Veteran invests savings in dream house, company scams them
Our Alan Kasper sat down with a disabled veteran and his wife to hear how a dream house near Henderson begins to rot before they even move in.
HENDERSON, Texas – Building a home can be a stressful business, but when you’ve invested your savings in your family’s future and your builder leaves, it can be devastating.
CBS19’s Alan Kasper sat down with a disabled veteran and his wife to hear how a dream house near Henderson begins to rot before they even move in.
Chris Cormican: I was in the army for eight years, I toured Iraq, that’s where I was injured. I was in three separate IED incidents. My whole spine is messed up, I have brain injuries, I have shoulder injuries, knee injuries.
Rosemary Cormican: Nerve damage, PTSD.
Chris Cormican: Last year we decided we wanted to move to a more rural environment, something quieter. We started looking and found this piece of land that we fell in love with. The next step was to find a builder to build our house.
Rosemary Cormican: It’s hard when you’re not from the area trying to find a good one, but I relied on the reviews and talked to this company for several weeks and felt like it used to be an honest, trustworthy, reputable company.
Chris Cormican: We signed the contract in December. On May 28, it was on the contract that the house would be finished by now – immediately we started having problems. Part was weather related, but part was administration.
Rosemary Cormican: The foundation didn’t fall until April, so there was a gap of about four months, and then the framing didn’t start until May. At the beginning of May … the framing was actually progressing quite quickly. We were really excited to think the house was going to be really quick. After that we started to be contacted by the builder saying they needed more money.
Chris Cormican: The cost of materials went up because of everything that was going on. So they told us the way to save money was to buy the materials before their price continued to rise and store them in a rented warehouse, so they asked for a decent amount of money from up front, a few hundred thousand dollars. This is our first time building a house so we thought maybe it was a good idea and gave them the money they asked for. I found out later that they had never rented the warehouse, that they had never bought the materials in advance and before we knew it they came back asking for more money and the framing. was not even finished yet.
Rosemary Cormican: When I asked them where the money we had given them was, they said it was all there [spent on the materials used to build the house up to that point]. If you go out to the house, you will find the house that is still missing some framing work and that’s it!
For us it was really hard to figure out, the fact that there were hundreds of thousands of dollars in our savings, we cashed out Chris’s pension, the 401 (k) and everything to build this house and we got it. said it was all gone. On our contract the price was $ 410,000 for the house, there was an option to add a garage for an additional $ 75,000 which we later chose and paid that money as well.
Our down payment to start was $ 120,000 which we wired on December 18th of last year and then in March they asked for the full $ 75,000 to add to the garage. Then in May, that’s when they came back with the plan to buy the materials and put them in the warehouse. They said ‘we’ll protect you from inflation’ and she came here and got a check for $ 150,000. After that, in June, she asked for the rest of the money, about $ 140,000, but we only gave her $ 50,000, leaving only $ 90,000 in balance – $ 395,000 is what we did. have paid so far for a barely framed shell of a house that doesn’t even have windows.
They sent very aggressive emails saying they were going to work if they didn’t have more money … them and they told us the money is gone.
Chris Cormican: We had no loans, we wanted to try and build it without any debt, which is why we decided to use my pension in my 401 (k) and all the savings we had saved for our entire working life. They literally took money from our savings and they basically walked with it.
Rosemary Cormican: The intention was to take the stress out of Chris who felt compelled to have a difficult career that could potentially cause more damage to some of his injuries and just know the house was paid for and taken care of. . It was meant to be a place of peace and a place of healing.
Chris Cormican: It started out exciting, having the chance to live in the country where it was calm, the kids could run around and it turned into a nightmare. It was all stress and heartache. It went from something that was supposed to be awesome to something that was just plain awful.
Rosemary Cormican: Now we are in a position where the timber frame is starting to show weather damage as it has been exposed since May. This house needs a roof and now we have to pay attorney fees on top of everything else, so we’re really in a bad spot.
Chris Cormican: He’s absolutely unprotected and everything we’ve done so far is literally starting to rot.
Rosemary Cormican: There was a company that got stronger. There were windows on the property that had not been installed and they heard about the situation and they felt a burden, they came that night, they installed almost all of these windows and so for us , it was a huge blessing. We are very, very grateful to this company for doing this, for giving up what they were doing and rushing to do it that night.
The Cromicans currently have a GoFundMe page you can donate. They say all funds are a blessing.