16 to share payout from escrow left by fleeing builder

Real Estate Watch

January 31, 1999

Sixteen homeowners who were defrauded when Manor Builders Inc. suddenly ceased operation last year will be issued refunds by the Consumer Protection Division of the state's attorney general's office.

Palmer C. Williams Jr., the owner of Manor Builders, Inc. and Phoenix Land Inc., fled Maryland after reneging on contracts to build homes in Baltimore and Harford counties. Williams left behind a $20,000 escrow account, which the division seized and is distributing to the homeowners.

"Buyers should know that Maryland law protects them in the event the builder goes out of business," Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said. "Builders must place their buyer's deposit in an escrow account for safekeeping -- or face possible criminal prosecution."

According to Maryland law, builders are required to put customers' deposits into an escrow account or have a corporate surety bond or a letter of credit on file with the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Builders must also give buyers a disclosure statement informing them how the builder will comply with the law.

For more information, call the Consumer Protection Division at 410-576-6569.

Pub Date: 1/31/99

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