Anyone who lives in Maryland has probably read in the "Sun" and the "Aegis" about tragedy of Altieri Homes.
Are they criminals? Or victims of the economy.
Altieri Homes is based out of Columbia County. They have been charged by Maryland's attorney general with taking deposits and payments from about 20 homebuyers in Howard and Harford counties without starting or finishing building the homes.
They have also been accused of failing to pay subcontractors, refunding customer's
deposits or advance payments. Many other builders are facing the same thing, but this is the first I've heard of an attorney general getting involved or threatening "severe sanctions" against companies falling victim to the housing market.
In the Baltimore Sun, Douglas Gansler, Maryland's attorney general, stated "My office will seek severe sanctions against builders who operate without being registered (not the case here) or fail to properly handle consumer deposits." He fails to mention that our governments (state and federal) do this on a daily basis without reprisal.
I would like to know why Altieri Homes is being made the example? Instead of folding, as many independent lumber yards in Maryland I know of have done, they simply tried to stay afloat for as long as they could, only to find that the banks were no longer lending. Why aren't charges being leveled at the lending institutions? Fannie and Freddie and the congressmen who conned so many investors into believing all was okay with them?
Many, many home builders have had to close their doors or struggle over the past few years because of the housing market. I know personally the family's of two big ones here in Maryland that have had to either pull their offices out of the state or shut down completely.
As tight as this market is, not enough business is to be had to help cushion a builder to fix any trouble spots or make repairs on construction, which is also one of the problems Altieri faces.
My husband (a wholesale lumber and millwork representative) has been laid off since January 30th. He has had no job bites other than the odd jobs through people at church every so often. We don't own a big house, we didn't overspend during the "heyday". We have three vehicles . . . none of them under 10 years old, and we have no credit cards. We haven't used them in over six years. We are just now coming to the end of what we had in savings. We never expected him to be out of work this long and my business (real estate) is choppy at best.
I really don't think that the people who provided the jobs should be the one the government goes after when they themselves are the ones who were not only complicit, but created this mess. How do you get blood out of a turnip? Tax it? Are you freaking kidding me?
It does not matter what the attorney general does to Altieri Homes at this point. It is obvious they are broke. The best they can hope to accomplish is to make it impossible for them to ever carry a contractor's license again and possibly take the rest of everything they own.
As for me and my husband, I guess we'll just hold out and do the best that we can until the attorney general starts coming after private citizens when they can no longer pay their bills.