December 12, 2011

SandBox Comments: Eagle County Times "Alpine Bank – Backs Off in ongoing Cordillera Litigation"

Good morning, dear readers.  This morning, 'SandBox Nanny' is bringing back out of archives one of your fav commentary pieces.

"Exactly, how do the acts of 'unjust enrichment' and 'tortious interference'  really play out in the real world of the common construction industry worker?"

Let us begin:

Let's pick any one of the hot-beds of fodder for our topic.  Like say, any private golf course development in the area.  All the same.  Or, if you prefer to use a gated community, that's fine. All the same.

For simplicity's sake, we'll use 'Generic Golf Course Development (GGCD)' in order to not send certain closet readers of SandBox into the throes of panic that the cops and judicial task forces are going to finally come rolling down the driveway at any moment now with those oh, so embarrassing lights flashing.

Here's the crux of the problem:

Let's hypothetically say that the plans, scope and construction budget for one house in the development is $1.1 million.  The course developer sold some lots to a builder. The builder then sold this lot to a local couple.  That local couple, unknown to anyone except Golf Course Developer, is also an overall investor in the entire development.  And that local couple has a few skeltons in their closet that have been brewing and simmering to come out for a long, long time.  As it turns out, so does the builder and the Golf Course Developer.

The owner/developer has been around a long time, prominent in the community, attends all the social and politically correct functions and organization memberships.  Names are splashed all over the media and are common household topics of conversation for many.

They find a builder that is well-known but nevertheless in need of some work and sort-of has a reputation for being an easy push-over.  And since it's such a small world, they bought the lot from him!  And they share the same bookkeeper! (wink, wink)

The talk gets talked.  Now, the important thing to remember here is intent and it is way, way back at this moment of agreement that all things future are going to to stem from.   One hears 'we'll save money at every point we can and give you a great build'. Another hears 'the budget is for the plans and scope at this moment.  That changes, then money changes.'  Another in this trio of soon-to-be miscreants hears 'it's her dream house, we'll give her anything she wants'.

Remember now, Golf Course Developer Guy is nowhere in the conversation because the builder is the seller of the lot.

In our hypothetical scenario with the 'GGCD' project, it would turn out later down the road that the husband and wife team were worlds apart on thinking of 'how' their dream home was going to be built.  All the builder and every industry related trades and professionals coming in behind him know is that the rule of law is the plans, the budget, the choices made by the owner/developer and the quality at the end.

In construction, your talent, skill and output are your own but they are based solely on executing what you're told to do.  Smart industry members keep detailed records of what they're told to do.  That way, when the usual time in most builds when an owner or trade or vendor takes things south and attempts to flip the blame of their actions over on to you; there is a record of what really happened.

Let's pick up the pace here and get away from this boring part of our commentary:

"...So, the talk is talked.  Builder starts up on a loose contract and handshake.  (After all, 'Suzy socialite' is in the news every day, how can these people possibly go south?)

Trades and everyone else piles on with the builder footing the bill. 

The owner/wife there daily and slipping in change after change to the scope. Builder's starting to toss and turn at night, but, the first few checks from the husband who's really not on the same page to start with roll in and are on time.  And you do have that tiny little clause in your loose handshake from one of those stellar pillars of the community who did say they wanted your best and were willing to pay for it.  "It's her dream", after all.

Time marches on as always in the world of men, machines, dirt, framing and wiring.

"Oh!!!  My dream!! My vision!! And just look, honey!!  I found all of our plumbing fixtures and lighting at 'Milly's Repo Mall' and 'Overstock Extravaganza'!!!!  For a fraction of what the plumber and electrician want to charge!!!!  See what a good manager I am?  Just look!"

"Oh, Mr. Plumber Man!  See what I bought?  These are just perfect, aren't they?  But wait, I'm still not sure if I want to add that 10th bathroom and dog wash.  But I will let you know soon just as soon as we get back from the interior designer I hired 3 months ago and have drawing up all new plans!"

"Huh?"  says, Mr. Plumber Man.  "Lady, I'm at the rough in stage.  We can't add another bathroom.  Who's the designer?  This is her idea?"

"Oh, no!!!  It's my idea, it's my dream!!!  She keeps saying absolutely not, but frankly she can be a real force to be reckoned with and I'm not sure if even I can get her away from her firm stance.  But I'm the best, don't you know!!!  By hook or crook, that's my motto!!"

"Yea.  If it's her she's not going to back down or cave to you so we're safe and you're dreaming.  If you want to make changes, you need to get with Builder Man and stop the project until you're sure.  What is this stuff you bought?  Lady, 'Milly's Repo Mall' is the worst.  You just bought a 3/4" fitting for a 1/2" outlet.  And there's no thing-a-ma-jig that's the most important part of the whole thing.  This stuff is worthless.  Huh....WTH??!!!....what're you doin?"

"HOW DARE YOU!!  I am the owner and I sign your checks.  I'm getting my husband.  These are the faucets I want.  It's my dream!!!  What are you doing?"

"Packing up, Lady.  Have Builder Man give me a call when you all get it worked out."

The next day when the trades arrive on site, Builder Man says:  "Go on home, everybody".  Golf Course Owner Family hasn't paid the payments on the land I sold to 'Queen of Mean and hubby aka the old Suzy socialite and quiet, mild-mannered husband' to build this thing on.  Didn't pay the utility PUD fees for the development, spent the money on the latest lawn mowers for the golf course.  And there's some kind of flap about investors with money from God only knows where that the Golf Course Owner Family trusted in the beginning.  Surprise, surprise that the quiet hubby on this job is one of those investors.  But we've got a tiny little clause in my loose handshake on this and it'll be alright because we've got 'Designer Force Lady who the old Suzy Socialite talked into racking up a mongo A/R bill' running interference for us. And I can always repo the dirt it sits on."

