The former owner and CEO of Primera / Maravilla homes, Michael (Mike) Kelly recently attempted to sail off into the sunset leaving approximately 50 homeowners in the Maravilla subdivision in Austin, Texas with unfinished homes and liens on their properties. Numerous facts have come to light that Mike Kelly paid himself and his wife Allison Kelly hundreds of thousands of dollars, while in essence operating a real-estate ponzi scheme.
Kelly recently filed bankruptcy, but before he did so, Steve and Kara Buell (Buell Custom Homes) approached the Maravilla homeowners with a supposed solution to complete the development and save homeowners credit. Steve Buell claims to have many years of construction experience and his wife, Kara Buell, is a licensed realtor in the Austin area.
Steve Buell told homeowners that if they contributed $25,000 per property, he could finish the community and get all homeowners out from their mortgages. In response, the group raised $1.2 million and paid this to Steve Buell to finish their homes so people could move on with their lives. Unfortunately, Steve and Kara Buell are either completely incompetent and have no idea how to manage a construction project and sell homes, or are as corrupt as Mike Kelly.
Within 3 months of the homeowners having funded the Buell project with $1.2 million dollars, Buell returned to the group and stated that he is out of money and would not be able to finish people's homes without significant cash contributions. It should be noted that one of the first things Buell did as the new project manager was to pay himself a large signing bonus ($60,000) and to pay funds to certain individuals he was explicitly instructed not to pay.
Many people gave Buell thousands of dollars, only to find out that he did no work on their home and likely had no intention to ever do any work on their home. This is illustrated by the fact that approximately 20 people that had mortgages with National City Mortgage each contributed $25,000 each to Buell for their homes to be completed. National City stopped construction before Buell began and put all 20 homeowners loans in default, given the situation. Steve Buell refused to refund these homeowners their $25,000 - despite the fact that he did nothing for them. Instead, Buell has kept this money - approximately $500,000. Outright thievery.
Steve Buell has personally caused many people's financial ruin. It was bad enough that the first builder Mike Kelly defrauded everyone, but Steve Buell came in and and ensured that many of these homeowners completely depleted their life savings and now face bankruptcy.
Buell now claims that he did everything aboveboard and had no bad intentions. If that is the case, Steve, why don't you repay all the salary and bonuses you drew from the homeowners? How about repaying the ~ $500,000 from the National City Mortgage homeowners?
Steve, I hope the fraud was worth all the civil and criminal lawsuits you will soon face. You may have thought because 50 homeowners were desperate that they were easy targets - but guess what? You have just fueled their fire and many of these homeowners are going after crook #1 now - Mike Kelly, but you are next on the radar.
Warning: DO NOT UTILIZE STEVE OR KARA BUELL FOR ANY HOME CONSTRUCTION, CONTRACTING, OR REALTY SERVICES. Best case scenario: the Buell's are incompetent; more likely: they are con-artists that have ruined many people's lives.