    Theoretically, binding arbitration can be a good way to settle disputes, if both parties are on relatively equal footing (i.e., they jointly select the arbitration company, pay roughly equal shares of the fees, etc.) But in practice, the corporation does all this, then presents the individual consumer (or prospective employee) with a “take it or leave it” contract. Clearly in this case, the arbitration company is going to be heavily biased in favor of the corporation. After all, if they rule against the corporation too often, the corporation is going to hire a different arbitration company.

    In these cases, arbitration is the very definition of a conflict of interest and should be banned. Unfortunately, the courts have been moving in the opposite direction, even going so far as to enforce arbitration clauses in “contracts of adhesion” (i.e., you buy a product, take it home, open the box, and inside is a piece of paper binding you to arbitration if you have a warranty dispute or some such).

    Traditionally, courts have not enforced contracts of adhesion because there was no opportunity for mutual understanding of the terms of the contract. Would you be surprised to learn that the judges most likely to break with this longstanding common law precedent are Reagan and Bush appointees?

  6. Janet Ahmad says:

    Building influence – Outstanding comments!

  7. 'stina says:

    I don’t know who is right in the dispute, but those people are very upset. I drive past nearly every day, and someone’s always there with the big yellow signs warning people about buying from Tremont.

  8. Jordan Fogal says:

    Thank you for giving me the benefit of the doubt.

    The Houston Chronicle leaves out the fact, I had begged Tremont/Stature to fix my house for 29 months, before I said enough…. buy it back.
    They also state they can fix $150,000 worth of damage for 2 to 5 thousand that is typical, my neighbors’ was $46,000 and they offered her $4,000. Five others in my subdivision have hired a lawyers to help them and many others have water intrusion problems. This sort of thing happens to family after family in Texas. Thank you for helping get the word out. Jordan Fogal Houston Tx.

  9. M says:

    Tremont (as do some other builders) tend to squeeze their trades for the cheapest possible prices. Many times, these trades use substandard materials and labor to complete the jobs. These trades are usually uninsured. Is this why we hear no mention of insurance companies standing up to take care of these cases? Unfortunately, the old saying you get what you pay for is definitely true in construction – and by this I am referring to the builder definitely not the homeowner. One last thought – I wonder how many of the trades were paid in full by Tremont, Stature, etc.

  10. Jordan says:

    Since this posted we had to evacuate our house

    It went into foreclsure

    no one would bid on it

    it apprased at $408,000 the day we bought it in 2002 NEW.

    Century 21 excel has it listed with no defects…because here in Texas if a house goes though foreclosure it is the new buyers responsibilty.. Buyer Better Dam Sure Beware.And it is listed for $294,000. I have repair estimates for $180,000.

    My builder has a lawsuit in Judge McCorkles court suing the roofer and the subcontractors for all the defects in my subdivison all 44 of them they admit they knew it and sold them anyway.

    They have at least 30 companies and
    One director,agent/ employee is being sentened for federal charges March 10,2006.

    General Partners include:

    Jorge Casimiro, on our Harris county housing authority

    Thomas P. Thibodeau

    Armad Al Bana

    Where does that leave us.

    Living in an apartment…

    In court, in front of Judge Kent Sullivan for the fourth time Tuesday the 7th of Feb 2006 at 9Am to see if the builder can get the judge to compel me back into arbitration again.

    Come join us,
    watch first hand…. justice in action.

    But after 3 years dealing with these builders,their lawyers and the apathy and lies…please don’t tell me how great arbitration is and do not say TRCC….I have been though both and I have very strong opinons on both…

    The laws of texas are against you…

  11. Jordan Fogal says:

    “Might wins over right”, in Judge Sullivan’s court, in Houston and in arbitration.

    It is amazing to seek justice and be so shocked by the system. The majority have no seventh amendment rights.

    The repeat offenders, like our builders made the “non-profit”, American Arbitration Ass. over 83 Million in revenues in 2003.

    My builder Stature/Tremont/Carlisle/ University or who ever they are calling themselves this week, have sued their insurance carrier for our subdivsion Hydepark.