Trudging off to their trucks and units, all the trades are heard muttering under their breath that 'this thing is going to Antartica it's that far south'.

Builder Man starts to drive off down the road and Golf Course Owner Family blocks the road.  "WTH?? Where are you going??  The owner of that one holds all the cards on the money I need to stay out of class-action!!  Tick him off and I'm doomed!!!"

"What do you mean you're doomed?  As of this moment you're without the dirt the thing sits on because he's holding payment back on everything until his wife is happy.  I'm slamming the lid until you're all worked out AND have that dame under some kind of control.  She's driving us nuts!"

Three years later, the house has been forced built at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars in loss to everyone working on it.  But the Queen of Mean aka Suzy socialite is thrilled because she did get her 'Milly's Repo Mall' specials after all and with what they didn't pay everyone, the house appraised at nearly $2 million but was built for half of that!!  What a gal, what savings!

The amenities of the development aren't up to par or even fully running. 

Class action lawsuit by enraged homeowners that can't golf are whipped into a fake frenzy by the 'Queen of Mean aka Suzy socialite' in order to hide her being the force that spun it all into chaos and her husband having some minor concerns about how some of their wealth accumulated over the years.  Dinero he used to be an original investor in the whole mess. 

Designer Force Lady and a couple others in the Builder Man's world still struggling to get paid and clear.  The 555th district DA trying to be involved but caved to the powers that be and keeps sitting back waiting for more to shake out of the branches of the tree so he can maybe fill in all his holes.

Now, dear readers.  Who is the culprit that is the tort interference and unjust enrichment in our hypothetical scenario?

The Golf Course Owner Family, the quiet, mild-mannered hubby with his group of investors and all cronies in-between.

Who are the victims?  Not the ones in the middle like Builder Man.  He came out pretty flat.  The victims are everyone from there on down the food chain."

But, hey Dave!

Slippery but nice and slick move to get some payments caught up at that alleged crony of everyone Alpine Bank!

And the beat goes on...

(Read the article from those top-notch investigative reporters  Della Street and Paul Drake?  Click title)
"Truth goes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Then it is violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as self-evident."


mack said...

roll on the truck bed laughing.


Ah, Nanny.

glenwoodsprings22 said...

Morning in America.

Morning in Nanny's World.


sent from my verizon blackberry

gws44 said...

LOL! Nails told me about this but didn't get to it until now.

LOL! One of your best, Nanny.

Milly's Repo Mall. Hmmm...which McMansion are we talking about? Aspen Glen or Cordillera?

Wasn't the Cordillera Princess of Mean the one that tried to say wood blinds were supposed to be draperies? With $600 a yard fabric? On sale for $10.99 a yard? Whose hubby is a prominent bad man in the Dancing Bear and Base Village issues?

And the Queen of Mean in Aspen Glen the one scrounging Milly's Repo Mall with a "little dab of dough from here" and a "little dab of dough from there"? With pocket change for a stop at the spa out of the mouths of illegal masons working outside in sub-zero temperatures on Christmas Eve after not being paid for 3 months?


hammerandnails, VP of operations smalltown7 said...

Our Nanny? Worth a trazillion bucks a million times over.

Knowing that what we build and get totally screwed over on by an owner is someday going to have some component fall apart and need us back again? Can you say a bazillion times more than our Nanny is worth as the bill we leave when we fix the problem?

Knowing that there really will come a day when cops and judicial task forces roll down that driveway with the lights flashing?


jbend said...

She's a peach our nanny is. Ya know Alpine Bank has to slink around getting any money they can out of all those cronies.

Gotta pay that $70 million in tarp funds back.

Plus just a few other things. Slick move for you, Dave.

Keep those bucks just rolling the flow over.

MR said...

Cronyism at its finest, jbend. That's always been Alpine Bank. If any lawman who had real guts came along and dug into all things Alpine Bank the scandal would roll for years.

Wilhelm's finally got himself cornered but let's be completely fair here.

Sure, he's messed over just about every contractor that ever walked onto Cordillera. But he's got a couple of real sharp tooth sharks in a couple of the homeowners leading the pack on his troubles that really need some deep, deep scrutiny. The world would be amazed how far out those crooked wallets reach.

The sad thing here is that the other homeowners who're legit will be the ones who lose out. If Hurlbert wanted to really go out with a bang, he wouldn't walk away from a deep and hard intensive probe in everybody. Don't stop at just seeing who's in bed with who up in Cordillera.

Developers and their investors are just a hop, skip and a jump over the hill to their own cronies.

rolling on the truck bed laughing. excellent.

sssungirl0 said...

With all I've watched my husband go through in the high-end construction industry all over the state, there's one thing that could be done when the corruption of interference starts up on these big projects. And that is to have just one gum-shoe style investigator who knows how to connect the dots. Any custom homeowner and developer that even once short-changes the people they hire or the vendors they buy from is a 50% sure shot to trace over to at least the outer fringes of these shady crony propositions. But one that screws over the entire job and then has the nerve to try to turn the table to make it look like someone other than themselves? Count on it that their fingers are dipped into many big money crony pies. The problem is that they never get caught and they should.