June 6, 2002
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
PROTECTION DIVISION ISSUES CEASE AND DESIST ORDER AGAINST EASTERN
SHORE HOME BUILDER
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer
Protection Division has issued a cease and desist order against
a home builder that has filed for bankruptcy, leaving many customers'
custom homes on the Eastern Shore uncompleted. Nanticoke Homes,
Inc., of Greenwood, Delaware, and its principals, John H. Mervine,
Sr., John H. Mervine, Jr., Peggy Mervine, William H. Mervine and
Gregory Mervine, were charged with violating Maryland's Consumer
Protection Act and Custom Home Protection Act.
immediate cease and desist order has been issued requiring Nanticoke
Homes to post a bond to cover any future deposits or payments it
receives from consumers for building homes in Maryland, and to disclose
information to the Division. At a hearing scheduled before the Office
of Administrative Hearings on September 27, 2002, the Division will
also seek restitution for at least 20 Maryland consumers whose homes
were not built as promised, as well as civil penalties and costs.
Homes shut down its offices on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in
January 2002, and then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on March
1, 2002 in Delaware. The Division charges that the builder accepted
deposits and other monies from consumers in the months before its
bankruptcy filing, when it knew it was in financial difficulty and
knew, or should have known, that it could not complete construction
as promised. Nanticoke Homes did not protect the customers' advance
payments by placing them in an escrow account or securing them through
a bond or letter of credit, as required by Maryland law. The builder
did not finish construction of some of the homes. Some consumers
paid to have other contractors complete the construction of their
homes. Other homes remain uncompleted, or were never begun. In addition,
Nanticoke Homes did not pay its subcontractors, who have threatened
to bring mechanics' liens proceedings against the consumers.
public hearing on the charges will be held at the Maryland Office
of Administrative Hearings, 11101 Gilroy Road, Hunt Valley, Md.,
on September 27, 2002. Any consumer who entered into a contract
with Nanticoke Homes, Inc., on or after January 1, 2001 and whose
home was not completed should contact the Consumer Protection Division's
Home Builder Registration Unit at (410) 576-6573.