The following letter is one of may contractors being ripped off by Pulte across the country. This subcontractor below was being harassed by Pulte by not paying them for their work. The contractor had reported to Pulte supervisors problems regarding inferior workmanship and other wrong doings Pulte was pulling on Pulte customers and other sub contractors. Ultimately Pulte screwed this contractor for over $400,000. Recently, Pulte tried to settle this for approximately $130,000. The offer was refused.
Here is one of many letters that were written to Pulte.
Thank you for stopping by the waterford site to see why I was picketing.
There is so much to say about the Pulte experience. I will do my best to be brief and completely factural if your are willing to look at this with belief and an open mind. My claims are simple in nature and complex in proving. The people who do the work of building a home are not good business minded people but they know their trade. They perform quality work but lack the business expertise to understand the cut throat savage world of corporate america. Therefore the small contractor will always get devoured by corporate home builders like Pulte.
About two years ago I started working as a subcontractor for Pulte Homes. After working for myself for the past 12 year I have learned to go into new ventures slowly and under control. When I started my first project for Pulte in Noank (crosswind subdivision in Groton) my intention was to take a look at their operation. I agreed to complete 5 house foundations. Since this style of home was not Pulte's bread and butter and the sites were very difficult to work, we agreed to work off
of their standard pricing(sov-schedule of value) as a base cost and use time and materials as the final costs. When I had completed three of the five foundations and looked at the costs and the amounts pulte was willing to pay I asked for a meeting to discuss the true costs. I was told there was no way Pulte would pay any more money than the sov's pricing. I was also told that you will make your money by doing volume with pulte and they always make there subcontractors money. At this
point I said I would finish the two remaining foundations and that I had know intention of doing future work for Pulte. I was told, "You don't walk away from the largest home builer in America". My responce was simple. If there is no profit, there is no reason to be here. The project manager laughed but the contracts manager knew I meant what I said.
We finished the five foundations and packed up to move on. After
two weeks of persistant phone calls from Pulte I agreed to meet with them. After a 2 1/2 hour meeting Pulte agreed to pay the fair market value for the work on the previous five foundation and agreed to pay my asking price for thirty more foundations in the Noank subdivision. I completed those foundations in (according to Pulte's statements) record time. We then entered into an agreement to do all foundation work for all of Connecticut and certain subdivisions in R.I. For the next year I
turned over $75,000.00 to $200,000.00 a month in volume for Pulte.
At one point Richmond concrete would open there plant just to service my company on the weekends. I was giving Pulte the turn around they needed. I was asked, in fact begged to perform other duties because there other subcontractor could not meet there responsiblities. I have the records to back this up. In the winter of 2000 I was asked to take over the site work at the waterford subdivision. I put a plan together prior to agreeing to take the site work. The plan and the agreement were agreed to. I continued to meet my responsibilities in the Westerly, R.I., Suffield Ct, North Kingston R.I. Mystic Ct , Noank Ct
subdivisions as well as other individual locations.
When I was asked to pour concrete on frozen ground, I thought something was changing. I refused. I was told, if we don't get this foundation in we will lose the sale. I said, if I pour on this ground I'll be out of business. Two months earlier pulte tried to blame me for cracks in a foundation that was not backfilled. I had to use the Weather Channel internet site
to get the temperture record from December 1999 and my copy of concrete delivery slips to prove the temp in Westerly never went into the red for 3 week after I completed that foundation. When I was asked to take over the utility work in Waterford I agreed. When I began I saw problems with the existing work. For weeks I screamed and yelled, This is wrong. You can't do this. I got nowhere. So I e-mailed the corporate office
in Michigan. That got me a name and phone number. I called the big boss for the east coast. I told him there are things going on here that would put us all out business. Several weeks later I was fired from all sites. Pulte filed a larceny complaint with the Waterford police. They claim I stole top soil over the holiday weekend. I was told by one Pulte corporate official that he had witnesses. I was also informed that the work I had been performing was shoddy and Pulte would have to go to great expense to repair and/or complete said work. This is their
justification for holding almost $200,000.00 in back payments.
In order to service these contracts with Pulte I needed to have
$200,000.00 to $300,000.00 in additional equipment. I spent $80,000.00 on more concrete forms. $100,000.00 for leased equipment. Over $100,000.00 in down payment for two trucks, backhoe, bull dozer, excavator and tons of hand held equipment for the sole purpose of pulte contracts.