    Jorge Casimiro testifies under oath and on video that the houses have defected roofs that lead to water penatration into the interior: causing damage to the plumming, electrical, studs, carpet, hardwood floors and the dry wall…this man is on the Harris county housing authority appointed by Judge Robert Eckels his freind of thirty years.

    Mr Casimiro sold most of these houses after he learned of his and his companies nelgence. He then did what he has profited from so well. ,he dumped them on innocent homebuyers. This was the Hyde park Subdivision off Waugh. There are files in open court where you can go read about the unblievable defects each listed by their town home unit numbers. Mr Casimiro, Thomas Thibodeau and Armad Al Banna are the not so responsible,”builders”, of not only this disaster but Tremont Towers, and others stretching from Spring to the heights.

    These homes cheaply thrown up, my these renegade builders will not make the historical register. These homes will not create happy memories for famiies in Houston.

    Yet, NO one will step forward and stop this fraud on the citizens of Houston.
    I though before all this, America was of the people, by the people and for the people, ….not one nation under the dollar with liberty and justice for the rich.

    Where is our consumer protection? The Better business Bureau has thrown them out.

    The attorney general turns a blind eye thus giving them a thumbs up. This charade is unbleivable, unconscionable and unforgivable.

  12. Jordan Fogal says:

    Arbitration: The privatization of the American justices system.

    Do you think arbitration laws do not apply or concern you? Do you have a new home, a car, visa, master card, discover card, american express, storage room, cellular phone, or have signed any kind of contracts, then you are bound by arbitration. You no longer have seventh amendment rights.

    Most people do not realize these seemingly insignificant leaflets in there bills, are not privacy act nonsense or marketing offers. These little, well written legalese flyers are informing you … that by continuation of services, you have just given up your right to a trial by jury and access to the courts

    Because jackpot justice and lawsuit abuse needed to be contained, big business saw it’s opportunity. Using this as it’s madra, big business has taken over consumers lives with the ease of a stealth bomber. Frivolous lawsuits stop being frivolous when they happen to you.

    Consumers were spoon fed an egregious spin on the arbitration process. Torte refrom/arbitration was going to: free up the courts, lower insurance rates and be faster and cheaper. Have you noticed how none of these things happened? Big business now has a built in clause to protect them from any responsibility.

    No where is the public informed that most cannot afford arbitration. The costs are astronomical. Private companies like the American Arbitration Association, (AAA) now have complete and unrelenting power over every facet of citizens lives. No longer can consumers avail themselves of the court system, a system they pay for in their taxes. Subterfuge, half truths and lies abound when trying to get straight answers about arbitration. Can you afford fifty to a hundred thousand dollars to protect yourself? Most consumers can’t … big business knows this and uses it to their decided advantage.

    In arbitration the rules of law do not apply. It is a secret kangaroo court held behind closed doors. No media is allowed. Most victims of arbitration come out in shock, many are under gag orders, referred to as secrecy agreements. Consumers are lambs to the slaughter and clueless when they meet this big bad wolf.

    In arbitration the burden of proof is on the consumer. Consumers must pay for an attorney, expert testimony, case service fees, filing fees, arbitrators fees (sometimes up to $3000 dollars a day) and even the rental on the room and the stenographer. If you do not have the ready cash… you will be ask to provide your credit card information ….so they can charge to your account as costs accrue. Then you can be paying off arbitration fees forever. With the new bankruptcy laws that protect big business and the rich, consumers can no longer get relief there either.

    Consumers who study the arbitration process learn quickly not to file. This sets up the
    win-win for the perpetrator. They also know if you complain to loudly they can threaten to file on you. You will never be free of this insidious clause. Consumers are trapped by any dispute rising from claims, past, present or future. In arbitration even blatant, fraudulent activities are protected.

    Big business has the arbitration system down pat. Their legal teams, lobbyist, arbitrators and wealthy cohorts protect each other. These businesses are the repeat clients of the arbitrators and AAA, this alone comprises fairness. Most consumers, after arbitration find themselves in bankruptcy, foreclosure and emotionally as well as financially devastated. They won’t be repeat customers.

