Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brass Brick Homes Inc. Oklahoma City, Edmond, Yukon...

I wanted to start a blog to warn people about Brass Brick homes Inc. Located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and owned by Ashley Christofferson-Cunningham and her husband Wiley Cunningham.

My family started building a home with Brass Brick in the Deer Creek area/ Lone Oak neighborhood a few months ago. When the process started it was like a dream come true. We put down almost 5000.00 and the building began. It was so fast. In just 4 months the house was almost complete. We were told our closing was only 5 weeks away. We were elated and could not wait to move into our dream home. Then everything stopped.

We were so confused. We tried not to worry about it for a little over a week and then we called and we got to speak with Dana Babbs VP of Operations (I am not sure if she is still there, the last time I emailed her someone else responded). This was the beginning of everything. She was a jerk to say the least. How dare we question why our house had not been touched in over a week. The lame excuse we were given was that their contractors had not turned their invoices in on time and it was the contractors fault that they were not paid. So, Brass Brick had not paid their contractors??? Correct!! When I asked if work would resume the following week I was told that she could not predict the future. So, was she saying they did not know if they would ever pay their contractors? That is the impression I got. In the next few days we heard a lot of stories. We heard of one family that had Mechanics liens placed on their home they had already closed on and were living in! WTH!! Then we saw this lovely article on NewsOk.com
http://www.newsok.com/trouble-builds-for-local-developers/article/3311080

I will post the article and its comments just in case newsok doesn't keep these thing forever.


Trouble builds for local developersHousing, credit crises Drives one builder out of business as industry struggles

Comments
74

BY RICHARD MIZE
Published: October 14, 2008

Dreary home sales and the credit freeze have toppled one prominent
Oklahoma City builder and threaten another.

