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2007-05-07

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stories: searchasota.com

A small home builder in Punta Gorda, Florida, "Ideal Homes" has proven to be anything but (Couldn't resist). According to the southwest Florida Herald Tribune, Ideal Homes left about five homes incomplete, and was subsequently sold by its original owners. However, the old and new owners are now in a legal battle as to who is to blame.

The following account sums up the debacle, including the account of one of the would-be homeowners:

Meadow had planned to move to Florida to go into business and to build his retirement dream home, a 3,215-square-foot, three-bedroom house in Punta Gorda. But he is mired in the worst financial crisis of his life. He said he would file civil suits against Ideal but cannot afford the retainer. He does plan to file a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Meadow's house is only 70 percent complete. Ideal has five buildings worth about $3 million under construction in the city, with more than 54 liens attached to them, Cole said.

Ten of those liens, totaling $58,000, hit Meadow, who said he was unaware that Rossey and Oben had bought Ideal from Martin and Adamo. "I knew nothing about the sale," Meadow said.

Rossey has subsequently indicated that he is closing Ideal, and the new and former owners have filed lawsuits against each other. None of the partners could be reached for comment, but Thomas Valentine, Martin and Adamo's lawyer, blames the new owners for the problems.

After buying Ideal, the new owners took in $1.3 million without paying subcontractors or suppliers, Valentine said.

"They looted the company," he said.

Court records show that in Wisconsin, Rossey was a defendant in about 50 housing-related court cases since 1993.

If you have any updates on the Ideal Homes court case fiasco, feel free to let us know.

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Important: This company is on our list of builder operations that have "imploded" (see also ailing lenders). This is a somewhat subjective call, and does not necessarily mean total shutdown or bankruptcy. It can also mean steep and rapid declines in enterprise value; or abnormal "bail-out" by corporate parents or peers in order to continue to operate. The builders may be residential or commercial.