GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In several pricey neighborhoods around Kent County, half-built dream homes sit abandoned, and the families who invested in them are devastated.
The builder, Infiniti Custom Homes, is under investigation for allegedly ripping off home buyers and subcontractors.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department told News 8 it’s investigating three complaints against Infiniti and its owners, Rich and Stacey Rendon.
The department requested that anyone impacted by Infiniti’s alleged wrongdoing call Detective Postma at 616.632.6488.
Rich and Stacey Rendon started Infiniti in 2006 and earned a solid reputation as a builder of luxury homes, even winning awards in the Parade Of Homes.
But last Spring, the company began to falter.
On Oct. 15, Rich Rendon filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, claiming debts of $3.2 million.
Of that, $1,186,000 is owed to seven different buyers whose dream homes Infiniti was supposed to be building.
In a luxury development near 4 Mile Road and Egypt Valley Avenue NE, there’s a half-built home on one street and a foundation on another.
A realtor told News 8 five families that paid Infiniti to build in the development have learned the company failed to use draws from construction loans to pay subcontractors.
In a quaint neighborhood near downtown Ada, construction on another home was halted seven or eight weeks ago.
South of 84th Street and east of the Thornapple River, an Infiniti home sits unfinished in an upscale development.
Two families that moved into completed homes in the same subdivision told News 8 they recently learned their subcontractors had not been paid either.
According to Rich Rendon’s bankruptcy filing, three buyers lost more than $100,000 each, while three more families were out more than $200,000 each.
Rich Rendon reported debts of $1,173,670 owed to 27 businesses, including suppliers and subcontractors throughout West Michigan.
One vendor, West Michigan Lumber, is out more than $600,000.
The Rendons have vacated their own home in Belmont and did not respond to calls and texts from News 8.
The firm representing Rich Rendon in his bankruptcy, Keller & Almassian, told News 8 it had no comment.
The bankruptcy filing offers one possible hint about the cause of Infiniti’s downfall.
Regarding claims he might have against third parties, Rich Rendon reported, “Potential interest in possible claims against banks and/or online casinos.”
One home buyer has filed suit in 17th Circuit Court against Infiniti and the Rendons.
The plaintiffs reported they paid Infiniti $167,800 to begin construction of their home.
The suit claimed Rich and Stacey Rendon used the money “for their own purposes” and “with the intent to defraud” the home buyer.
It’s not clear how Infiniti obtained draws on the construction loans since they’re traditionally required to submit “lien waivers,” signed by subcontractors to prove they’d been paid.
Subcontractors contacted by News 8 said they had not signed waivers since they had not been paid.