Bridgeport Development and its three home-building divisions — Brookside Homes, LivingstonMeyer Homes and Newhaven Homes — have shut down operations. Jim Meyer, principal, said he is working with lenders, subcontractors and suppliers to sell homes Bridgeport has on the market.
Brass Brick Homes has cut staff, reorganized and is working with lenders to restructure its debt, said
Ashley Christofferson-Cunningham, president.
"I’m not filing bankruptcy,” she said. "Are we in a cash-flow crunch along with everybody else? We’re in a cash-flow crunch and we’re working with the banks.”
Credit has dried up for construction subcontractors, with lenders no longer making loans based on accounts receivable, which gives the vendors no leeway in dealing with struggling builders, Christofferson-Cunningham said. That’s one reason for the number of mechanic’s liens filed against Brass Brick homes, she said.
Lending troubleBut she said the biggest problem lies with Brass Brick, which got credit to build homes based on a 70-percent loan-to-value ratio when it should have been 80 to 90 percent. "That’s our fault,” she said, and the company is asking lenders to restructure its loans at the higher ratio, based on appraised value.
Leveraged financing is at a standstill, she said, and many builders in Oklahoma City are hurting.
"We’ve been humbled,” she said. "We were a little spoiled. Oklahoma City has been in denial.”
She said Brass Brick had brought in experts to deal with its financial woes.
"It’s crazy — until everybody calms down and the bankers lighten up a little bit,” she said.
Bridgeport Development, with homes taking much longer to sell than in recent years and a local housing supply 30 percent higher than builders are used to, had little choice but to quit the business, Meyer said.
Avoiding bankruptcyMeyer said that by forming a new business structure, with both lenders and vendors having a stake, and selling Bridgeport’s remaining houses on the market, the company can avoid bankruptcy court.
"Bankruptcy doesn’t help my vendors or my bankers. It certainly (would give) me additional protection. I’d rather pay everybody. I’d rather they get their money,” he said.
One last thing-Their rating with the BBB is UNSATISFACTORY. Check it out for yourself. BBB complaints roll off their record every 36 months, "OKC-Build." So there is no telling what has actually happened in the last 10 years that you speak of.
Catalina, Edmond - Oct 22, 2008 9:11 PM
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PS- oops, I meant speechless.PPS- make that 5 complaints. Mine hasn't made it all the way to the website yet. But the deadline for Brass Brick's response to my complaint was 2 days ago. Think they bothered to respond? Yeah right.
Catalina, Edmond - Oct 22, 2008 9:06 PM
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"OKC-Build", you have no idea what you are talking about. Ashley is NOT a good person. "SO", I also have been on the receiving end of Ashley's VILE MOUTH. Their work is substandard and their customer service is atrocious! Dana Babbs is no better than Ashley. I was speachless when after calling to find out when my incomplete home (that was already closed on because they lied about completion times) was going to be finished. After Ashley cussed me out, she ACTUALLY HUNG UP the phone on me. HUNG UP on someone who just paid her a quarter of a million dollars! Brass Brick is a JOKE and deserves every bad thing that comes their way. "OKC-Build", they are having a "hard time" because they are dishonest and their business practices are FRAUDULANT. It has finally caught up with them. Nothing makes me happier than to see them exposed for who they really are.
Catalina, Edmond - Oct 22, 2008 9:02 PM
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"Good People" don't cuss out customers that are spending a quarter of a million on a Brass Brick home. They also would be honest with their customers. 3 weeks ago Dana Babbs blamed the stop on the house we were building on the contractors. I was told they had not turned their invoices in on time so Brass Brick didn't pay them. Yeah sounds like good people.
so, okc - Oct 22, 2008 6:52 PM
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I find it strange that out of 500+ homeowners and 10 years of building homes, that there were only 4 Better Business complaints and now homeowners are making hateful statements. When you’re selling 90+ homes a year, you want to keep homes on the market for buyers that need something quick. After I started tracking building permits for builders, Brass Brick slowed down when they knew the market was slowing. Yes, now bills are not paid and they have had bankers try to work with them. They could have just closed their doors, but they are trying to get back on track. Wiley and Ashley are great people, they are just going through a very hard time.
Okc-Build, Oklahoma City - Oct 22, 2008 5:43 PM
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Does anyone know who the developers picked to build in the 2 new Lone Oaks? I have heard they have branched out from the usual 4 (Turner, Justice, Carr and Brass Brick) to various builders. I know one builder who was chosen but backed out because he was moving to Las Vegas.
Tony, Edmond - Oct 22, 2008 9:42 AM
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And as a side note - I saw their article in the Edmond Monthly a few weeks ago. What kind of morals and values are you teaching kids when you are borrowing from Peter to pay Paul? I agree with many of you about the "karma" part (I, too, was a BB buyer a few years ago and thought her attitude was arrogant).
S, Edmond - Oct 21, 2008 10:09 PM
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I am a bit shocked. A quick look at their website shows they have 41 homes either sitting or were in process of being built. (http://www.brassbrick.com/BrassBrickForSale.aspx ) I cant imagine the carrying costs for those homes... SO - Turner & Son seems to build nice homes. Might not be a bad idea to contact them and tell them your story. However, I would be cautious about buying in LOC. Unfortunately you may have a bunch of empty houses sitting on the market in that neighborhood - which could devalue yours... Tony is right - unfinished homes in a neighborhood invites all kinds of issues... Just a thought.
S, Edmond - Oct 21, 2008 10:05 PM
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Tony, ours is/was also Lone Oak Creek. The home we were building is almost done. It has been bricked and painted. Then over three weeks ago it all stopped. The lighting was delivered the last week in September but now it is gone and the house is locked. I don't know what is up with that. We have asked and asked and Brass Brick will give us absolutely no indication of when work will resume. How long should I be expected to wait? I feel like the best thing to do would be accept our losses and move on. There is a very nice home in Lone Oak Creek that Turner and Son started the same time ours started. Of course theirs is done and now on the market. Maybe I should check it out. Obviously we chose the WRONG builder. Also, no answer today at the offices of Brass Brick Homes Inc. I'm sure they wish I would just go away. That is not going to happen.
so, okc - Oct 20, 2008 4:22 PM
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So, OKC, Which Lone Oak are you building? I live in a Brass Brick in Lone Oak Creek and have noticed one house of three that has sat vacant for almost two months. It is framed and roofed but the brick has been sitting since the day they dropped it off. We bought our home back in January and we really had an easy time dealing with them. We bought a spec so we never dealt with the people in the office when it came to picking out colors, etc. We only spoke with and dealt with David the Sales VP.I hope they either fix their problems or sell their under construction homes to other builders because looking at a unfinished house for months will get old.
Tony, Edmond - Oct 20, 2008 2:17 PM
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Let me begin by saying that every single word that big brother and Kelli in Edmond posted on this page is 100% true! I really couldn't have put it any better than they did. I had no dealings with BrassBrick Homes but worked very closely with Bridgeport Lending and Bridgeport Developement. Let me start by saying that I hope they get what they deserve. They have been taking advantage of borrowers, buyers, employees, contractors and anyone else they do business with for years. Let me start with Bridgeport Lending(BPL) and its president Kelly Griggs. Mr. Griggs and BPL have for years participated in "QUESTIONABLE" lending practices. I could give you example after example but if you and the rest public would like to know of a pretty good instance contact Telemundo and ask them about their investigation into Mr. Griggs and BPL's practices with Hispanic borrowers. They were point blank stealing money from borrowers. I think you'll find it to be quite interesting. Trust me, thats just the tip of the iceberg. Some lawyer would have a hayday with this company if they started looking at the books, labor practices and lending practices. Bridgeport Developement Group is ran just as poorly with complete disregard for anyone other than the people at the top. I know for a fact that they were filing "slient" second mortgages on employees homes and calling it "employee incentive" and not disclosing any of the "employee incentives" on the HUD-1 or with a good faith or truth in lending.(there's a word in the mortgage industry that starts with FR and ends with UD that this falls into the category of) There was a gentleman in the Kansas City area doing the same thing. His name is F. Jeffrey Miller look him up for some interesting reading.(http://www.fraudblogger.com/JeffreyMillerIndictment053106.asp) He was a real piece of work and ended up in jail for his 3 ring circus and I can only hope that the same befalls the gentlemen at the top of the Bridgeport Developement team including Mr. Griggs. I can't begin to imagine the problems the arrogance of these guys has caused not only former & current employees; but buyers, borrowers, contractors and everyone else through the process. I believe whole-heartedly in karma and they will get what they deserve!
