Saturday, May 24, 2008

Law Suit Flied In Dispute Over Home In New Town Subdivision

(click on image to enlarge)

By Tony Brockmeyer

Joseph D. and Vicky E. Riley have filed a lawsuit in St. Charles County Circuit Court against Whittaker Builders Inc. charging Whittaker with Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation and Violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

According to the petition the Rileys in early 2005 contracted with Whittaker Builders to purchase a lot and custom home in Whittaker’s subdivision, the New Town at St. Charles. They claim that Whittaker agreed to sell the residence for an amount to be calculated based on Whittaker’s actual cost to construct the residence. They further claim that contrary to a plat map they had been provided by Whittaker the lake and lake-wall encroached onto the lot they had contracted to purchase. In October of 2007, after significant construction of the residence Whittaker provided the Rileys with a survey dated April 12, 2006, which showed the encroachment of the lake and lake-wall onto the lot.

After construction, they claim they learned that air-conditioning units installed to service the residence encroached onto the neighboring property and that Whittaker, without informing them of the encroachment, entered into negotiations with the neighbor to attempt to obtain an easement to permit the encroachment.

Whittaker informed the Riley’s that the purchase price of the residence was One Million One Hundred Forty-Six thousand Dollars (A$1,146,000). Riley’s informed Whittaker that the list of charges for the construction of the residence did not appear to accurately reflect the amounts incurred by Whittaker. During further discussions with Whittaker Builders the price went to $967,400, to $950,000 and finally to $928,000.

The Rileys further claim that they requested documentation from Whittaker to support Whittaker’s calculation of the alleged purchase price; Whittaker however, failed and refused to provide such documentation. The Riley’s claim that without their consent Whittaker scheduled a closing on the Residence at Lewis and Clark Title Company and that because of not receiving proper documentation, the demanded purchase price and the encroachment issues they did not appear at the closing. They also claim that LC Title Company owns Lewis and Clark and that Greg Whittaker is a member of LC Title Company, LLC.

The Rileys are asking for damages because of Fraudulent Misrepresentations. They claim the sales price was not based on the actual costs incurred by Whittaker to construct the residence and Whittaker knew such representation to be false. That prior to entering into the contract Whittaker represented that the lake and lake-well were adjacent to the lot and that at the time Whittaker knew such representations to be false.

They are asking for damages for Negligent Misrepresentation and for Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. They claim Whittaker utilized deceptions, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentations, unfair practice, and/or concealment, suppression or omission of material facts in connection with the sale and/or advertisement of the lot and residence including, but not limited to, demanding Rileys close on the purchase of the Residence at a title company affiliated with Greg Whittaker in an attempt to conceal numerous issues, including, but not limited to, encroachment of the air-conditioning units onto a neighboring property and encroachment of the lake and lake-wall onto the lot.

The petition asks for damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees along with prejudgment interest.

We contacted Whittaker Builders for their comments on the lawsuit. Spokesperson Lisa Mall informed us by e-mail that it is their policy not to comment on any pending lawsuit.

David Hamilton and Nicholas Komoroski of the Hazelwood & Weber law firm are representing the Rileys and Brad Goss is representing Whittaker Builders, Inc.