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Hi-Tech Homes, Inc. v. Bureau of Homeowner Protection

OAL Dkt. No. CAF 4297-03 (Bureau of Homeowner Protection 2004) (Unpublished)

NEW HOME BUILDERS; CONTRACTORS; LICENSES—The Bureau of Homeowner Protection may deny renewal of a new home builder’s license if it finds judgments against key officers arising out of the construction or sale of real estate.

A home builder’s president filed a renewal application with the Bureau of Homeowner Protection (BHR) to renew the company’s registration as a new home builder. The application form requested information about the applicant’s financial integrity. The president wrote that there were no unsatisfied judgments against the company, but that he had been the subject of a consumer fraud charge and found not guilty. He also wrote that he had unsatisfied judgments against him personally, but that they did not result from construction work or from the sale of real estate.

Because of these admissions, the Bureau conducted a lien and litigation search against the president, his home building business, and other businesses in which the president was involved. The search discovered a default judgment against the company and several outstanding judgments against the president, both personally and as the vice-president/secretary of another company. Those were not listed on the application. Therefore, the BHP denied the renewal application.

On appeal, the president acknowledged that there was an outstanding judgment against his company, but claimed that he did not know about it when he filed the application. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found his testimony to be inconsistent, and felt it wasn’t possible to believe him on this or any issue. It was also discovered that the judgments against the president arose out of the construction or sale of real estate. The ALJ found that the president had not been candid about his personal financial situation, either on the application or at the hearing. The ALJ felt the president was either untruthful or inartfully vague and misleading. Thus, the ALJ affirmed the Bureau’s denial of the renewal application.

The Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs adopted the ALJ’s decision as the Commissioner’s Final Decision.

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