The Ticket, Edmond - Oct 20, 2008 1:53 PM
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I really wished I had known all this before. I will do my best to let others know how I feel. If I weren't such a chicken I would call the media. I really really want my money. Not only our earnest money but also 400.00 we had to pay for an appraisal on a house that will not be finished by the time our "contract" runs out.
so, okc - Oct 19, 2008 9:31 PM
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So, and everyone else, you can bet dollars to donuts that the last people to suffer from a slowdown, bankruptcy, etc will be Ashley and Wiley. Whether it's the homeowners that handed over earnest money in good faith that they were doing good by them, or the contractors that did work for them and haven't gotten paid, everyone else will suffer before the self-annointed goddess of OK home building.We never finished our house with them, as we lost our earnest money and other monies we put in the house on our own before they pulled the plug due to their ineptness in not being able to do the house as we originally wanted. And due to their complete lack of honesty and morality, they said it was our fault and kept our money and the additions we made (all told around $6,000). I even got a call from Ashley herself to listen to her bitch at me about how it's our fault, just hours before the final walk-through. And then when I drove up to their office to discuss the crazy drunk-dial incident, she tore out of there and put her husband and the site supervisor in her place to try and explain her crazy reasoning. We found a better house with a much better, and more honest building (4 Corners Construction), and the $6k we lost was both a blessing and a lesson learned. However, the world would be a better place without these foul people consuming our resources and robbing those who trust and trusted them. I feel terrible for all those they have robbed, and are robbing now, but when we can rid ourselves of these people and their crocked business, the better off we all will be in the OKC area.And I will be following these people around when they decide to stray into yet another area where people may now know of their true intentions and do my best to alert the innocent and unaware people of Ashley and Wiley's efforts. It's been a distinct pleasure to warn and steer the lookers in our neighborhood from using them, and was warmly rewarded to see one of their specs take over 2 years to sell. Makes me feel good I steered dozens of people from using and buying the crap they were selling and hopefully helping people not get robbed.
Jer, Bethany - Oct 19, 2008 5:12 PM
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Also, I emailed one person on Thursday and got a response from someone totally different (a new employee I have never dealt with). Our home was about 85% done when this trouble began. It is in the Lone Oak area. I am confident we will not be closing with Brass Brick on that house. Ashley was incredibly rude and even used foul language with me. She was EXTREMELY defensive. They are thieves and they know it. As a mother of all those kids you would think she would have a little bit of respect for families/family values I can't imagine she would like it if someone stole 1/4 of her entire savings for a new home (which is what she did to my family). Also, I understand they are building a new house. I wonder if production on it has come to a hault?? I doubt it.
so, okc - Oct 19, 2008 5:55 AM
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so, in which neighborhood is your house?
Catalina, Edmond - Oct 18, 2008 9:04 PM
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Jer, I am with you. I too have been screwed by Brass Brick both when buying a home from them, and when trying to get them to make good on their warranty. I have also had to experience Ashley's nasty attitude. She is a miserable human being. I am only astonished that she didn't self-destruct sooner than now.
Catalina, Edmond - Oct 18, 2008 9:03 PM
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You know, with regard to Brass Brick Homes, such horrible circumstances couldn't have happened to more deserving people. Ashley and Wiley deserve to reap every seed they've sown into the people they screwed over. They defference and specifically Ashley's rude manner in which she handled herself and her customers speaks volume about how Karma is an unavoidable force to be dealt with. We can only hope they fold up for good, and they never again jump into areas where they can rob and steal from people under false pretenses. Check the BBB, and the builder's reviews from the OK area. I am not alone, and they know it. Their lies and deceipt have finally caught up with them, and I couldn't be happier to see them circle the drain.
Jer, Bethany - Oct 18, 2008 7:14 PM
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FYI.........the only working numbers for Brass Brick are at their main office. The numbers for their sales in the various neighborhoods have all been disconnected. Does that mean the sales people were let go?
so, okc - Oct 18, 2008 4:09 PM
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I have been reading the comments by the various people on this blog and I have found some interesting things. 1) There is but one or maybe two people who can actually speak from expeirence, from being on the inside, about what went on daily at Bridgeport. Myself being one of them.2) As for the comments by "Blessed". You may have had a "pleasant", and I use that word loosely, expierence with Bridgeport and its affiliates. You have no clue what went on with its day to day activities. Did you know that they recently had to retain a lawyer in D.C. to try and retain there FHA license??? It's when your FHA default rate goes over 200% that the government tends to frown upon your lending practices.3) Were you also aware that some of the employees paychecks bounced? And that BPL held money from there employees paychecks illegaly? You probably weren't because you didn't work there. It's on public record and the department of labor so check it out. So don't assume that you know about there accounting practices. You don't!!4) Ask Rick Metheny how much they owe him for concrete?? I bet it would be an interesting answer. And how they couldn't get appliances put in houses because the vendor's wouldn't deliver them. Not even C.O.D!These are the facts and they are undisputable! I lived it!
Big Brother, Oklahoma City - Oct 17, 2008 7:45 PM
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quick example...if you bought a house for a contracted amount and 60 days before you are to close on that house they come back and say they need 30K more when there hasnt been a single chnage order - is that fair? then they take your house back and sell it as a spec even after you offered them 23K more then the origonal contracted price...Tell me thats fair... Thats how they treat not only their buyers but their employees and their subs...
Kelli, edmond - Oct 17, 2008 2:20 PM
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Lets just say I was a little closer to the "truth" then the general public. They screwed over many people before they finally closed their doors, buyers, employees, subs...when you do that even when your having a good year then I cant defend them and say its JUST because of hardship/economy that they are now not paying people or taking care of things and doing whats right beacuse they havent been doing whats right for some time - whats right isnt in their best interest. I dont knock them for succeeding in the past and making a decent living for themselves - by all means its all of our rights to do that! But when lying becomes a daily practice of buisness THIS is wrong. When you cheat other businesses out of hard earned money and treat your employees like they are worthless and your warrenty isnt worth the paper its printed on b/c a yr 1/2 later your buyers still have issues they had at closing - how does that make you a qualified, honest, fair home builder? The other "assests" they own and other companies were taken care of by BP development for yrs if they had problems bc BPD was the company making the money. 'Avantage' (use to be coldwell banker) use to recieve a % of EVERY SALE BPD had regardless if they help sell it or not- even from the employees! So the wealth BPD created was shared through Jims empire of companies. He obviously wasnt willing to sell off or move money around in the end to save it. But dont worry- they will get though this with a slap on the wrist and start a new company ready to screw over the next buyer who walks through their model home doors... they have done it before with other companies and in other states...dont think they wont do it again.
Kelli, edmond - Oct 17, 2008 2:16 PM
