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Not all golden at Golden Homes

A deck and a sheet of Visqueen mark the location of a manufactured home that was removed so a new one could be put in its place, in Kingston. Owner Peter Miele said he learned after he bought the new home that he’d have to pay an additional $12,000 in site preparation costs. He doesn’t have the money, so his home has not been delivered.                          - Kipp Robertson / Herald
A deck and a sheet of Visqueen mark the location of a manufactured home that was removed so a new one could be put in its place, in Kingston. Owner Peter Miele said he learned after he bought the new home that he’d have to pay an additional $12,000 in site preparation costs. He doesn’t have the money, so his home has not been delivered.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Herald

This is part one of a two-part series.

POULSBO — Juanita DeLuna of Poulsbo said she gave Golden Homes of Poulsbo $20,000 down for a manufactured home and lot, a place she envisioned as a new home for her family of eight.

But when she didn’t qualify for a mortgage, she went back to Golden Homes to get her deposit back. Five weeks later, the housecleaner said she is still out $20,000.

Others say she’s not the first.

Peter Miele, a Washington State Ferries engineer and Kingston resident, said he gave Golden Homes $67,000 in 2009 for a manufactured home that is still sitting on the lot on Viking Way.

Martha J. McMurray of Port Orchard said she’s still owed thousands of dollars after Golden Homes owner Kelly Rohr walked away from installing proper skirting, a driveway and a  wheelchair ramp.

Another couple won a judgment against Rohr — in excess of $50,000, said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity. The judgment was verified by court records. The collection agency garnished some money from Rohr’s bank account but is still trying to collect on the rest.

At his Golden Homes office on Viking Way Monday, Rohr pulled out contracts and pointed out provisions that state the buyer has to “actively seek financing” or Golden Homes can keep a portion of the down payment to cover losses from taking the home off the market. Contract provisions state that the cost listed on the contract is for delivery and set up only, not site preparation.

But in DeLuna’s case, she said she was not given a copy of the purchase and sale agreement, despite asking for a copy several times. Miele’s contract lists the cost of the house, delivery and setup as $65,610, but does not indicate any costs beyond that. The contract states the seller and buyer have specific responsibilities “for site preparation, delivery and installation as defined in Part IV,” but Part IV of the contract was not included with Miele’s copy. The warrantee for the house has another couple’s name on it. The contract lists incorrect serial numbers for the house.

An additional $12,500 in costs for preparing Miele’s property for the house was not included in the purchase and sale agreement; it was written up in a separate bid two months after the purchase contract was signed. The acceptance of proposal and conditions for work are not signed or initialed by Miele or Rohr.

Since the house was replacing a house that had been on his property for several years — Miele said the new and old houses were the same size — he didn’t expect there would be any other expense, like the contract indicated.

McMurray also said she was told of additional costs after the house was delivered.

A look at public records reveal a company beset by court judgments, fines for unlicensed work, expired permits, and unpaid workers compensation premiums. The Better Business Bureau has received three service-related complaints about Golden Homes in the last three years. The bureau gave Golden Homes an F grade because it failed to respond to two complaints and a third complaint was not resolved, according to the bureau website.

According to the Department of Labor & Industries database, Rohr’s construction contractor’s license was suspended Dec. 21, 2009 and expired Aug. 13.

His policy with Northland Insurance expired March 28, 2010. He has been paying L&I $2,914.90 in back workers’ compensation premiums, and in 2008 was fined a total of $1,750 for doing electrical work he wasn’t licensed to do. His Poulsbo business license for Rohr Enterprises expired Dec. 31, his business license for Golden Homes of Poulsbo expired May 31.

According to the Kitsap County Assessor’s online database, Rohr also owes a total of $3,138.63 in delinquent taxes for two properties in Port Orchard.

It wasn’t always like this, said Rohr, who bought Golden Homes in 2003. Photos in his office show pictures of previous jobs — he and crews putting in driveways next to attractive homes, some two-story with a daylight basement. A dry-erase board on his office wall shows 10 homes scheduled for delivery from June to September. Recent clients include The Point Casino, which has bought a house for use as a security office. On his wall are several “Outstanding Sales Awards” from Skyline manufactured homes.

According to his website, Rohr, 51, has worked on construction sites, including “septic systems, foundations, garages, decking, pavement, remodeling, flooring, and more. He partners with carefully selected companies to hook up utilities, gutters, skirting, obtain county permits, helping you obtain financing and for all your needed, right down to the final detail … We can help you get your financing with construction loans, conventional, FHA, VA and even be able to help you trade in your current manufactured home to move up.”

Shari Purves-Reiter, a contractor compliance officer with the state Department of Labor and Industries, said Rohr’s license to install homes is still active and he’s bonded for $40,000. “He can install, but he can’t build a driveway or garage,” she said.

“Everybody’s having a tough time,” Rohr said. “My ex-wife sued me. Things hit me at a very bad time. When the economy goes to pot, people become a lot more critical with money.”

Rohr said the economy  and losses he’s sustained — business is down 80 percent from when he bought Golden Homes, he said — have forced him to be “stiffer” with his contracts. He said he once delivered a house to a Jefferson County buyer and didn’t get paid before he did the work.

“I told him we need to close this loan, and he said he wasn’t going to do it until I built this garage. He stiffed me for $125,000. It cost me over $56,000 in attorney fees and I got a judgment for $178,000.” Rohr said he never got the money.

— Next week: Client says he’s working second job to pay the mortgage on a home he doesn’t have.

 

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