Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed settlement agreements with two Willamette Valley businessmen and their corporation for failure to provide goods or services following the sale of several manufactured homes. Named in Assurances of Voluntary Compliance filed in Marion County Circuit Court are David S. Willcox of Lebanon and Frank V. Ball, Jr. of Jefferson, respectively president and secretary of Oregon Homes, Inc., formerly known as Santiam Mortgage Corporation that did business as Oregon Homes.
"The collapse of this business left a debris field of failed promises and unhappy consumers," Myers said. "As part of our continuing reformation of the manufactured housing industry, we stopped the conduct, prevented future harm to others and obtained some relief for victims who did not have legal counsel."
Beginning in 2002, the Department of Justice received a series of complaints against Santiam Mortgage Corporation and its principles, Ball and Willcox. The complaints allege that after the company expanded into the sale of manufactured housing, it was accepting money for homes that were not being built or, if delivered, had various construction issues.
The two "mortgage brokers turned construction contractors" hoped to sell a dozen manufactured homes a year from a sales lot in Albany but became over-extended and performed poorly as sellers of manufactured housing. During this time, Willcox and Ball allegedly coerced consumers into interim financing when it wasn't needed.
The respondents lost both their mortgage broker and contractors' licenses and closed the sales lot in Albany. They moved the operation into their office and then everything was moved to the homes of Willcox and Ball, where they now operate under the license of another mortgage broker, US Financial.
Under the agreements, Willcox and Ball agreed to go permanently out of the business of selling manufactured homes. Ball can engage in mortgage lending when working under the supervision of a licensed mortgage lender but cannot have a mortgage lending license or business. For the next four years, Willcox can only engage in mortgage brokering or lending only under the supervision of a licensed mortgage broker/lender and can finance manufactured housing. Neither respondent can participate in working on interim financing while working for a mortgage lender if he is a principal in the project or doing construction on the project.
The respondents agreed to resolve lending and construction issues of two consumers and each pay the Department of Justice consumer protection and education fund $14,000. If half of the money is paid on time, $7,000 will be permanently forgiven in the agreements. If the $7,000 is not paid, each will owe Justice $14,000. Ball has paid Justice $7,000.
Consumers interested in buying a manufactured home should always research the financing companies, manufacturers and dealers before purchasing.
Always check on licensing of a mortgage lender by calling the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Finance and Corporate Securities Division (DFCS) at (503) 378-4240 or online at www.cbs.state.or.us/dfcs.
Call the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) to make sure the companies that manufacture, do set-ups and install skirting or repair or remodel manufactured homes are licensed and bonded and have insurance at (503) 378-4621 or online at www.ccb.state.or.us.
Manufactured dealers must be licensed through the Driver and Motor Vehicles Division (DMV) of the Oregon Department of Transportation. Contact them at (503) 945-5000 or online at www.odot.state.or.us/dmv/.
Check on a company's complaint history by calling the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only), or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. The Oregon Department of Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Potential buyers of manufactured homes should call the Attorney General's consumer hotline and request a copy of the brochure "Buying a Manufactured Home: Agencies & Information You Should Know About."
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org