Building a Case

Plus: Tough to Swallow, Sound Reasoning, Rotation Spin

Building a Case

Warning shot: Your story about the Cohns' battle with Casa Builders ["Buyers' Remorse," by Wendy Grossman, June 20] is a classic example of a company that cares more about profits than about giving customers their money's worth. In my opinion, such shoddy construction is a major reason for the epidemic of mold we are seeing in homes across the country.

I sincerely wish the Cohns all the best in getting the satisfaction they deserve, and I hope that their case serves as a warning to other companies in all industries that may be tempted to shortchange their customers in the name of ever larger profits.

David Hinterberger

Home-opathic? Thank you for the great article. I am coming up on the one-year anniversary, and builder's warranty expiration, of my new home. I have a closet that smells damp, and after reading your article, it is freaking me out.

I'm not sure where to turn. It's scary to think that your biggest investment could actually make you sick or become worthless, via microorganisms.

L.L. Lund

Not-so-fine print: I feel for the Cohns about the problems they are having, but they didn't read the fine print when they spent $750,000!

What were they thinking?

This article needs to serve as a warning that your only defense as a consumer is ultimately "Let the buyer beware." All the consumer protection in the world isn't worth the headaches of trying to collect from people who have proved they are not trustworthy.

I've got to say that if I were spending that much to get a home built, I would hire my own inspector to check on each step of the process. If my builder refused to cooperate, I would walk, because I would know he has something to hide. It could be skimping on material, it could be incompetent workers, it could be anything -- but if a builder won't let you watch, it's because he (or she) has something to hide. You can take that to the bank.

Also: Hire an attorney to read the "fine" print in high-dollar contracts. Unfortunately, the Cohns signed their rights away. Don't let that happen to you.

J.H. (Jim) Stevens III

Bitter dreams: Mary Cohn, the owner of the defective Casa Builders home, is not the worst nightmare for the builder, Keith Wagner.

She is now the Texas Builders Association's worst nightmare.

Casa Builders had an opportunity to resolve this situation by simply buying the house back, letting Mary's family move on, and taking as much time as necessary to fix the house and resell it. But Wagner refused, and now the Texas Builders Association can blame him for what is coming in the next few months.

As president of the Houston Chapter of HomeOwners for Better Building, I welcome Mary and her family to our organization. With her help, we are going to change the laws and make sure this never happens again to another home buyer.

John R. Cobarruvias

Tough to Swallow

Role reversal: Dysphagia was listed as one of Carlos Coy's many "disabilities" ["South Park Monster," by John Nova Lomax, June 6]. I nearly suffered a bout of dysphagia myself, especially when Coy's family trotted out the hoary excuse of a broken family to explain Coy's criminal behavior.

South Park Mexican, the brave little gangsta who cried like a baby on the stand, is just another petty criminal whose "street cred" couldn't save him. Perhaps he'll learn in prison what it's like to be a scared 13-year-old girl.

Shawn Peterson

Ban the band: A cover story on South Park Mexican was enough, don't you think? Why review his latest bad album, especially in Local Rotation [by Craig D. Lindsey, June 13], when there are so many good, hardworking bands in Houston with new releases that need the Houston Press?

SPM is no longer relevant or interesting, and you are wasting space with him. Try to find some of the awesome bands brimming in Houston and give them some space in your paper. And not just a Houston Press award, but real praise and/or criticism.

These are the bands that, if nurtured by your newspaper, could just possibly put Houston on the national scene. The only way our bands can make it nationally is to make it here first, and the best way to do that is with a caring local arts paper.

I dream of a day when I open up the pages of the Press (or some other local paper) and find that the Houston media cares about well-written pop and rock music and dedicates time and space to the local scene.

Will you be the caring entity that helps bands?

Jason Smith, Strangelight

Editor's note: Hey -- help's already on the way. Even before Smith's letter arrived, a review on Strangelight was in hand for this week's Local Rotation.

Sound Reasoning

Noisy neighbors: If the residents of downtown's many lofts and condos were so enchanted by these New York-style living spaces, then perhaps they would like to spend a night or two in New York. Only then would they know the true meaning of "noise pollution" ["Facing the Music," by George Flynn, June 20].

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