TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN -- 4000 sq. ft home $550,000 project (excluding building site). Due to numerous and costly violations the county building inspector cited, the disappearing down payment ($20,000), incorrect applications and substandard workmanship Simionescu construction decided to quietly slither off the job before we could completely grasp the depth of deception we were in the midst of. Then came the $ 70,000 lien as a parting gift. We contracted with Simionescu Construction owned by Eugene Simionescu, to build our new home.
We were introduced to many of the subcontractors that came with familiar company names and good reputations and surveyed the job with them so they could provide bids before the job commenced. Once the project was started unknown/different subs showed up to work. We learned much later that a common practice of Simionescu Construction is to bring the reputable companies in to bid on a job and meet the homeowners then "low ball" an unexperienced, unemployed or unprofessional subcontractor to work for less than the bid presented to the homeowner by the reputable one.
We learned too that many subs were kept on the job by shorted paychecks with lame excuses at week's end as insurance of their return on Monday. Needless to say eventually we were left with an unfinished home that required costly corrections and repairs in order to receive a certificate of occupancy. Substandard workmanship and more so unsafe applications had to be destructed and remodeled to prevent extensive future damage. To legally move in and get a certificate of occupancy we had to spend an additional $50,000 cash above the contract to complete the house on our own.
We speculate that some of the materials billed to us never made it to our project and most likely ended up at another "spec" home site being conveniently built simultaneously by Simionescu Construction (we had the opportunity to do the math after he left by demanding invoices from the suppliers through our attorney) most would not release them without an attorney's correspondence. Several subcontractors went unpaid even though Simionescu construction still had not disbursed the down payment. Of course we were unaware of that until the builder walked and subcontractors and suppliers needed and deserved their pay.
We had to pay them from funds other than the first installment given to Eugene Simionescu. Beware if you do not have enough personal cash reserve beyond what a construction loan through a financial institution has loaned. This outfit knows how to use the system to tie up a loan in an attempt to blackmail a consumer into accepting their underhandedness. By the grace of God we were able to finish the project. We had to deplete our retirement account and take a huge tax hit for doing so early. We brought the structure to a degree of completion, enough to finally receive a C of O almost two years later!
We had to prove to the bank with fifty thousand dollars of receipts that we brought the house to livable conditions before they would release what small portion was left to be disbursed of the loan. We haven't the funds left for final carpentry, fixtures, hardware, window blinds, exterior paint, gutters or to correct the multitude of unfinished projects and the shoddy work etc. We at least have finally gotten to the point we can live in it and not in another monthly rental! So we've learned that unscrupulous construction companies can put a lien on a project even though all draws were current and paid.
In doing so put a freeze on the construction loan for the term of the lien which is a year here. There's an additional $16,000 in legal fees to navigate through their tactics and protect our home and property. The only cost to Simionescu Construction to file a lien through an attorney is approx $200-$300. To protect our home...$16,000 and mounting! After Simionescu construction filed a $70,000 lien against our home we never heard from the construction outfit again. Why? Because it was a fraudulent claim! It was smoke and mirrors to tie up our finances for a year!!!
I can only speculate that at that point the ominous situation facing us of 12+ additional months of household storage fees, moving our family (children) again, additional monthly rent, vehicle storage, and an unfinished $500,000 project with a frozen construction loan, was a tactic employed by Simionescu Construction to bully us into accepting their substandard work, deception and thievery. Unless a homeowner has a large cash reserve to ultimately bring a project to fruition the wretched general contractor can hold all the cards for a grueling period. But that time does come to an end eventually and then the facts begin to emerge.
We have the grounds to litigate and have all the documentation to substantiate and further prove these claims. We've been warned though that the chances of collecting on a favorable judgment from a cad are a million to one (nonexistent). I can only hope by relaying this disaster here, I can prevent another family from enduring long term stress and financial ruin of this magnitude. A post was also made on Ripoff.com by another person devastated by Simionescu construction.