    We have been in arbitration and speak from first hand experience. The courts uphold arbitration decisions. There is no appeal. Until the public becomes aware and educated this privatization of the legal system will continue.
    We the people are the collateral damage of torte reform. Jordan Fogal

    [email protected] 3003 Memorial Court #2402 Houston, Tx 77007

  13. Jordan Fogal says:

    Arbitration: The privatization of the American justices system.

    Do you think arbitration laws do not apply or concern you? Do you have a new home, a car, visa, master card, discover card, american express, storage room, cellular phone, or have signed any kind of contracts, then you are bound by arbitration. You no longer have seventh amendment rights.

    Most people do not realize these seemingly insignificant leaflets in there bills, are not privacy act nonsense or marketing offers. These little, well written legalese flyers are informing you … that by continuation of services, you have just given up your right to a trial by jury and access to the courts

    Because jackpot justice and lawsuit abuse needed to be contained, big business saw it’s opportunity. Using this as it’s madra, big business has taken over consumers lives with the ease of a stealth bomber. Frivolous lawsuits stop being frivolous when they happen to you.

    Consumers were spoon fed an egregious spin on the arbitration process. Torte refrom/arbitration was going to: free up the courts, lower insurance rates and be faster and cheaper. Have you noticed how none of these things happened? Big business now has a built in clause to protect them from any responsibility.

    No where is the public informed that most cannot afford arbitration. The costs are astronomical. Private companies like the American Arbitration Association, (AAA) now have complete and unrelenting power over every facet of citizens lives. No longer can consumers avail themselves of the court system, a system they pay for in their taxes. Subterfuge, half truths and lies abound when trying to get straight answers about arbitration. Can you afford fifty to a hundred thousand dollars to protect yourself? Most consumers can’t … big business knows this and uses it to their decided advantage.

    In arbitration the rules of law do not apply. It is a secret kangaroo court held behind closed doors. No media is allowed. Most victims of arbitration come out in shock, many are under gag orders, referred to as secrecy agreements. Consumers are lambs to the slaughter and clueless when they meet this big bad wolf.

    In arbitration the burden of proof is on the consumer. Consumers must pay for an attorney, expert testimony, case service fees, filing fees, arbitrators fees (sometimes up to $3000 dollars a day) and even the rental on the room and the stenographer. If you do not have the ready cash… you will be ask to provide your credit card information ….so they can charge to your account as costs accrue. Then you can be paying off arbitration fees forever. With the new bankruptcy laws that protect big business and the rich, consumers can no longer get relief there either.

    Consumers who study the arbitration process learn quickly not to file. This sets up the
    win-win for the perpetrator. They also know if you complain to loudly they can threaten to file on you. You will never be free of this insidious clause. Consumers are trapped by any dispute rising from claims, past, present or future. In arbitration even blatant, fraudulent activities are protected.

    Big business has the arbitration system down pat. Their legal teams, lobbyist, arbitrators and wealthy cohorts protect each other. These businesses are the repeat clients of the arbitrators and AAA, this alone comprises fairness. Most consumers, after arbitration find themselves in bankruptcy, foreclosure and emotionally as well as financially devastated. They won’t be repeat customers.

    We have been in arbitration and speak from first hand experience. The courts uphold arbitration decisions. There is no appeal. Until the public becomes aware and educated this privatization of the legal system will continue.
    We the people are the collateral damage of torte reform. Jordan Fogal

    [email protected] 3003 Memorial Court #2402 Houston, Tx 77007

  14. Jordan Fogal says:

    Since my last post in July :

    We were ordered back into arbitration again,( after being dismissed the first time by AAA)… by Judge Kent Sullivan.

    This proves builders do not intend to let you have access to the courts period… even if you go though arbitration. Seventh Amendment rights are a thing of the past.

    We are now hostige in the AAA process… compelled by the court to pay all fees and file a counter claim….against the claim the builder filed on us.

    We are under court order to complete the process by October the first.