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Blessed in Edmondyou must be a public relations spin doctor that works for one of the builders in the news.Face the truthif a big builder can get a loan for on avg 80% of future app value but can build it for on avg 70% of app value then the bld has 10% fluff money.the subs are paid,developer paid ect, all thing are fine and dandy.even if the company stops bld all subs are paid up to date, all subs are paid up to date of the % of the homes under construction. new bld takes over and everything is completed and home owners are happy ect.even if the banks take back the homes the have 20 to 30% equity to play with to get the money back they have put into the homes and every body is happy.But this is NOT what is going on.....The builder has taken construction draws on homes and NOT paid the subs or suppliers for there materials.the banks are in a bad spot and so is every one elsethe blds took moneys intrusted by the bank to pay bills with and was used NOT to pay bill on the homes under construction but to live the life outside of there pay grade.You all have stolen funds from people,suppliers,banks ect. the same as if you came in with a gun and said give me your money.now if the banks take the homes, and sell them how in the world are the subs going to get paid since all the extra money has been spent in LAKE TAHO.the banks get made back whole but everyone else get screwed.....home owners have no warrantys.I here that subs are having to let there people go they have no money for payrole it is in ASPEN FOUNDERS TOWERS.360 3 MILLION DOLLAR HOMES.BMW CARS ECT.It is not a crime to be stupid, but to take moneys that are to be used for construction of homes and to spend it on other things will hopefully get you all jail time.. in fact i suspect you will be posting from your jail cell soon enouf.you book keepers are paid by the company to cook the book how ever you direct them.. we the public are not stupidthe fact is if you shut down like you did all subs and others should be paid up to date and then the rest of the homes would be completed and sold ectbut from my understanding you all are millions in the holeif it was jims and marks money of invester money no big deal RISK = REWARD sometime. but you all have taken your money out and let the banks take it in the shorts that is not right.if the subs were investors who shared in the profits OR loss this would be different.you have destroyed the publics trustand need to go to jail like the wall street guys you remind me of.i here even the big companys like baxter electic laid off 8 to 10 electricions yeterday gess you didnt pay them ..the point is thisIF the Banks,Subs ECT are not paid up to date them you all need to go sell all your assets. make things right and go on down the road.you all must sell everything you have all you comp,developments ect even if it is ten cents on the dollar right is right.if you all dont the FBI needs to investigate all areas of your company for white collar crimes.. selling a FHA home with bills not paid should send the principals of NEW HAVEN/BRIDGEPORT DEVELOPMENT LLC TO JAIL, AND EVERYTHING THEY HAVE WORKED FOR THER LIFE GIVEN TO REPAY EVERYONE ELSEbut have run ot of time.okc builder not to be confused with these guys who dont pay there bills
bruce, Edmond - Oct 17, 2008 12:42 PM
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Hmmmm....where to start - I have been biting my tongue for a couple of days to see how many people would come on here and post all of their "factual information". So I have quite a bit to respond to. Let me preface these comments by saying that all the people from the Bridgeport side of this story I know and have worked with for many years. I think the easiest place to start is with you "Bruce The Builder". You seem to have a lot of condemning information that you represent as fact. "Jim & Mark own developments like Oak Tree Park & Canyon Lakes, and Williamson Farms, that they sell lots to new haven homes. there plan was not to sell many lots to other home builders but as things slowed down they would sell them to anyone." All 3 of these developments were planned with all intentions of allowing multiple builders and that is the way it has been from the beginning in each of these subdivisions. "Jim and Mark have Bridgeport lending, that carries the mortgage on Jim's three and one half million dollar house. Did you all know that bridgport lending specialized in pushing subprime loans, i think there percentage of bad loans is off the chart."Bold faced lie. I am sorry, I have done business with Bridgeport Lending and this comment is so far from the truth it is unexcusable. They are actually a very reputable lender and have some great loan officers that I have worked with for a number of years."and I bet ya they did not pay full price i bet the homes were subzidized by the company and charges for there homes posted to other new construction homes that the banks are stuck with right now."OK Sherlock, lets pretend you were the owner of the company - would you pay retail for a product that you sold? Of course you wouldn't and neither would they, but I assure you that they did personally pay for the costs of their homes. The charges for their homes were not put on other houses. Companies of these sizes have accountants that would raise questions if work was performed at one property and billed to another."Who is going to see to it that the sub-contractors are paid."Find these subcontractors and ask them,but I believe that Bridgeport is doing everything in their power to work with the subcontractors to finish the houses and get all of the subs paid on the work that they have performed. I also know that the employees were paid even after they were let go and yes their checks did cash. As for all that other stuff you put in there, these were presidents and owners of large companies. If they choose to send their kids to private schools or live in $750000 and up homes, what does that have to do with anything? They worked many years to be able to afford their lifestyles. As for the people that are making posts who are under contract with one of these builders, I am certain that they will make every effort to deliver you a house that you can be proud of. Do remember that the banks that have made the construction loans to these builders would rather the people move in that the houses were being built for and not have to put them on the market and sell them for less money later on. So hold tight and hopefully everything will work out for you.Kelli---Just curious about your experience, would you care to expand at all? I would love to know these facts you speak of because Bruce's were not facts just a bunch of flaming hunches.I hope that the potential buyers that are reading all of this take it with a grain of salt. Despite what is being said on these rants and in the media, we truly are fortunate to live here in Oklahoma. I assure you that the local home values were never inflated like some places around the country. It is very hard for them to fall in value like they have elsewhere. So be smart about the builder you choose but don't be afraid to build a home. The problems that these builders are experiencing are not city wide, but isolated issues. Look for a good builder, do your homework, and you will be just fine.
Blessed, Edmond - Oct 17, 2008 12:11 AM
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Jennifer, most people have to pay for an ad.What makes you exempt?>
Gray Goose, Edmond - Oct 16, 2008 11:50 AM
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Bruce you hit the nail on the head. Anyone reading this needs to know that everything in that post was a fact. i dont have much insight on BB but BPD was anything but honest and fair about how they did buisness.
Kelli, edmond - Oct 16, 2008 9:44 AM
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As a local homebuilder I am obviously disappointed that this situation has occurred in the Oklahoma City area. There is one thing that I know to be true and that is that a builder with a strong financial statement, cash liquidity and a low inventory is not having any problems obtaining credit. Of course this is just plain old fashioned good business sense. Those that continue to start new homes to "live off of the draw" by borrowing on a new home to pay the bills on the last house, or to pay their living expenses (a builder's payday is when the house closes - not when the loan is taken out), thus running their business totally levereged on debt, will fail (it's not a matter of "if" but "when"). Businesses cannot run without equity and you don't continue to add to inventory (and debt) when the market slows. I let the market dictate my production schedule rather than the other way around. Homebuilding is a business and must be run like a business and while I won't argue the merits of quality of the national builders such as DR Horton vs. OKC builders, they certainly know how to run a business. For a business to be profitable and stable it must have cash (liquidity), stable inventory turns rather than inventory sitting (or growing), react to market conditions and maximize profits when inventory is sold. Businesses that continually run on low profit margins will fail. These are the principles that we have employed and therefore we have no unsold inventory (I predicted these market conditions a year ago and slowed production) and we will have net income as well as equity growth this year. We will be able to weather the storm and will still be here a year from now to handle warranty issues. During these times it is important to do your homework if you are looking for a new home or are contemplating having a custom home built. Now is an excellent time to do something since most builders are slower than we would like to be. We aren't having "fire sales" but we are more competitive on custom homes built on our lots than we have been for the past few years. However, you must check the builder's financial stability. Our banker is happy to talk to prospective buyers to discuss our financial strength and the ability for us to be able to deliver the home on time and within budget without worry that the buyer will lose any money. This is the type of assurance that should have always been obtained, not just during these trying times in the credit market. By the way, information that I have obtained says that the builders that can't get credit to start a new home either have: 1) too much inventory, 2) don't make enough profit to sustain their business, of 3) not enough equity in their company to cover lot and interest expense. There are many good, responsible builders in OKC that deliver a quality product that has more to offer than seen in other markets. However, it is a "buyer beware" market and a buyer must be prudent in their selection of a builder.In closing I would like to add to one individual's comment concerning builder regulation. I am an advocate for builder licensing in Oklahoma even though most builders are not. I believe that since I sell many customers their largest lifetime investment I should have to prove to someone that I have the technical knowledge to build a quality home, can be trusted with other people's money and that I have the financial equity and fiscal responsibility (i.e. insurance) to sell such an investment.
