Certification - What does it mean? Who knows...
The above ads come from the October 15, 16 & 17 SAHBA Home
Show Guide. Washburn Custom Builders may or may not be a reputable
home builder. How do you know? SAHBA keeps McCreary Homes listed
as a certified home builder with "quality standards" See the pictures
on our website at www.mymccrearyhomesucks.com and
judge for yourself about the consumer value of a SAHBA builder
certification. What does that certification mean? It means absolutely
Protest at the SAHBA Home Show - April 17th, 2004 (see our response letter below)
News Flash!!! April 17, 2004 - We picketed the Tucson Convention Center (TCC) today during the Southern Arizona Home Builders (SAHBA) Spring Show. Even Attorney General John Ashcroft would have been startled at the "SAHBA Patriot Act" imposed on us by SAHBA executives and the TCC security team who were trying to interfere with our lawful First Amendment right to protest. While things started out respectfully - by the end of the afternoon it turned ugly on the part of SAHBA and the TCC with false accusations being hurled at us in an effort to make us go away. What follows is an accounting of the day.
While strolling the public sidewalks with our signs (solidly adorned with this website address) we were greeted by two of Tucson's finest! The TCC & SAHBA had called the police. The officers were very professional and also very protective of our First Amendment Right to protest peacefully. They told us we were doing nothing wrong and were free to continue our protest.
As the afternoon wore on, and our protest continued - we were obviously having an effect on both SAHBA and McCreary Homes. Denise McCreary, President of McCreary Homes, started snapping pictures of the picket line and screaming at us from her car. She hollered something about the "money we stole from them!!" We are astounded that she would think that withholding money for a defective build is tantamount to stealing. In fact it seems to us to be a rather scurrilous accusation, tantamount to slander.
Shortly after this outburst, Mrs. McCreary backed her car up the down ramp of the TCC. Within 10 minutes of her theatrics, a group of SAHBA executives and TCC security personnel approached our group on the public sidewalk. They told our picketers that they must stop walking and accused Ray of backing our car into one of the security guards almost 1 & 1/2 hours prior to the accusation! The "injured" guard told Ray that he "wasn't going to say anything - but he was now starting to feel back pain." The fact that Ray had not been driving the car was apparently a moot point. The fact that the driver of the car did not hit anyone was also not deemed important. These "officials" told Ray he was going to be arrested. Ray's response? - "Go Ahead. Arrest Me! Please! I insist." Ray then thanked them profusely for the increased publicity they were generating. Both TCC security and SAHBA officials tried detain the group on the public sidewalk until the police arrived. We declined to be held and continued our protest. The police were called again.
Again the officers quickly determined that the charges were trumped up and bogus. First the "injured" guard identified Ray (48 years old) as the culprit - then he identified our 18 year old son - then he said it was Stacey (45 year old woman) - The actual driver was a dear family friend - 74 years old - who did nothing wrong. The officers once again displayed exemplary professionalism and told us we were free to continue our picketing. The officer also mentioned that the guard never told him of any kind of "accident" or being hit by anyone having anything to do with us when they first interviewed him - just minutes after the "incident" and approximately 1 & 1/2 hours before it was reported. It seems "coincidental" to us that this trumped up charge occurred right after Mrs. McCreary went back into the TCC. Could it be that SAHBA officials and the TCC were trying to mollify an angry woman? It is a sad day in Arizona - indeed a sad day in America when a corporation is so afraid of public exposure that they will fabricate a story to try and stop a legal protest. What could possibly explain such abhorrent standards? Are these the ethics that SAHBA and the TCC stand for? Does the City of Tucson endorse the tactics that the TCC deployed? After all the TCC is a city owned entity, and the City of Tucson should stand for its citizens legal rights to protest.
Following this short interlude with the Police we continued our protest. The only other event marring an otherwise very positive day was when McCreary's daughter drove by in a Honda Civic spewing vulgar language and snapping pictures. Like Mother, Like Daughter! How interesting to us that Mr. McCreary never showed his face. Does he let the women in the family do his fighting for him? We fully expect that either SAHBA or the McCreary's will try and take legal action to stop this website and our promotion of it. We are not afraid. We are also prepared to take legal action to protect it. The ACLU advised us on our legal rights to protest and we will fight any effort to stop us from helping other families avoid our pain. It is our mission. It is the only redemption we can find in this experience. We ask you to help. Let SAHBA, the TCC, and the City of Tucson know that you don't approve of their tactics.
You can email:
Ed Taczanowsky - Executive Vice President of SAHBA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmy Leftridge, Operations Manager of the TCC at email@example.com
Mayor Bob Walkup at the City of Tucson at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will be filing formal complaints with all of these entities on Monday morning. Since we seem to recall that filing a false police report is a criminal offense, we will also be contacting the police and district attorney for action.