    We have written over $8000. dollars worth of checks so far, for this privledge….
    Including: room rent, arbitrators’ fees, filing fees, case management fees…now we have to pay for the stenographer, expert witnesses and legal fees…. and if the process lasts longer than two days… The judge and AAA and the builder will expect us to pull out our check book again or AAA will except our credit card information and charge the rest to us.

    The paper work alone is unbelievable.

    The builder has secretaries and paralegals..he has forms from all the previous and on going cases.

    The victim has nothing but pages of directives that must be followed because the court has ordered it so.

    Courage consists not in hazarding without fear.but resolutly minded in a just cause.
    Plutarch.

    We have never doubted we are fighting for a just cause.

    My husband and I ask for your prayers:
    our arbiration dates are set now for the 21st and 22nd of September. Hopefully, justice will finally prevale.

  15. Jordan Fogal says:

    The never ending story.

    Arbitration From the prefix ar- to arrive and traitor-to betray anothers trust

    My husband and I are still in the arbitration process. We have been having depositions, preparing documents, time lines…many going back to April of 2002, and getting all ready for discovery. It is a monumental task. As the builder and AAA, the American Arbitration Association know. It is also cost prohibitive … no matter what kind of spin they try to put on arbitration …as being cheaper than court, my husband and I write the checks we know better.

    This is why most new home owners with defective houses, repair their own homes … even though they have warranty papers, (slick booklets that are enclosed in the decorative folder they are handed in exchange for their check).

    If their defects are extensive they are forced into foreclosure and many into bankruptcy.
    (Houston’s foreclosures have more than doubled in one year and the numbers are not accurate.)

    Arbitration: Is the privatization of the “justice” system that is the protection of bad builders.It assists shoddy builders, with bulging pockets, preying on the public. It is easy to see why all the adds, for new homes and the multitude of thrown up housing is so rampant. There is no protection for the purchaser. You are paying for eye candy, these houses will never make the historical register.

    So far we have paid over $10,000 dollars in arbitration costs for the privilege of being made homeless in Houston, and this is just the beginning. New home buyers are surpose to buy and shut up. And you had better shut up or under the new laws you are considered a “dispute” and will be dealt with accordingly by the builders, their lawyers and if necessary the Arbitration process.

    The Process You are not going to be a repeat offender in AAA. You will be broke after one visit. The builders will be back . Now, ask yourself … if you were an arbitrator would you rule against your continuous meal ticket or against one poor homeowner who will probably never be able to afford another home in their lifetime? Do you think if perhaps the arbitrator ruled in favor of a new homeowner that they would be chosen by the builder as an arbitrator ever again? Do you know that law firms like the one defending my builder have a AAA arbitrator in the firm. Do you think if you go to AAA and get our builder’s AAA arbitrator…. he will rule against his biggest client and in YOUR favor? These are just thoughts I ponder.

    Tort Reform My husband and are seeing how tort reform really works, up close and personal. I refer to tort reform as the deformed privatization of the justice system. The system that continues to favor big business. We the people, are forced to conform and be the collateral damage of tort reform. Big builders employ big law firms, pricey lawyers, lawyers the majority of us could never afford. Lawyers that have become proficient in this tort refrom/arbitration process….because they get so much practice.

    .
    Protection for the homebuyers There is no protection for the homebuyers. If he buys a defective home with a bad roofs, water intrusion, buckling floors, leaking windows installed upside down, mold, pluming that is not connected or cracked foundations it is truly a buyer beware market and a buyer be dammed situation.

    No one will help you. You will however be referred , referred to an unbelievable anomaly of acronyms. Acronyms that have tried this one woman’s’ soul: DTPA, AAA, BBB, TRCC, SIRP, RCLA, the DA, and the AG.
    After none of these abbreviations help you, you are told to go to your city council, the mayor, to Austin, to the legislature, your representatives, your senators and your congressmen and congresswomen.
    Lewis Carol’s imaginary rabbit hole. Everyone passes the buck, and it is your buck.

    Not one of these agencies or representatives will take action, give you a straight answer or guidance … they will however pat you on the head and give you a raft of papers to occupy your time. They will also provide you with a list of the fees for their non services and insincerity and send you some where else. I was even sent to the health department and they were the nicest of all. They at least offered to find us temporary housing.