SH, Oklahoma City - Oct 15, 2008 9:26 PM
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Gray Goose, thanks, very well put. Paris, perfectly said. Enjoy the debate folks.
perry, oklahoma city - Oct 15, 2008 6:11 PM
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so,someone stated your deposit/earnest money should be in you Realtors or Closing Company escrow account. This is not always true with a builder. Get your contract out and read it. Most builders contracts say non-refundable deposit. (that is if you back out)However, if it says it will be deposited in an escrow account then you may have legal recourse through the Real Estate Commission and civil courts. If push comes to shove you can put a lien on Brass Bricks assets the same as the sub-contractors and vendors. Just another reason you should be represent by a Realtor.
Paris, Oklahoma City - Oct 15, 2008 4:52 PM
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Hey @mister in bogata:You wrote: "It is also interesting to note that the big national builders like Pulte and KB don't build in Oklahoma, since they recognize what a nasty good ol boy (and girl ) infested backwater it truly is..."How about D B Horton? … Forget that…have you checked out the viability of Pulte and KB lately? Do you really believe that “big national builders” are better builders than your local hometown family-man builder? Would that be Bogata Addition in Oklahoma City? If so, you are living what’s left of the American dream. Be thankful, be respectful or… just leave this “infested backwater”. In California, your lifestyle on your salary gets you 1,200 square feet with a one car garage… You would have to sell at least two of those Hummers with those reverse spinning 24s.Ungrateful BoorLove>
Gray Goose, Edmond - Oct 15, 2008 4:43 PM
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A couple of things. BB has not filed BK yet, nor had Bridgeport. Your money will not be in escrow (unfortunately) if it were I doubt you would be worried about your 5K. Also, their construction lender is a regional bank and thus relatively stable. They don't even really do mortgages now, haven't for awhile, mainly construction lending. So they won't be getting bailed out. Finally, the liens filed will take precedence so they must be paid or the "dirt" will be "clouded". "Paris" is correct in her points. I am hearing the same, except Bell American basically exited residential and now does commercial, ie the Turtle Creek development. BTW, I never said that they were honest, I personally have no indication whether they are or aren't. I see a lot of hearsay, rumor and conjecture on these posts. Although, I have a hunch someone has some evidence other than someone driving and expensive SUV. My assumption is that after building 500 homes for roughly 750 million in production over 11 years its OK to drive a nice car and have a big house. If it is at the expense of someones 401K, that, I believe is both a federal and state crime.
perry, oklahoma city - Oct 15, 2008 4:06 PM
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Duh!!! They can't get a loan to finish so's house. Far be it for Ashley to have put back anything. They are in hock up to their wazoo's. So, there is hope for you. I heard yesterday that another builder was going to finish the started homes. Don't know if the means the customs. I think it does. There is talk of them merging with BB.
Paris, Oklahoma City - Oct 15, 2008 3:53 PM
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Jonathan, they already stopped. Their neighborhoods have not seen a work crew in weeks. My home included. Do you know something to help me have faith that they will start work again? I hope they will finish. That would be ideal.
so, okc - Oct 15, 2008 3:50 PM
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so okc, do you think they are not going to finish your house? What makes you think that? Have you heard anything making you think they are just going to stop, and not give you back your $5000? What addition is your home being built?
Jonathan, MCLOUD - Oct 15, 2008 3:39 PM
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We wrote our check to Brass Brick. We are pretty sure we won't be getting it back. I also feel pretty stongly that they have already filed some sort of bankruptcy. Good thing I am not taking money from them and their 13 children. I am pretty sure they would not like that. I guess they are more important than me and my family.
so, okc - Oct 15, 2008 3:26 PM
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Perry your an idiot! Have the banks are going to keep these losses on their books the govt can baill them out and get .90 cents the dollar instead of 50 cents on the dollar if they decided to work with home buyer plus where is the money going to come from to pay the mechanics liens. these people should be ashamed of themselves. the are THIEVES!
makila, norman - Oct 15, 2008 3:20 PM
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so,okc your $5000 should be in a escrow account with your realtor or at a title company. the builder should not have deposited the earnest money into their personal account.
makila, norman - Oct 15, 2008 3:16 PM
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I have dealt with Mark Livingston and handled his houses. His dealings with me were honorable and he delivered a quality product. Not once was anything represented that didn't prove true. I would be amazed if half the accusations appearing in these postings prove to be true. It's early - see 1974 and 1983.
Allan, Oklahoma City - Oct 15, 2008 2:48 PM
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Any fool can make money when times are good , this article proves it. It is also interesting to note that the big national builders like Pulte and KB don't build in Oklahoma , since they recognize what a nasty good ol boy ( and girl ) infested backwater it truly is. Oklahoma, 2 steps forward and 3 steps back !!!
mister, bogata - Oct 15, 2008 2:18 PM
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This thing with BB and Bridgport has been coming on for a long time. Too bad the buyers didn't know. If indeed the bank will find another builder to complete these homes I would say the buyer will be the lucky one. It is my understanding that a builder has stepped in to complete some of the BB homes and it may be a possible merger. I know BB has several customs that the buyers are in a panic. I would be too. No, not every builder is in trouble my two builder friends have reduced the amount of spec homes they build. The customs are doing great and no problem with loans for the builder or buyer. As for sitting at the office until you get answers, you wouldn't get an honest answer if you did. Since the title insurance companies are going to have to cough up the money to remove the liens on the already closed homes they have more information about these builders than most of us have. I would be much surprised if Ashly would stoop to a $40,000 SUV. Ashley also used to work for the now defunct Bell American Homes, she is the all time record holder of pushy sales. people.
Paris, Oklahoma City - Oct 15, 2008 9:34 AM
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my advice to "so" is to go to their office and stay there until you get some answers from someone.
Linda, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 7:31 PM
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If I were so I would be worried. Perry tries to make ashley and wiley out to be honest, hard working people. Maybe Perry should explain why Wiley and Ashley took 401k contributions out of their employees paychecks but when their employees got their statments, they found out that Wiley NEVER actually put the money in the account (this isn't the company match I am talking about, this is the actual amount the employee elected to contribute out of his/her paycheck). Or maybe Perry can explain how the day Ashley laid off a sales person, she drove up in her brand new $40,000 plus SUV that is paid for by the company? Or the fact the nanny's salary is paid for by bbh? They call her an "administrative assistant" so the company can pay for it versus them having to pay for it out of the exuberent salaries they pay themselves? Don't defend them; they are crooks and deserve everything that happens to them. Who doesn't deserve it is their homeowners, employees, vendors and subs.
