Regular Swamplot readers will remember all the fun surrounding the collapse and shutdown of Royce Builders last year. What’s happened since? Chapter 7 bankruptcy! Plus now, says the Chronicle‘s Nancy Sarnoff:
Wisenbaker Builder Services, Suncoast Post Tension, Builders Mechanical and Luxury Baths by Arrow are collectively seeking to recover more than $1.1 million from the builder, according to the petition filed last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Thousands of home- owners could also have claims against the company.
Attorney David Jones, who is representing Royce in the bankruptcy, is compiling names of potential creditors that lists more than 12,000 people.
“Homeowners are the biggest portion,” said Jones, a partner with Porter & Hedges.
Oh, but there’s more! In a separate legal action, an educational charity that Royce owner John Speer used to promote his businesses and solicit contributions from customers is claiming that Royce failed to deliver funds raised on its behalf. A struggling charity that renamed itself the Royce Homes Foundation for Youth in 2003 — after Speer apparently promised to deliver several hundred thousand dollars a year in support — says Royce still owes it about $400K:
Beginning in 2007, the Royce Defendants failed to make their yearly contributions to the Plaintiff, and also failed to render an accounting and to turnover funds derived from the 2007 golf tournament, the 2007 sporting clays shooting tournament, and the 2008 golf tournament (the 2008 sporting clays tournament was cancelled due to the Royce Defendants going out of business). On information and belief, Defendant Speer utilized those funds to help prop up his ailing business enterprises, Defendant Royce Homes and/or Defendant Royce Builders, which were forced to go out of business in the Fall of 2008 after being challenged by numerous customers and vendors over questionable real estate transactions and improper construction of newly built homes.
The missing money was meant to go toward scholarships promised to at least 60 college students, according to Fox 26 reporter Isiah Carey.
- Creditors zero in on Royce Homes [Houston Chronicle, via Swamplot inbox]
- Plaintiff’s Original Petition, Royce Homes Foundation for Youth, f/k/a Texas Colonial Foundation for Youth vs. Royce Homes, L.P., Royce Builders, Inc., and John Speer (PDF) [Courthouse News]
- Royce Builders Faces Legal Woes [MyFox Houston]
- Royce Builders coverage [Swamplot]
Photo of former Royce Builders offices at 7850 N. Sam Houston Pkwy. West: Stewart Title