    We were filed on in arbitration last year by a notoriously bad builder Tremont/Stature. After 8 months we were dismissed … only to find out we still had not earned our seventh amendment rights back … and still did not have the right to sue. We were compelled back into arbitration, again …and back in arbitration is where we find ourselves today. Even with the over whelming evidence in our own builders words of his admitted fraud the burden of proof is on us.

    The date for the culmination of this cunning, criminal activity will be September 21.2006. For your information and possible education I hope you will follow our case. If you are planning to buy a new home in Houston realize you may be the next victim. Our numbers are increasing at an alarming rate.

    In a case pending in the courts #2003-16820… Stature Construction Company, our builder’s CEO, Jorge L. Casimiro states, under oath about our subdivision Hydepark

    “project damage includes roofing systems…resulting in water damage,penetration to interior of the units, the interior units damage includes sheet rock, insulation, wall studding, electrical wiring and boxes, pluming, A/C duck work, flooring…both hard wood and carpet and interior painting.”

    Yet, unbelievable as it sounds … the burden of proof is on us, the homebuyers … and at our expense. We have to prove what the builder has already admitted and has documented expert testimony.

    ( Mr. Casimiro is on the Harris County Housing Authority to assist with the building of homes for the poor and the elderly) He was appointed by long time friend Judge Robert Eckels. Judge Eckels is aware of Mr. Casimiro’s continued transgressions.)

    The city of Houston inspected these houses? Are these inspections like drive-bys? We are senior citizens we wanted to buy a new home so we wouldn’t be bothered with repairs things wearing out, breaking.and constant upkeep. We could never have imagined the first night in our new home, when my husband pulled the drain in our new garden Jacuzzi tub, that 100 gallons of water would come crashing though our dining room ceiling and flood the living room and dinning room then seep though the hardwood floors and flood the garage below. We had no way of knowing this was just previews of coming attractions…for the next 29 months.

    Everyone wants their own home. We are senior citizens and we earned ours. My husband is seventy-one years old. We continue to live in an apartment. Our things are in storage while we continue to spend our days tormented by the same people who made us homeless.

    Jordan Fogal 713-802-9727
    3003 Memorial Court Apt #2407
    Houston, Texas 77007
    .
    Please google my name, Jordan Fogal for national articles and media written on the travesty of justice occurring in Houston. Thank you.

  16. Jordan Fogal says:

    All the recent foreclosures and no one mentions the reasons many of us find ourselves homeless?

    and now for the rest of the story…..

    Are you sure your new home is protected? Are you sure your family, will not join the growing ranks of the homeless? Are you sure you understand arbitration and tort reform? Are you sure that the American Arbitration Association, hasn’t stealthily already entered every phase of your life? Do you think you still have the right to a trial by a jury? Do you still think you can sue anyone who wrongs you? Do you still think frivolous lawsuits are those that happen to other people? Do you tire hearing any more about big business flagrantly squashing your rights? Do your eyes glaze over and your mind shut down when you hear all these things? Are you bored by this rhetoric? Is it all just to complicated for you to understand? I understand.

    But, please read on. Because you have been majority deluded, confused and overwhelmed … just so these things will slip right by unnoticed.

    If you have a new home, new car, a car lease, a Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover card, bank account, a cell phone, a storage room, electricity or even an exterminator. YOU have given up your seventh Amendment rights. You have given up your seventh amendment rights, you cannot sue any of these people. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Well, call any of them and ask if you have an arbitration clause in your contract with them … because you do.

    We are bombard daily, with harassing telemarketers, a mailbox full of trash offers and clutter … our bills are stuffed with slick adds and offers. We don’t have time to read all this junk….. And there in lies the problem. Big Business knows you don’t. We are the new hurried, fast food, drive by cleaners generation, the multi taskers…. with more on our plates than we can handle. So big business has used your over burdened life style to their distinct advantage. You are screwed. Those little offers or things you think are privacy propaganda, in your bills, they aren’t, they say “if you continue to use our services and do not pay off your account immediately you are now accepted the following terms…..You have now accepted arbitration … and you didn’t even read it.

