Consumer Watch: Homebuilding Turns Into Nightmare For Oklahoma Winery Owners

Tuesday, November 9th 2010, 4:38 pm
By: News 9

Amanda Taylor, News 9 Consumer Watch Team

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- A Norman couple has fulfilled their dream of opening a winery. But building a house next door has turned into a nightmare.

Rick and Staci Vollmer's home is not finished and they blame their builder, Isaiah Avila with Avila's Designer Homes.

"We could lose our winery and our dream," said Staci. "My husband wanted to retire this year and he may not be able to because of all of this."

The first sign of a problem was when the Vollmers got a letter from the city of Norman stating the builder did not get the right slab inspection.

Then, among other problems, they said, were that they paid for some things more than once. Staci said they paid Avila for the windows but he didn't pay the supply company, so that company filed a lien on the property. In order to get that lien removed, Staci had to purchase the windows again, this time paying the supplier directly.

Fed up and frustrated, Staci sent Avila a letter giving him 15 days to fix other problems. But instead, he filed a lien on their incomplete home for about $20,000.

Avila's attorney, Joe Lankford, said the Vollmers owe Avila money.

"They started off wanting to build a smaller house and then they kept keeping coming back making changes," said Lankford. "Yet, they don't want to pay him for the changes made."

But Staci said the builder decided to make the ceiling higher and that there would be no extra cost to that.

Now Staci is just hoping for one thing.

"I would just want him to do what's right here," said Staci. "I would ask him to go and take this lien off of our property and do the right thing.

That may now be up to a judge. The Vollmers plan to sue Avila.

As for liens, protect yourself by paying the supplier or subcontractors directly or get what's called a lien waiver from the builder.