Linda, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 7:26 PM
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Hey "perry", spoken like a true banker.Hey "so", your 5,000 is gone...>
Gray Goose, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 7:05 PM
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"So" right now they probably do not know which way is up. Imagine all of the people contacting them, subs and vendors alone probably jam their lines. I am sure you are feeling like your money is lost and you will lose what I am sure was a lot of time and heart preparing for. Hopefully, they will get on track soon. This has happened before with other builders. Someone, builder, developer, banker etc.., will pick up the slack. You may want to hedge your bets and contact some builders in that area. They may be able to take over the project and you may be pleasantly surprised. This assumes that BB does not get back on track, which, I believe they will. Remember, most plans are from the same place and many of the subs work for several builders. In short, think of it as losing a general contractor, and feeling delays. The bank, which has probably loaned several thousand, will want the project completed. Eventually, you may be dealing with them! I have seen this happen. Don't give up hope, just a little time. For now, go smash some pumpkins, they're cheap and it's not a felony.
perry, oklahoma city - Oct 14, 2008 6:42 PM
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Well Perry, that is good to hear. I guess. I just wish the company would be honest and let me know what is up. We do have a life to get on with.
so, okc - Oct 14, 2008 6:30 PM
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Two things. First, there is recourse, the bank will probably find a builder to help complete any homes that have broken ground. There are plenty of good builders in solid standing out there. Unfortunately, "So" is probably doing a custom build. That is a highly stressful situation, considered 1 of the top 10 most stressful in life. I feel for you "So". Secondly, there is only so much space on a printed page, and timeliness is important. I have read Richard for a long time, this was a very specific piece. If it were a general piece there would be several quotes from several people. If this were a story about a restaurant shutting down you wouldn't assume all the others were. Much of what we are seeing are simply sensitive consumers, which is understandable.
perry, oklahoma city - Oct 14, 2008 6:12 PM
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Right now Brass Brick is acting like there is no problem. Like I said before, they will not tell us a thing other then their doors are still open. Isn't it convenient that there is not a way to directly call Ashley or Wiley??? Wonder why that would be?
so, okc - Oct 14, 2008 6:06 PM
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OK, OK Richard you win! I was forced to read this article today because of all the phone calls coming in - so I admit I wasn't a regular reader. Now, I'll pay more attention to your work and I'll be waiting on the article about the other 498 builders who are weathering this financial storm! :)
Brandi, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 6:02 PM
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so, is there no recourse for you to get your money back? i guess a judgement in your favor does no good if they don't have the money to pay...i am so sorry.
Catalina, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 5:58 PM
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Well, anyone who thinks Mize fails to give the good, as well, as the bad, in the OKC housing market, doesn't read his stories regularly, or very closely.
Richard, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 5:56 PM
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The people under contract with brassbrick will also pay......dearly. I don't have 5k to throw around!!
so, okc - Oct 14, 2008 5:51 PM
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oh, and the employees of brass brick and home buyers, of course
Rachel, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 5:49 PM
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Ashley was a secretary for Meyer? That is hilarous. She is the most vile, arrogant human being I have ever met. I bought a home from brass brick last year, and since have told anyone who will listen why they should never buy a Brass Brick product. I do feel terribly for the subs...It is really a shame that they will ultimately pay for this.
Rachel, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 5:44 PM
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The story just ran on New 9 and it was a well prepared story because they gave both sides - not just the side of Bridgeport and Brass Brick. They responsibly contacted the Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association and reported that there are 500 builder members and only 2 are having problems. My husband is a builder and he has had to take calls all day from worried customers because of this article. He has had to reassure people that the company is strong. I feel really sorry for the people who are in the process of building a custom home by these two companies - because I know how much of your heart (and money) you put into a custom home.
Brandi, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 5:41 PM
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Bridgeport and Brass Brick suffered from one thing. Aggression. Highly rewarded in a heated market and penalized heavily during a slump, even an ever so slight slump. During the heated markets of 03-07 everyone saw them as rising stars, now they appear to be meteorites crashing back to Earth. I would like to say that as someone in the industry, often in a competing vein, we still profited off of their success. Every contractor, vendor, lender, and title company in OKC probably made money by what they produced. I would rather not cast stones against someone who just suffered from being too aggressive. The people we should be concerned with are those that made their living from these two companies, and for those still under contract with them. Finally, I would not count out either group. Neither has filed bankruptcy and may find a way out, these are not people without Wiley ways (no pun intended).
perry, oklahoma city - Oct 14, 2008 5:26 PM
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I take great offense to this article. The Oklahoman let brass brick homes act like they are victims and this just happened to them. This happened to them because they were using the draw money to bank roll payroll, add on to their personal home and pay for personal things for Ashley and Wiley versus paying their subcontractors and vendors (which is what a builder is supposed to use draw money for). Don't feel sorry for brass brick. Their greed and bad management skills brought this upon them, nothing else. If they had been better business owners and not using company money to finance their lifestyle, they wouldn't be on the verge of bankruptcy now.
Linda, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 5:14 PM
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If buyers shouldn't worry then why has building on my home stopped? I'm worried as can be that I am going to be screwed out of 5000.00!
so, okc - Oct 14, 2008 4:48 PM
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Re, "Buyers should not be fearful after reading this article."True. And readers should notice that those comments are attributed to the people who said them, and, consider the source. The article is about one thing; two building companies that are in trouble because of two things, the housing slump here, and the credit crunch everywhere.
Richard, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 4:42 PM
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Richard - I quote, "Leveraged financing is at a standstill, and many builders in OKC are hurting." "Credit has dried up for constuction subcontractors, with lenders no longer making loans based on accounts receivable,...." I just wanted to point out that there are builders in OKC who are still in good standing and whose credit has not dried up. Buyers should not be fearful after reading this article.
Brandi, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 4:30 PM
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So, what do you suppose happens to the people like me and my family that have plunked down almost 5k and now all work has stopped on the home (almost 3 weeks)we intended to buy and Brass Brick won't tell us a thing.
so, okc - Oct 14, 2008 4:22 PM
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Brandi said:"The Oklahoman should have done some more research into this topic before
publishing this article. Banks HAVE NOT stopped lending money to builders who are in good standing and who pay their subcontractors."THE story doesn't say that."This article makes it sound like all builders are in trouble - which is not true."NO, the story does not.
Richard, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 4:16 PM
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it takes a market downturn to weed out the riffraff.
Gary, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 4:14 PM
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Paris, we’ve made our share of Fannie Mae 100% loans in Lone Oak, but they are seasoned, solid and now have equity.I’m happy to say, we rarely played in the subprime sandbox. It's nice to note that Oklahoma is 29th on the list for number of subprime loans…and 32nd on the list for number of “liar” loans (stated income loans). http://www.investmentnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080928/CHART/809269987/1009/TOCStill hoping Oklahoma will come out of this thing alive.>