    Not one person in this country, is not bound by an arbitration clause and the shocking part of it … most don’t even know it. But you will, when you become one of the enlightened and destroyed. And believe me you do not want to be.

    Ignorance is bliss … and you can remain blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking, that threaten you, your family, your home and your livelihood. But when it hits you, it will be, a rude awakening … like a two by four right between the eyes. AM I am trying to scare you? You bet I am. Because many of us do not have the time to watch fear factor, we live it daily. And, you may have just signed on for a guest appearance.

    Take your home for instance. You made your down payment. You make your payments on time, you paid your property tax, you have homeowners insurance. Your investment is safe. You are living the American dream. Not so Kimosabie. You have rolled the dice with your future, put all your money on the pass line, and you weren’t even aware you were gambling.

    Example: You have a lovely new home, all decorated, a manicured lawn, a place for your stuff, and somewhere to come home to. But what happens if you start having problems with that new house? You just call your builder for repairs right? What if he doesn’t answer your phone calls, faxes, or emails. What if the problem continues to worsen … as you try to get him to live up to his moral, and ethical responsibilities. You say well I have a contract. And you do.

    Now….. you will take the time to read, all that raft of papers that were shoved at you at closing. Uh oh…earnest money contract, arbitration clause. Closing papers arbitration clause…warranty papers arbitration clause.

    Your foundation is cracking, your walls have lines that weren’t there before, the carpet is damp and your house is taking on a musty smell. Your children begin to be ill and Fido’s’ hair falls out. What are you going to do? Your wife is frantic. She is calling neighbors, many experiencing the same sort of problems. Many do not want to admit it and “patch up and dump.” Some will get by with it, until the new owner sues them. Yes, the new owner can sue you, just can’t sue your big builder. Big business, little business that is how tort reform works.

    And yes, you all paid to have your house inspected and had a relator and you called them all. You can start at the governor’s office and they will refer you into a vortex of time-consuming, catch 22’s that will make you crazy. You will end up lastly at the Heath department. They can try to help you find temporary housing … soon, or maybe later….if you qualify and of course fill out the paper work.

    You have now filled out paper work for every agency in the state. You stay up all night filling out this waste of time. Then bleary eyed drag yourself to your day job. No one understands. They think you are a real putz and offer you their lawyer’s phone number…thinking you just are not smart enough to handle your own affairs. Little do they know…yet.

    They think they are not in any danger…and that you just do not understand how to hand these things.

    You call you insurance company…you know that agency that has you safe in their out stretched hands. That agency you pay those hefty premiums to each month. Guess what, substandard construction and builder defects are not covered items.

    You are on the phone with your lawyer, he has looked over your papers, and informs you, YOU cannot sue your builder, you have signed an arbitration clause.

    You say, well lets arbitrate … it is faster and cheaper and my house is deteriorating as we speak, my investment is being destroyed. He really doesn’t want the case, but will take it for a substantial upfront fee. He knows neither of you are going to be happy with the outcome, so he gets his upfront. Many of these legal eagles also have arbitration clauses in their own contracts. The contract you must sign to have legal representation. And you have to have a lawyer no matter what AAA arbitration tells you.

    Your shower falls out. Black puffy balls are growing out of your carpet. Your windows are leaking, your hardwoods have begun to buckle, the children are sick, their eyes are all red, they have constant sore throats, you are having migraines you think from all the stress, your wife is crying, and her nose is bleeding …and your cat just died. ( Am I Exaggerating … No unfortunately, I am not.) I am just reliving part of what happened in our neighborhood, compliments of our greedy, unethical, unscrupulous builder. He sold us our homes after filing a lawsuit against the roofer and subcontractors with no disclosure. Yes, I said, he sued … the big boys still have the right to sue, this only applies to you and me, the little guys.