We would like to thank SAHBA, the TCC and the McCreary Family for providing us with the additional motivation to continue our fight against unscrupulous builders and developers. Thanks in advance for your support and help. We truly appreciate the thousands and thousands of you who have read the website and the hundreds who have written in support. We truly appreciate your interest. It keeps us working to protect future homeowners from our devastating experience.
We were so impressed with the professionalism of the Tucson Police Officers we encountered. They were respectful and did their jobs with great courtesy and they were supportive of our First Amendment Rights even in the face of irate SAHBA and TCC officials. What is really sad, is that SAHBA could have just responded to our inquiry about how McCreary Homes could possibly be meeting their "standards" as a certified custom home builder with the shoddy work that was done on our home. Their silence led to our protest. Posted below is an ad from the 2004 SAHBA Home Show Brochure about their Certified Custom Builder Program. During the 2 years that our verified complaint was on file at the Registrar's office McCreary maintained SAHBA certification. Was there ever an annual review of his qualifications? Yet SAHBA touts this certification as maintaining "quality standards." We never received a response to our complaint about McCreary Homes. Perhaps SAHBA will explain now.
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Our Response Letters to SAHBA
SAHBA Attn: Carole Pawlak, President
2840 N. Country Club Road
Tucson , Arizona 85716
April 20, 2004
Dear Ms. Pawlak,
This letter is a formal complaint about the behavior of SAHBA management this weekend. On Saturday April 17, 2004 our family picketed the SAHBA Home Show which was being held at the Tucson Convention Center . This protest was conducted lawfully and was well within our First Amendment Civil Rights. We were protesting SAHBA's Custom Home Builder Certification process and standards and publicizing our personally devastating experience with a SAHBA certified builder. (View our website at www.mymccrearyhomesucks.com for more information)
Our protest resulted partly from your organization's total lack of response to our concerns regarding McCreary Homes. Not one of the 13 members of your executive board responded to our emailed inquiry about your standards for building certification, and your continued support of McCreary Homes. What standards would you say the pictures on our website support? These pictures are unsupportable. How can the home building public trust any of the builders affiliated with or certified by SAHBA to constitute any guarantee of quality? We trusted SAHBA's certification and look what happened to us. In the end we lost our home because the defects made our house un-saleable. Our house value dropped in half. This non-action on the part of your board was pivotal in our decision to protest, as was the advertising of McCreary Homes as a SAHBA certified builder in your Home Show program. Your apparent lack of concern regarding the quality of McCreary Home's work and the consumer who relies on your recommendations is appalling. We have been contacted by other McCreary Home owners whose experiences were similar to ours. His work is disturbingly substandard! There is an established pattern to McCreary's incompetence. We believe your support of him makes you legally liable for his work. As consumers, we relied on your certification as a sign that this was a reputable builder. We were misled by your "standards". Your lack of concern about the public was only magnified by your staff's response to our First Amendment right to legal protest and their utter disregard for our civil rights.
As a part of the protest, our car was circling the TCC with magnetic signs attached to it. The driver and the vehicle were on public roads and all traffic laws were being obeyed. Near the entrance to the main West parking lot, a member of the TCC security squad aggressively and threateningly stopped the car, commanded it be turned around and exited, and some time later falsely alleged he had been hit by the vehicle. We will leave it to the driver to relate that incident in greater detail.
Shortly after this incident the police were called by either a member of SAHBA or the TCC. After speaking with personnel from both organizations, the officers spoke with us. They informed us that we were indeed protesting lawfully and that we were free to continue. They also said that the security guard was not allowed to stop our vehicle in the manner that he did. Such behavior is an affront to law abiding citizens. This country was founded on the right to speak out and the TCC and SAHBA have obviously failed to educate their personnel about the civil right to protest.
As the afternoon wore on, and our protest continued - we were obviously having an effect on both SAHBA and McCreary Homes. Denise McCreary, president of McCreary Homes, started snapping pictures of the picket line and shouting at us from her car. She screamed "We're going to get you for the money you stole from us!!" We are astounded that she would think that withholding money for a defective build is tantamount to stealing. In fact it seems to us to be a rather scurrilous accusation, tantamount to slander. Shortly after this outburst, Mrs. McCreary illegally backed her car up the full length of the down ramp of the TCC, creating an obvious traffic hazard.
Within 10 minutes of her theatrics, a group of SAHBA executives and TCC security personnel approached our group on the public sidewalk. They told our picketers that they must stop walking and accused Ray of backing our car into one of the security guards almost 1 & 1/2 hours prior to the accusation! The facts are that Ray was not driving the vehicle and it did not hit anyone.