Gray Goose, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 4:11 PM
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The Oklahoman should have done some more research into this topic before publishing this article. Banks HAVE NOT stopped lending money to builders who are in good standing and who pay their subcontractors. This article makes it sound like all builders are in trouble - which is not true. Those builders who manage their money well and who continue to put out a good, sound product are doing just fine! Long gone are the days when you can just throw up a house and expect it to sell.
Brandi, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 4:03 PM
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Anyone drive though Lone Oak Addition? I know Brass Brick is not the only builder there but, there are so many homes for sale in that additon. A lot of owners have only lived in them for a few months and have no equity.
Paris, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 3:42 PM
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bruceI'm a local mortgage banker. You have a lot of insight. If you're interested in spreading your wealth of information, post a way that I can contact you.>
Gray Goose, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 3:41 PM
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As usual, it's the poor working stiff that is working to feed his kids and pay his bills that takes the hit. The builders just keep the money and don't pay them. There should be a special jail for people that do these things. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Michael, Newalla - Oct 14, 2008 3:01 PM
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Wow, and this is just the tip of the iceberg I'm sure......Amazing how shady businesses are in the "good-ole-boy" state.....good riddance
bob, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 2:34 PM
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Jim Meyer and Mark Livingston have used company funds AKA(construction draws) to pay for extravigant life styles. Jim has a 3.6 million dollar home in nichols hills and mark a 700 thousand dollar home in hidden lakes. Jim & Mark have taken funds to invest in the 360, built five $800,000.00 homes in Arizona they can not sell, and also have recently purchased a company compound in Lake Tahoe that sleeps 15 to 20.Bridgeport development/new haven homes pays all the bills for SAT TV,home owners associations, yard upkeep ect. did I mention the condo in Florida. Jim sends his son to Casady private school with the subcontractors money.Jim Meyer, Mark Livinston, and John Lynch CFO of bridgeport have borrowed money from the subcontractors trying to shield it in other LLC's that jim and mark own. Jim & Mark own developments like Oak Tree Park & Canyon Lakes, and Williamson Farms, that they sell lots to new haven homes. there plan was not to sell many lots to other home builders but as things slowed down they would sell them to anyone. New Haven Management should go to jail and I do not mean federal county club. Jim and Mark have Bridgeport lending, that carries the mortgage on Jim's three and one half million dollar house. Did you all know that bridgport lending specialized in pushing subprime loans, i think there percentage of bad loans is off the chart. Bridgport lendings Kelly Griggs has a million dollar house in Hiden Lakes . Here is the funny thing Mark Livingston, Kelly Griggs, John Lynch, and several other newhaven insiders all recently built $700.000.00 and up homes and I bet ya they did not pay full price i bet the homes were subzidized by the company and charges for there homes posted to other new construction homes that the banks are stuck with right now. Who is going to see to it that the sub-contractors are paid. most were in a no win situation of if you quit woking for me you will never get paid, intimidation and the need to get paid was the only reason this haouse of card's lasted as long as it did. I know a bunch of subs who have worked for newhaven over the years and there stories are all the same. If you talk to there most recently layed off employees there hope is that there pay checks tomorrow wont bounce. but do you want to here what is in common with both these builders, Ashley C. was Jim Meyers secretaty at Heartland Homes, Jim Fired Ashley and she joined up with Whiley C. who was trained and educated by none other than Mark Livingston who also was at Heatland homes.Now you have one superintendent and one secretary who's mentors were Jim and Mark, doing the same thing. Taking construction draws from banks that were ment to pay there subcontractors, and spending the money on lavish lifestyles. That is Fraud , and they singed paperwork saying the bills have been paid on the homes they sold knowing good and well it was payin for a chartered private jet to view Jim Meyers other failed investment in Aspen Colorado where they tore down a house and are building a duplex they hope to sell on day. get this tear down a 3 million dollar house to build a 4 million dollar duplex. flunks the smell test. i hope all of Jims and Ashleys sub get paid and new laws are inacted that builders need bonding,insurance,and education and financial oversight so the home owners are not left with the bills and no home warrantys because these Fat Cat's egos were to large to fit in there checkbook.OKC HOME BUILDER
bruce, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 2:21 PM
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Phillip, You have the arrogant attitude right. She has been in the business at least 10 years. Before that she worked for a builder. Some of the people who have closed on their homes in the past few weeks are getting notices that there are Mechanics liens on their homes. Now the title companies are responsible for paying off the liens on the already closed houses. Good work Ashley
Paris, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 12:40 PM
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Brass Brick said: “Credit has dried up for construction subcontractors, with lenders no longer making loans based on accounts receivable... That’s one reason for the number of mechanic’s liens...Either Mrs. Cunningham doesn’t know how the building trades works or she is trying to deflect blame for her problems.The reason Brass Brick has mechanics liens is simple; they are not paying their subcontractors.If the subs can get paid every 30 days, they should survive.The subs should not have to carry Brass Bricks Homes more than 30 days and MOST CERTAINLY SHOULD NOT have to get accounts receivable financing.Mrs. Cunningham is conveniently using the credit crisis to take the fall for her inexperience as a builder, bloated payrolls and her (and her staff’s) arrogant attitude that alienated her buyers, lenders, subcontractors and the Oklahoma City building community.
Gray Goose, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 12:08 PM
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Test
Gray Goose, Edmond - Oct 14, 2008 11:35 AM
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Build, build, build....push,push,push..Brass Bricks motto. Would any builder in their right mind build a bunch of spec. homes knowing that the market was heading down. There is an end to everything. Oklahoma seems to stick their heads in the sand when the rest of the country is in trouble. I kept a paper from early 1982 when the rest of the country was in trouble and Oklahoma was booming. You would be surprised at the sameness of articles published this past spring about Oklahoma City being recession proof. We learn history for a reason.
Paris, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 11:13 AM
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When companies stop upholding high standards in their building practices and stop caring about their buyers as well as their employees its inevitable that they clip their feet out from under them and fall regardless of the ecomony or housing market.
Kelli, edmond - Oct 14, 2008 10:54 AM
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I know some guys that have worked on Brass Brick homes recently and they say, compared to many other builders they work for, Brass Brick is substandard.
Chris, Oklahoma City - Oct 14, 2008 9:43 AM
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Wow! Right? Okay so after this article ran we pretty much knew we would not be closing anytime in the near future so we called "Princess Ashley" (If you are not aware, there is a parking spot for Princess Ashley right up front at the Brass Brick office, go see for yourself). Anyway, Ashley was soooooo rude and said they were trying to get our home done by the end of our contract which was still 4 months away!! So wait, 5 weeks turned into we will try to have it done in 4 months. We would lose our interest rate and we would have to find a place to live for 4 months because our time with family was wearing us thin. Ashley proceeded to actually cuss me out because of my frustration. SHE CUSSED AT ME! We were still wanting the house and it cost a quarter of a million dollars and she cussed at me! I am dumbfounded by this. Why would I give a dime to a person that treated me that way? We read over our contract and it basically says if we cancel we lose the almost 5k. It is a lot of money but we wanted out of this. We could not in good consciousness do business with someone who could turn on us for wanting answers.