    Arbitration is great protection for the mass builder. First, most of you can’t afford it and second if you can roll out 30 to 100,000 dollars it is still an unfair playing field. The builders team of high priced, sleazy prostitutes can make chopped liver of you in short order. They do this for a living. In our case, one of the builders’ law partners, was/is also a AAA arbitrator. You want him to rule on your case?

    Why didn’t you repair your own house?

    First you didn’t think that was your responsibility, it was the builders. Second you had no idea the amount of damage and third, when you found out how many thousands of dollars it would cost … you couldn’t afford it.

    You hadn’t planned on the down payment, the new drapes, the new lawn mower and then repairs? TO A BRAND NEW HOUSE! Did you figure an extra 20 to 150 thousand for that in your budget? Like us, you probably bought a new home so repairs would not be an issue.

    Well, guess what else you can’t afford? You can’t afford arbitration. Nobody tells you what it costs. The American Arbitration Association will not even give you a total cost, but if you can’t afford it … they will be more than happy to send you a form that authorizes them to just charge all their monstrous fees as they occur, on to your credit cards. How ever many it takes. Do I have you attention now? Do you think you have entered the twilight zone. Well, welcome to our world.

    Homeless in Houston

    Jordan Fogal Please google my name for more information or check out HADD.org or HOBB.org, tort deform

    3003 Memorial Court #2407 Houston Texas 77007

    7138029727

  17. Jordan Fogal says:

    Fear Factor…..and now for the rest of the story…..
    Are you sure your new home is protected? Are you sure your family, will not join the growing ranks of the homeless? Are you sure you understand arbitration and tort reform? Are you sure that the American Arbitration Association, hasn’t stealthily already entered every phase of your life? Do you think you still have the right to a trial by a jury? Do you still think you can sue anyone who wrongs you? Do you still think frivolous lawsuits are those that happen to other people? Do you tire hearing any more about big business flagrantly squashing your rights? Do your eyes glaze over and your mind shut down when you hear all these things? Are you bored by this rhetoric? Is it all just to complicated for you to understand? I understand.

    But, please read on. Because you have been majority deluded, confused and overwhelmed … just so these things will slip right by unnoticed.

    If you have a new home, new car, a car lease, a Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover card, bank account, a cell phone, a storage room, electricity or even an exterminator. YOU have given up your seventh Amendment rights. You have given up your seventh amendment rights, you cannot sue any of these people. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Well, call any of them and ask if you have an arbitration clause in your contract with them … because you do.

    We are bombard daily, with harassing telemarketers, a mailbox full of trash offers and clutter … our bills are stuffed with slick adds and offers. We don’t have time to read all this junk….. And there in lies the problem. Big Business knows you don’t. We are the new hurried, fast food, drive by cleaners generation, the multi taskers…. with more on our plates than we can handle. So big business has used your over burdened life style to their distinct advantage. You are screwed. Those little offers or things you think are privacy propaganda, in your bills, they aren’t, they say “if you continue to use our services and do not pay off your account immediately you are now accepted the following terms…..You have now accepted arbitration … and you didn’t even read it.

    Not one person in this country, is not bound by an arbitration clause and the shocking part of it … most don’t even know it. But you will, when you become one of the enlightened and destroyed. And believe me you do not want to be.

    Ignorance is bliss … and you can remain blissfully unaware of the dangers lurking, that threaten you, your family, your home and your livelihood. But when it hits you, it will be, a rude awakening … like a two by four right between the eyes. AM I am trying to scare you? You bet I am. Because many of us do not have the time to watch fear factor, we live it daily. And, you may have just signed on for a guest appearance.

    Take your home for instance. You made your down payment. You make your payments on time, you paid your property tax, you have homeowners insurance. Your investment is safe. You are living the American dream. Not so Kimosabie. You have rolled the dice with your future, put all your money on the pass line, and you weren’t even aware you were gambling.

    Example: You have a lovely new home, all decorated, a manicured lawn, a place for your stuff, and somewhere to come home to. But what happens if you start having problems with that new house? You just call your builder for repairs right? What if he doesn’t answer your phone calls, faxes, or emails. What if the problem continues to worsen … as you try to get him to live up to his moral, and ethical responsibilities. You say well I have a contract. And you do.

