Elk Ridge Custom Homes, LLC, in North Point has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Sarasota attorney says many of the dozens of victims likely won’t get their money back, the Herald-Tribune reports.
“It’s difficult to determine the precise number of victims,” the newspaper quoted Alan Tannenbaum as saying. Tannenbaum is a construction lawyer representing homeowners from Sarasota to Fort Myers. “Whether it’s 30 or 50, they’re scattered from Fort Myers up through North Port and maybe some out east.”
He said it is unlikely that homeowners, subcontractors and suppliers can recover their money through a bankruptcy proceeding on Jan. 16. He will try to seek compensation through Florida’s Construction Industry Recovery Fund, which could give the first qualified homeowners up to $50,000.
“However, because it’s on a first-come, first-serve basis, once enough qualifying claims reach the $500,000 cap per builder, the rest of the victims would be left out in the cold,” the published report says.
The business (Elk Ridge Custom Homes LLC) owned by Willis James filed for bankruptcy on Dec. 12.
Tannenbaum says he has represented a number of clients with similar problems.
“These companies pop up all the time. In Florida, all it takes is for you or someone you know to have a general contractor’s license. You form a company, you show one or two houses that you built and give them no opportunity to vet.”
“Do you research, because they may have a nice brochure, show you a nice model, but you’ve got to be very careful,” Tannenbaum said.