Cornerstone Group Complaint - Deceptive sales and contracting practices

Review by FL_homebuyer on 2007-07-24
BOYNTON BEACH, FLORIDA -- I purchased a home at The Preserve at Boynton Beach, a Cornerstone Group development.

I have complaints about their sales and contracting practices. My dealings with Cornerstone have been a classic “bait and switch” of misrepresentations and broken promises. These include:

• Offering to pay closing costs if I used their captive lender Liberty Home Lending, then removing that “concession” on the day of closing;
• Having Liberty give me a preliminary approval before I signed the contract, then significantly changing the terms of the “real” loan;
• Offering a significant financial concession to facilitate the sale, then substantially reducing their concession on the day of closing;
• Giving me a preliminary closing statement less than 24 hours before closing, then presenting a very different (less favorable to me) closing statement at closing; and,
• Threatening to keep my deposit if I did not sign.

My purchase was a model home. Cornerstone contracted to lease it back from me for one to two years. When I asked for my first month’s rent, they said they wanted to renegotiate the lease. I refused. They decided to vacate the model in the second month, but still have not paid me the $3,000 rent they promised for those two months.

I still do not have possession of my home as they are completing a punch list of repairs. Meanwhile I am in a leased apartment that I leased only days before they decided to vacate the model. It will cost me at least $5,000 to break this lease.

My attempts to resolve the problem are met with stonewalling. Everyone in the organization gives me a version of “Its not my decision; I’m only the messenger.” Then I was told, “You will get your rent, but it takes weeks to process a check.” Absurd!

The decision maker seems to be Cornerstone principal Lenny Wolfe. I called Mr. Wolfe at his office in Coral Gables (305-443-8288). They told me he was unavailable. I left voicemail. I also emailed him (Lenny.Wolfe@CornerstoneGrp.com). He has not responded.

Cornerstone is not a company that keeps its word. They will say whatever serves their objectives at the time, then refuse to honor their promises later.
Comments:3 Replies - Latest reply on 2007-07-27
Posted by Hugh_Jorgen on 2007-07-24:
I imagine a couple of yard signs saying "Before you buy a home here, ask me about my experiences with the builder" would go a long way toward getting him on the mood to talk with you and fix these problems - especially if he still has units for sale in the neighborhood. Best of luck.
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-07-24:
You could probably use a lawyer here.
Posted by moneybags on 2007-07-27:
You talked about a "LEASE." This is a legal, bunding contract. Sue the b----ds and report the suit to the state REAL ESTATE COMMISSION. In most states, the REC will take some sort of varied action.

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