Gansler reaches settlement with Beltsville home builder

Keith Loria Apr. 6, 2009, 12:34pm

Doug Gansler (D)

BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) -- Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler has reached a settlement with a home builder that provides restitution to consumers whose homes were not built.

Beltsville-based home builder Westwood Design Build, Inc. and the company's owners, Michael Conrad and Mary Deitz, had their contractor's registration suspended in September after accepting deposits and payments from consumers in Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties and then not building the homes or returning payments.

The attorney general's lawsuit claimed Westwood also failed to disclose information concerning lawsuits filed against the company in its home builder registration.

"Under Maryland law, a home builder is liable to consumers for restitution if it fails to build consumers' homes," Gansler said. "As a result of this settlement, consumers whose homes were not constructed will now get compensation."

Under the terms of the settlement, Westwood and its owners agreed to pay at least $663,888 in restitution to three consumers whose homes they failed to build.

They also agreed to an injunction that requires them to stop taking payments for work they do not perform, to comply with Maryland's registration requirements for homebuilders, to post a performance bond with the Consumer Protection Division in the amount of $750,000, and to post a surety bond in the amount required by Maryland law.

The Democratic AG additionally said the company and its owners agreed to pay the a $200,000 civil penalty, which reduces to $20,000 as long as they comply with the terms of the settlement. Furthermore, the company also agreed to pay the Division $2,000 for its investigation costs.

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