Tru-Build Homes owner in court Monday
Lima & Clifton Springs, N.Y. - An update to a Your Stories report regarding Tru-Build Homes in Lima.
Owner Anne Valentino is accused of taking money from customers, and not making payments on home construction bills and supplies.
On Monday, Valentino made an appearance in Lima Town Court. She faces a misdemeanor charge for issuing a bad check.
That $3,100 check was written out to Platinum Renovation Group for contracting work done on a home in Henrietta. The owner of Platinum Renovation Group, Andrew Northrop, said when he went to cash it, it bounced.
Another similar situation involving a home project in Clifton Springs, but this time 13WHAM heard from the homeowner.
Lesley Dick, 31, a single nurse said she saved thousands of dollars until she was prepared to build the home on her grandfather's property.
"It's sentimental," said Dick. "I bought it quite a few years ago, cleaned it up and when I was ready to build, it was nice to see my house come in."
Dick hired Tru-Build homes and construction started in July. The construction deadline was December, but her home isn't even halfway done.
Meanwhile, Dick has paid Valentino more than $100,000. A window supplier company has placed a $4,000 lien against her property, and other contractors and suppliers claim they have not been paid.
Dick is now working a second job, and only has about $60,000 left to finish building her home.
"It hurts a lot. Especially when you're doing this by yourself and everything you worked for is now just down, it's gone," said Dick.
In a statement, Valentino promises to sort through the financial issues and complete Dick's home. Valentino also claims previous customers missed payments or didn't make full payments, which eventually led to her company's fall.
Here is Valentino's full statement to 13WHAM:
"I started building houses because I wanted to help create the places where people would make memories, raise families and live out their lives. And I did manage with the help of my crew to do just that. However, the past couple of years have taken a down turn and we ran into financial difficulties, a lot of this (in fact most of it) unfortunately, can be attributed to people not paying in full, not believing they should have to pay for extra work or changes they made, and trying, just in general, to take advantage. My goal all along was to make people happy and so I often gave in, using my own money to cover upgrades and overages or letting people move in before the final draw was releasedwhich in retrospect I shouldn't have done. That hurt the budget and that ultimately hurt the company beyond repair. I am extremely proud of the homes we have done. And I certainly regret not being able to finish Lesley's home. She was one of the good homeowners to work with. And I was excited about that project. She and I spent a couple of years designing it. But the company took some major hits, again mainly in the form of customers refusing to pay what was honestly owed, or subcontractors who stole hundreds of dollars in materials from jobsites, or who simply took money for jobs they never finished. And, as it was, we just couldn't continue the project. So we are working to get any financial issues on her house resolved. I want nothing more than for her to have an amazing house in which to build her life.
A friend of mine once told me that -although it may be hard to hear--it is an extremely rough road being a woman in this business, maybe impossible in some wayspeople find it a lot easier to walk all over you. I didn't think that was true, but the past couple of years have shown me differently."
Valentino is scheduled to be back in Lima Town Court on February 22.