New claims against Wake County builder

February 3, 2011 3:58:33 PM PST
Last month, ABC11 first reported the story of Sherry Gilliland who claimed she was out $30,000 on a dream log cabin that was never built.

Since then, ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson has heard from nearly a dozen other customers of Deep Creek Log Homes.

"We paid him a lot of money - over $120,000," said Cary resident Bill Goldberg. "I'm not sure he ever meant to finish the house."

Goldberg claims Deep Creek only completed the shell of the log cabin he planned to retire to in the Tennessee mountains.

"Both my wife and I have lost lots of sleep over this and the stress was been unbelievable," he said.

The Goldbergs say they signed a contract with Deep Creek in November 2009.

"When we signed the contract, we put $20,000 up front to do plans, and begin milling the logs," he said Bill Goldberg.

Goldberg said construction was very slow. Just enough work was done for Curtis Hare, the owner of Deep Creek Log Homes, to keep getting payments. The money draws total more than $100,000.

A photo the Goldbergs have shows Hare sitting on the half-built cabin in July, but when they made another visit in September, not much new work was done. There was just stain on the logs but still not even a roof.

"No progress. I'm really worried because the house is sitting open in the wind and rain, and we were losing a lot of sleep over this," Goldberg recalled.

And he didn't sleep any easier when he said he discovered a $6,000 lien on the cabin because Hare didn't pay a supplier.

Goldberg said he immediately contacted Hare who assured him the lien would be taken care of, but it wasn't. And then Goldberg found out about another $6,000 worth of unpaid bills.

"What appears to have happened [is] he got in the habit of paying for people, previous people's bills, with current people's money - kind of like the Bernie Madoff of Raleigh," Goldberg charged.

And more people complaining about Hare have contacted ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson.

Ken Hoglund told ABC11 he's out almost $30,000.

"It's embarrassing to be where we are with this guy," he offered.

Hoglund hired Hare to build on family land in Virginia.

"We had always talked about this log home, and we have been camping on it for years, and it was very much a dream of ours together," he said.

But Hoglund says the dream ended after he paid Hare $29,600, but ended up doing most of the prep work himself.

"Why don't you just build the foundation? Why don't you do the excavation? Why don't you order the windows and I'll give you a credit off the cost of the contract," Hoglund claims Hare told him.

So Hoglund did build the foundation and a few walls. He bought custom windows that are still sitting in his garage.

Then Hare finally told him the logs had just arrived.

"Went out there to see the logs, and they were clearly sitting out there for a quite a while - spider webs, mold - clearly not delivered that week," said Hoglund.

"We just stopped and demanded information about the logs, what they were made of, where they came from, and he wouldn't respond," said Hoglund.

He got no answer and has nothing to show for his $30,000 but the blueprints.

"We asked for our money back and he said that wasn't going to happen," claimed Hoglund.

Mike Mantych also wanted his money. He says he worked as an electrical subcontractor for Hare.

"He just didn't pay me, so in September I hit the streets," he said.

Mantych picketed out in front of what was Hare's model home and office and it worked.

"It took me a year and seven days to get my money," he said.

But Mantych is lucky according to a former project manager of Deep Creek Log Homes.

"My first day out, every homeowner I met was hostile - to say the least," recalled Mike Howell.

Howell worked for Hare for two years.

"It seemed like the more things we were responsible for, the more things that went wrong," he told ABC11.

Howell says he handled all the headaches - from suppliers and sub-contractors not getting paid to homeowners not getting what they paid for. He says Hare knew exactly what he was doing.

"He would set these contracts up where you get all the money on the first few draws, and after that last draw, where there is really no money left on the job, he was off to someone else," he said.

ABC11 reached out to Hare for his side of the story. He said he'd give it, but never followed through.

We eventually did receive a written statement:

It has always been the position of Deep Creek Log Homes to work personally with its customers to ensure satisfaction in the business relationship. We have over the years built homes for many satisfied customers.

Unfortunately, this does not always work out and it is not always possible to satisfy everyone, especially if the expectations are unreasonable. Deep Creek will always be interested in resolving disputes. If a customer is not willing to negotiate directly with us, we engage our counsel to assist.

This is one of those situations and our counsel has advised us that it is not appropriate to negotiate these matters in a public forum using non-lawyers as intermediaries.

You are not authorized to come onto my property without permission or to involve members of my family in a business dispute with my company.

Having said that I would be happy to negotiate directly with the other parties to the contract or with appropriately licensed counsel which they might employ.

If you have any other questions about this you may direct them to my lawyer Jim Jordan who is now involved with this issue on my behalf.

Besides Deep Creek Log homes, ABC11 has learned Hare has started a new company called Olde South Builders. Hare told us that's just for smaller remodeling projects.

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