SAHBA Vice President Ed Taczanowsky told Ray he was going to be arrested. Ray's response? - "Go Ahead. Arrest Me! Please! I insist." Both TCC security and SAHBA officials tried detain the group on the public sidewalk. We declined to be held and continued our protest. The whole incident was emotionally traumatizing to the members of our group particularly the two members threatened with arrest. The police were called again.
Once more, the officers quickly determined that the charges were trumped up and bogus. First the "injured" guard identified Ray (48 years old) as the culprit - then he identified our 18 year old son - then he said it was Stacey (44 year old woman) - The actual driver was a male - 74 years old - who did nothing wrong. The officers once again displayed exemplary professionalism and told us we were free to continue our picketing. The officer also mentioned that the guard never told him of any kind of "accident" or being hit by anyone having anything to do with us when they first interviewed him - just minutes after the "incident" and approximately 1 & 1/2 hours before it was reported. It is clear to us that your "victim" could not even distinguish between male and female let alone the age of the person he accosted and who he claims "hit" him.
It seems "coincidental" to us that this trumped up charge occurred right after Mrs. McCreary went back into the TCC. Could it be that SAHBA officials and the TCC were trying to mollify an angry woman? It is a sad day in Arizona - indeed a sad day in America when a corporation is so afraid of public exposure that they will fabricate a story to try and stop a legal protest. What could possibly explain such abhorrent standards? This is the kind of behavior one would expect in Communist China or a third world dictatorship. Are these the ethics that SAHBA and the TCC stand for?
At what point did your group decide that infringing on the civil rights of others was an appropriate response to a lawful protest? At what point did your Vice- President, Mr. Taczanowsky decide that it was your right to inform others they were about to be arrested. Is he a police officer? Was he threatening a citizen's arrest? Or were your staff provoking peaceful protesters and escalating things into a confrontation? We knew our rights. We had consulted with the ACLU to determine the parameters of a legal protest - and we never broke those parameters. We will be consulting with them further to find out our legal rights to both your personal, and your organizations interference with our civil rights.
We understand why SAHBA was upset. It is always uncomfortable to have the public become aware of ones shortcomings. However, to fabricate criminal acts, file false police reports and try and incite the protesters by physically putting themselves in the middle of what was a very polite and peaceful protest seems unwise at best and criminal at worst. In fact we understand that it is a criminal offense to file a false police report.
On both occasions that the police were called, the officers protected our right to protest and affirmed that we were within the bounds of legal behavior. We were neither arrested (as both SAHBA and TCC officials told us we would be) nor were we cited.
Both SAHBA and the TCC should be required to explain why they interfered with a lawful demonstration and why they tried to escalate a peaceful protest into a confrontation. Lizzette Galindo, Home Show Manager of SAHBA made disparaging remarks to our 18 year old son, and actually called him "pathetic" for his peaceful protest. She also put her face within 12 inches of Ray's face looking him up and down. Her effort to escalate and her obvious interference with our protest was outrageous. What is truly pathetic is the response from both SAHBA and the TCC and the infringement of our civil rights by both organizations.
Is this the training your employee's receive? We expect an answer from you about what your security policy is regarding civil protest, what training you provide, and what corrective measures you are taking against those who interfered with our right to protest. Certainly SAHBA recognizes that when our civil rights are allowed to be eroded by unlawful interference it weakens the Constitution for all of us.
You should also be aware that we will continue our efforts to educate the home building public about the lack of meaning behind SAHBA designated builder certification and will continue meeting and talking to the state legislature about reform. SAHBA's inappropriate behavior against our civil rights has only strengthened our resolve. Just because SAHBA is able to buy political influence does not allow you the arrogance to trample on our civil rights. Until SAHBA actually has a designated builder program that sets verifiable standards, with rules that actually protect and inform the public - we will exercise our constitutional rights and continue to picket at all your future public events.
May 18, 2004
SAHBA Attn: John Shorbe , President
2840 N. Country Club Road
Tucson , Arizona 85716
Dear Mr. Shorbe,
On April 20th we sent a certified letter to SAHBA (copy attached) regarding the interference of several of your employees in a civil protest. At the time of writing our letter it was our information (from the SAHBA website) that Ms. Pawlak was president of SAHBA. We regret that the letter was not appropriately addressed to you. That not withstanding, it has been almost a month since we contacted SAHBA and there has been no response to our inquiry. It would seem that this is ample time to discuss the events of April 17 th and arrive at an appropriate letter of explanation.
We would appreciate your response by May 28, 2004. Should there be no response by that date, we will assume your organization will not be forthcoming and we will proceed with other options for redress.
NEITHER MS. PAWLAK OR MR. SHORBE EVER RESPONDED
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