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COURT FINDS WEINSCHENK HOMES DEFECTIVE; SALE OF THEM UNFAIR AND DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICE
December 24, 2002
DECEMBER 23, 2002
LINDA J. CONTI, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Attorney General Steven Rowe announced today that Maine Superior Court Justice S. Kirk Studstrup has declared that Frederic Weinschenk and Rick Weinschenk Builders, Inc., violated the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act by building and selling defective homes in greater Portland. Weinschenk was the builder of the Cottage Park, Summer Place, and Willow developments. The Court ordered restitution to consumers in specific amounts totaling $221,256. In addition to the restitution, the Court permanently enjoined Weinschenk from building homes in Maine unless he:
Employs a professional engineer to certify that the home is built to applicable codes and generally accepted building practices;
- Has all home building plans reviewed and stamped by a Maine licensed engineer or architect;
- Submits copies of all advertising or promotional materials for Attorney General review; and
- Submits copies of contracts and specifications for each home for Attorney General review. The judgment follows a six-day trial before Justice Studstrup without a jury in September.
The Court focused primarily on leaking roofs and windows in the Weinschenk homes, calling them "major defects" and the construction practices "substandard" in "a pattern which constitutes an unfair trade practice." The Court also cited a major crack in the foundation that "virtually bisects" one of the homes and called it "a prime example of poor workmanship."
Assistant Attorneys General Linda Conti and Carolyn Silsby handled the case for the State. Conti said, "We are very pleased that the Court ordered restitution and injunctive relief that will require Weinschenk to change his building practices."
Attorney General Rowe said that the case underscored the need for licensing of home building contractors and a statewide home building code. "All Mainers would agree with the Court that 'the quintessential definition of a house must include protection from the elements.' We need basic statewide building standards and a way to certify that builders know them."