Over the past 8 months, I have found a lot of contractors who have had the same experience I have. Frank Turisi, owner of Madd River construction, 12 North Road Pawcatuck 599-8929 (H) 823-8854 cell. Frank worked for Pulte performing excavation and site work. At one point this year he was owed over $40,000.00. Pulte would not pay him. He stopped working and spent the next 6 weeks fighting with them. They claim improper billing, shoddy work etc... Frank settled for about half the money owed and went back to work. Two months later, same drill. Frank was owed over $40,000.00 again and pulte started the same game. Frank
dug his heals in and would not waiver.
After a few months he was paid and stopped working for pulte. Frank is staying in business by a shoe string. About 18 months ago Manafort brother had the same drill done to them. I have talked to quite a few contractors who have had the same
experience with Pulte. Frank and serveral other contractors are willing to testify when my lawsuit goes to trial. Written statements have already been made.
In the past two years I've seen serveral site supervisors get fired or quit. The most recent is Mark Drew, Noank supervisor 860-701-9630 cell 860-347-1182 (H). Rick Peach, Mark Gould, Gil Laflamme were fired for refusing to play the Pulte game. Gil literally had a screaming match with Larry Lablanc, Pulte New England Market President, at the Westerly subdivision. He was fired for that confrontation. He has stated to me (last July) he could no longer be part of the Pulte game. He told me
that he confronted Lablanc for firing Madd River construction for
improper workmanship. Gil argued that Frank's work was done properly and done well. He also told Lablanc (during this screaming confrontion) that he can't keep screwing the contractors. About two months ago Larry Leblanc was forced to resign. The Boston market president took over.
It has amazed me how far Larry Lablanc was willing to go to maximize his profits. The deceptioin, lies, intimidation and strong arm tactic's are all part of Lablanc's style of business. When that doesn't have the effect he wanted he'll tie you into legal knots. Lablanc's best tactic is surprisingly simple. Hire one excavation contractor to do 10 lots as
quickly as he can. Keep the pressure on at all times. We have to have the work done or we will lose the sale. Don't worry about the additional costs, we will work it out when we get the work done. Once the work is half done or the contractor is into pulte for enough money, fire the contractor for inability to complete work in a timely and workmanlike manner. Bring in Dyer excavation (it has been told to me by serveral Pulte employees, two corporate officials and many contractors that Dyer excavation was financially established with Lablanc's money)
have Dyer excavation take over the work and claim, there are offset and setoff that Pulte has incurred because of the fired contractors inability to perform the work. Pay Dyer and keep the rest.
I firmly believe that Lablanc was taking kick backs from Dyer. When I mentioned this to the Pulte eastcoast boss he paused for about 10 seconds and he said, "I look at Lablanc's tax returns every year and I have not seen anything to indicate your accusation". I told him it was not an accusation but it is the only thing that makes sense.
On March 15, 2000 I met with Larry Lablanc, George Bourque (director of construction operations) Bob Cinquegrana (reginal site cordinator) at the Waterford subdivision. The purpose of this meeting was to agree to terms for me to take over the site work for this subdivision. There were two major problem. One - the proposed pricing from Pulte for the site work. Two - the 30,000 to 50,000 yards of stock piled material that would need to be removed from the 27 acre subdivision. I agreed to
do the site work at there pricing and they agreed the additional site work would be done at my pricing. The stock piled material was left to work out. I told Lablanc that I knew Cherenzia excavation (The contractor being replaced by me) had given pulte a price of $37,000.00 to remove the stock piled material. I proposed that if I owned the material and could screen the material and sell it that I could remove the material at no cost to pulte. Lablanc said, "That if you can do that it would be a good deal for both of us". I started operations on March 17. I have signed invoices and payments from Pulte for buying
this material from me and sending it to other subdivisions. On May 30, 2000 Pulte filed a larceny complaint with the Waterford police. There are the depths in which Pulte is willing to go to intimidate and/or strong arm it's subcontractor's.
I have been fighting an up hill battle against America's largest home builder for 8-9 months. The information I have enclosed is only a brief description. There are so many more thing that have gone on and will continue to. A lot of homeowners and contractors have talked to me while I continue to protest. I continue to gain strenth and knowledge every day. If there is anything here that you see as interesting or of public interest please contact me. As for myself, I have to file bankruptcy. How things work out for me well, time will tell. I have 7
kids and I have to keep working. How I do that and go bankrupt -I'll let you know just as soon as I know.
I will not let this go. I don't know how things will go in court but I figure they won't go well for me. So I have nothing to loose. I will continue to scream, yell, protest and write letters until justice is done.
Thank you very much for your interest and your time.
Douglas P. Fleming LLC