    Now….. you will take the time to read, all that raft of papers that were shoved at you at closing. Uh oh…earnest money contract, arbitration clause. Closing papers arbitration clause…warranty papers arbitration clause.

    Your foundation is cracking, your walls have lines that weren’t there before, the carpet is damp and your house is taking on a musty smell. Your children begin to be ill and Fido’s’ hair falls out. What are you going to do? Your wife is frantic. She is calling neighbors, many experiencing the same sort of problems. Many do not want to admit it and “patch up and dump.” Some will get by with it, until the new owner sues them. Yes, the new owner can sue you, just can’t sue your big builder. Big business, little business that is how tort reform works.

    And yes, you all paid to have your house inspected and had a relator and you called them all. You can start at the governor’s office and they will refer you into a vortex of time-consuming, catch 22’s that will make you crazy. You will end up lastly at the Heath department. They can try to help you find temporary housing … soon, or maybe later….if you qualify and of course fill out the paper work.

    You have now filled out paper work for every agency in the state. You stay up all night filling out this waste of time. Then bleary eyed drag yourself to your day job. No one understands. They think you are a real putz and offer you their lawyer’s phone number…thinking you just are not smart enough to handle your own affairs. Little do they know…yet.

    They think they are not in any danger…and that you just do not understand how to hand these things.

    You call you insurance company…you know that agency that has you safe in their out stretched hands. That agency you pay those hefty premiums to each month. Guess what, substandard construction and builder defects are not covered items.

    You are on the phone with your lawyer, he has looked over your papers, and informs you, YOU cannot sue your builder, you have signed an arbitration clause.

    You say, well lets arbitrate … it is faster and cheaper and my house is deteriorating as we speak, my investment is being destroyed. He really doesn’t want the case, but will take it for a substantial upfront fee. He knows neither of you are going to be happy with the outcome, so he gets his upfront. Many of these legal eagles also have arbitration clauses in their own contracts. The contract you must sign to have legal representation. And you have to have a lawyer no matter what AAA arbitration tells you.

    Your shower falls out. Black puffy balls are growing out of your carpet. Your windows are leaking, your hardwoods have begun to buckle, the children are sick, their eyes are all red, they have constant sore throats, you are having migraines you think from all the stress, your wife is crying, and her nose is bleeding …and your cat just died. ( Am I Exaggerating … No unfortunately, I am not.) I am just reliving part of what happened in our neighborhood, compliments of our greedy, unethical, unscrupulous builder. He sold us our homes after filing a lawsuit against the roofer and subcontractors with no disclosure. Yes, I said, he sued … the big boys still have the right to sue, this only applies to you and me, the little guys.

    Arbitration is great protection for the mass builder. First, most of you can’t afford it and second if you can roll out 30 to 100,000 dollars it is still an unfair playing field. The builders team of high priced, sleazy prostitutes can make chopped liver of you in short order. They do this for a living. In our case, one of the builders’ law partners, was/is also a AAA arbitrator. You want him to rule on your case?

    Why didn’t you repair your own house?

    First you didn’t think that was your responsibility, it was the builders. Second you had no idea the amount of damage and third, when you found out how many thousands of dollars it would cost … you couldn’t afford it.

    You hadn’t planned on the down payment, the new drapes, the new lawn mower and then repairs? TO A BRAND NEW HOUSE! Did you figure an extra 20 to 150 thousand for that in your budget? Like us, you probably bought a new home so repairs would not be an issue.

    Well, guess what else you can’t afford? You can’t afford arbitration. Nobody tells you what it costs. The American Arbitration Association will not even give you a total cost, but if you can’t afford it … they will be more than happy to send you a form that authorizes them to just charge all their monstrous fees as they occur, on to your credit cards. How ever many it takes. Do I have you attention now? Do you think you have entered the twilight zone. Well, welcome to our world.

    Homeless in Houston

    Jordan Fogal Please google my name for more information or check out HADD.org or HOBB.org, or tort defrom

    3003 Memorial Court #2407 Houston Texas 77007

    7138029727