Friday, July 22, 2016

Manahawkin, NJ Modular Home Builder Accused of Taking $1.1M From Sandy Victims

Manahawkin Company Took $1.1M From Sandy Victims,
Did No Work: Authorities
The Department of Consumer Affairs filed the complaint against
Jonathan Price and Price Home Group.

By Karen Wall (Patch Staff) - July 21, 2016 11:58 am ET

A Manahawkin, NJ construction company and two of its owners are accused of taking more than $1.1 million from Superstorm Sandy victims — including more than $898,000 in federal relief grants — and failing to begin or complete the contracted-for work, according to a complaint.


The Price Home Group LLC of Manahawkin, and its owners, Jonathan Price of Manahawkin and Scott Cowan of Demarest, took significant initial payments to elevate or replace Sandy-damaged homes then failed to begin work, performed the work in a substandard manner and/or abandoned unfinished projects without returning for weeks, months, or at all, according to the complaint filed by the state Department of Community Affairs in Superior Court in Ocean County.

“Residents who trusted Jonathan Price and Scott Cowan to help them rebuild after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy were allegedly victimized again when these contractors took their money without delivering the work the residents paid for,” Acting Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said. “What makes this kind of greed even more repugnant is that these men allegedly preyed on people relying on financial assistance from the state to rebuild or restore their homes.”

The nine homeowners named in the complaint were all recipients of grants from the Department of Community Affairs’ Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program, the state’s largest rebuilding initiative. The homeowners hired Price Home Group between September 2014 and June 2015, according to a news release from Porrino's office.

In addition to paying $898,331.11 in RREM funds to the Price Home Group, the nine homeowners collectively paid $220,483.28 out of pocket, according to the complaint.

The complaint accuses Price, Cowan and Price Home Group of failing to provide consumers with the contracted-for home elevation or installation of modular homes, work which was paid for with RREM grants and the consumers’ monies. The complaint accuses them of violating the Consumer Fraud Act, the Contractors’ Registration Act, the Home Elevation Regulations, the
Home Improvement Regulations and the Advertising Regulations, among other things, by:
  • Advertising, offering for sale, selling and/or performing home elevations without being registered as a home elevation contractor with the state.
  • Entering into contracts, accepting consumer payments and/or RREM funds and then failing to begin or complete the home elevations or the installation of modular homes.
  • Repeatedly rescheduling dates for commencement of home elevation work and/or modular home installation, and then failing to commence the work.
  • Failing to apply for the necessary building permit, despite indicating to the consumer that the permit had been applied for.
  • Performing home improvements in a substandard manner — including elevating a home to half a foot less than the required height, installing inferior footings for the home elevation — and then failing to make the necessary corrective repairs.
  • Representing on the Price Home Group website that defendants were committed to finishing work on time, when such was not the case.
  • Failing to include in contracts all of the terms and conditions affecting price.
  • Failing to include in contracts the principal products and materials to be used in the performance of the contract.
  • On one occasion, abandoning a home elevation project while the home was raised on temporary supports.
  • On at least on occasion, contracting with a consumer for the installation of a modular home, arranging for her existing home to be demolished by a demolition company in preparation for a modular home installation, and then failing to install the modular home.

The complaint seeks consumer restitution, the disgorgement of RREM funds to the Department of Community Affairs, reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and costs, and civil penalties from Price Home Group. The state also seeks to permanently revoke the home improvement contractor registration of Price Home Group and to permanently enjoin Price and Cowan from owning or operating a home improvement business in New Jersey.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Toms River Patch News Release

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gary,

Why the reference to "modular" in the title? Doesn't need to be there!

TN MODULAR said...

Sad situation for the victims of that serious storm.
Thing is , several Modulars companies with great reputations has trouble getting those state funded projects only to loose them to the Wolves in our industry.

Give my company the opportunity to help and I promise performance for services rendered.

Hopefully the families will get their lives back on tract and not be scare away from good reputable modular builders.