We put an offer on another home and it is set to close in 10 days! We are very excited to move in and it is a beautiful brand new home. Our involvement with Brass Brick is over. Right? WRONG!! When the Queen "B" aka Ashley caught wind of this she called my husband and threatened to sue for the entire cost of the home plus up to 8o,000 in court costs. We will be hearing from her attorney. Well our contract is clear. I will be surprised to say the least if they are able to do this. They have our 5K and they are not building the house (or any for that matter) right now.

Moral of this story stay far far far away from Brass Brick Homes and especially Ashley Christofferson-Cunningham!

If you would like to email your Brass Brick horror story to me and I will post it on this blog so it can be on the internet forever for potential victims to read email me at Brassbrickripoff@live.com

Thanks!!

3 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for posting your information about Brass Brick. Our experience wasn't as bad as yours or some of the other comments on the NewsOk article (poor Jer). However, they are not honoring our warranty.

    As I was investigating Brass Brick on the Oklahoma County website (under "land records"), I found that people who bought their houses are now having multiple liens filed against them. Unfortunately, there are still people out there buying from them!

    So here's my warning: Don't buy a Brass Brick house. You have NO warranty and you will probably have multiple liens filed against you after you move in.

    There are a lot of other builders out there who are honorable and build a quality house.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Hey everyone,

    My name is Cru Jones. New Community Manager and Sales Person for the NEWLY formed BRASS BRICK Homes. www.BrassBrick.com - Under New Ownership and New Management, were completely rebuilt from the ground up. Its 2011 and all those old employees and owners filed bankruptcy some time ago. Things catch up to individuals like that in the long run.

    Swing by the Model home at The Grove, meet the new owners and the new team. Were Working hard to rebuild the Company Name that was so badly tarnished by a few bad apples MANY years ago.

    If you have any questions or want more info on the NEW Brass Brick, please feel free to contact me. I look forward to helping you anyway I can.

    405-657-7999 or Cru@BrassBrick.com

    ReplyDelete