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Homeowner In Dispute Over House Reconstruction

By Libby Smith

DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver homeowner was locked in a months-long legal battle with a construction company that was threatening foreclosure on her home.

Maria Gordon's home was totaled. A drunk driver slammed into the house in 2013, compromising the structure and severely injuring Gordon.

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Gordon's damaged house (credit: Maria Gordon)

"I've had a long recovery," Gordon told CBS4.

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Gordon's injuries. (credit: Maria Gordon)

Since the crash, she's been trying to get her house back.

"We had to go into a rebuild because the foundation was cracked and the side of the walls were cracked," Gordon explained.

BELFOR Property Restoration agreed to do the work for $142,252.98, the exact amount the insurance company estimated it would cost to rebuild.

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(credit: CBS)

"It took two years," Gordon told CBS4.

Two years to rebuild the 1,400 square foot home.

"We know that there were major delays, but we don't know the reasons why," Gordon said.

When she started to look into it, she found expired permits, inspections that were missed, and work that needed to be redone.

"The roof had failed several times," Gordon said.

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Gordon's rebuilt house (credit: CBS)

Gordon and her husband moved back into the house in April of 2015, but they say there are still construction problems, including flooring that's buckling and siding that's coming away from the house. A third-party home inspection outlined the issues.

"About $135,000 worth of repairs," Gordon added.

BELFOR said it hasn't been paid for the initial work. It filed a lien on the property for $274,000 when Gordon's insurance company refused to pay for added costs. BELFOR threatened to foreclose.

"While Ms. Gordon was recovering from her injuries, they had her sign this blanket authorization that says she'll be responsible for all bills even if the insurance company doesn't pay," said Jesse Witt, a housing lawyer representing Gordon.

Witt said the blanket authorization is a standard practice among construction companies, and can make homeowners liable for any extra expenses.

"Read the documents carefully. Don't be afraid to ask what this means, don't be afraid to put a limit on there," Witt advised.

In a statement to CBS4, Belfore Property Restoration said:

BELFOR is aware of the various issues Maria Gordon has raised regarding the re-construction of her home. BELFOR has been actively working to address those issues for more than a year. Most recently, BELFOR retained an independent engineering consultant to inspect Ms. Gordon's home and to identify any work that needs to be corrected. BELFOR has offered to make repairs or to permit Ms. Gordon to retain a portion of her insurance proceeds, sufficient to pay another contractor to do the same work. Unfortunately, BELFOR's efforts have not resulted in a resolution of this dispute. Ms. Gordon has elected to keep more than $100,000 of the insurance money that was intended to cover BELFOR's work. Consequently, BELFOR was left with no alternative but to exercise its rights under the Colorado's mechanic's lien statutes in an attempt to recoup the insurance proceeds issued to Ms. Gordon to pay for BELFOR's work.  BELFOR will continue to do what's right in an effort to resolve this matter.

"We have never received the final walk through with the contractor," Gordon said. "I want them to repair the problems that they caused. I want them to understand that I'm not going to pay for any additional work that I didn't request.

Ultimately, Maria Gordon and BELFOR Property Restoration were able to come to a confidential settlement in this case that did not result in Gordon losing her home.

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you'd like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.

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