Photo above: Robert M. Meyers
Housebuilder from Hell: Robert "Bob" Meyers
Meyers left behind a decade-long wake of Connecticut new home buyers alleging he ripped them off.
Why did Connecticut agencies give him a pass? And how did Meyers become a licensed building inspector?
Last update February 21, 2015
TRIAL UNDERWAY FEB. 23, 2015 HARTFORD SUPERIOR COURT, ROOM 400
Here is what four other consumers told state officials in complaints about Robert M. "Bob" Meyers long before I ever came in contact with the new home contractor:
Those are the words of four different customers of Robert M. "Bob" Meyers -- the subject of this website and the scoundrel I have named "Housebuilder from Hell." Welcome to the website www.robertmeyers.info I am Joe Cohen of Chester, Connecticut. I created this website in summer 2013 to make public the story of Robert M. "Bob" Meyers of the Moodus section of East Haddam, CT. Meyers is formerly of Durham, CT; he is employed as building inspector by Middlefield, CT.
I started this website after I became a victim of Meyers in 2010. I was living outside Chicago, IL when I contracted with Meyers -- who was unlicensed in violation of the law while soliciting my business -- to build a house for my retirement in Chester, CT on land I had owned for more than 10 years. Meyers destroyed my building project by first creating a range of problems, then Meyers used the problems he had created as an excuse to run off with more than $40,000 of my money. Meyers used my money -- money he later acknowledged was mine -- to pay a number of his personal bills. Those bills included paying a lawyer to work against me, to build himself a new house, to pay his divorce lawyer and social worker counselor, for credit card debt and motorcycles and other personal debt.
Meyers then threatened and taunted me -- intentionally seeking to aggravate me. Meyers did that to make my life hell, hoping like other customers driven over the edge, I'd let him walk away with my money. Or if I fought back, Meyers likely thought he could kill me, have me arrested, cause a mental breakdown or otherwise force me to become perceived as the aggressor and lawbreaker. That is a Meyers' pattern of behavior. Meyers even hired a private detective to probe my background and personal life in an attempt to find something to humiliate or blackmail me with. Meyers is a nasty s.o.b. -- a man who I and other victims believe has a strong criminal inclination.
In summer 2013 when I started this website (which is on occasion updated), I realized Meyers already had played a role in helping drive one customer who complained about Meyers' business dealings to the customer's death. Meyers had driven another customer who had complained to the point where the customer allegedly threatened to kill Meyers. Meyers so antagonized other customers who complained that some were scared to speak up, some preferred to pretend all was well, and some licked financial and other wounds and went away quietly. I chose not to.* This website will hopefully warn others as I should have been warned about Meyers.
(*Note: Before filing a lawsuit in February 2011 against Meyers -- which Meyers challenged me to do while threatening to sue me -- and afterward, I attempted to negotiate a reasonable settlement, documented in emails and court records. Meyers rejected all offers including: $40,000 in 2010, $55,000 in 2011, and $88,000 in 2012. Meyers never offered to return a single dollar.)
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Meyers believes he can gain -- and it appears he has repeatedly -- by bullying those who believe in right and wrong, who believe in the law, and who believe in seeing society protected from people like Bob Meyers. I also was angry (and remain so). I am motivated by $40,000 or more I contend Meyers stole, a messed up building lot, more than $200,000 in legal bills and tens of thousands of dollars in other expenses. I believe Bob Meyers has done the same thing over and over: Take people's money, screw up enough, and walk away without meeting his obligations -- but with a pile of other people's money. I now believe Meyers' plan in signing on in 2010 as general contractor to build my new house was to steal enough money to carry himself through being broke; Meyers was anticipating a hefty divorce settlement and lining up a job as Middlefield, CT building inspector. Mine would be the last house Meyers wouldn't build before his new career as a public official.
In trying to understand Bob Meyers the Housebuilder from Hell, it is important to note that until I came along in 2010/2011, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection had done nothing to rein Meyers in during more than a decade of serious, written complaints -- including the complaints listed above in 2001, 2004, 2006, and 2008. Some of the complaints were literally cries of desperation and begging for help. The offices of Connecticut's chief prosecutor and the attorney general and the courts also did nothing to rein in Meyers. These institutions -- supported by tax dollars -- make claims about helping consumers and upholding the law and being fair, but all too often the claims are hollow. In Meyers' case, there was a 10-year history of conumer abuse and complaints before mine -- and nothing was done to deter Meyers. Nothing.
Here's a typical example of how state agencies treat victims with legitimate complaints, telling them: "... the nature of your complaint appears to fall more appropriately under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Consumer Protection." That's the answer the state's top criminal prosecutor -- Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane -- gave a complainant after reviewing for two months a legitimate accusation against Bob Meyers. Kane's office initially tried the same run-around on me. What do you do when all the state agencies tell you the same thing: Take your complaint to somebody else. Victims got the run-around again and agan, and Bob Meyers was empowered.
Let me put Bob Meyers as I know him -- a member of a supposedly civilized society -- into context:
Sadly, Bob Meyers has had much enabling help in his illegal, unethical and irresponsible behavior by counselors, lawyers, judges, state and local officials in a state that has in the past 20 years become known as "Corrupticut" -- corrupt Connecticut. Even as this is written, I continue to examine links between Meyers and state officials who themselves appear to be thugs and lawbreakers, and judges whose backgrounds or current behavior might lead one to believe they are corrupt or incompetent (including one termed incompetent by her own political party at her appointment).
Before my complaint to the Department of Consumer Protection in 2011, Bob Meyers had gone for more than a decade with complaints from multiple individuals without so much as a fine equal to a parking ticket or a slap on the wrist. Why? Corrupticut -- a place with a broken system in which victims are victimized a second time for complaining and seeking justice.
Even with this more than decade of complaints by multiple parties, Bob Meyers still was able to become a state-licensed building inspector in 2010. Meyers was recommended for the license by building inspectors from Durham and East Haddam -- towns where the vast majority of complaints against Meyers were made by consumers who believed he ripped them off. In East Haddam, Bob Meyers built a house while he was not licensed as a New Home Contractor -- and that town's building inspector ignored that and other documented violations of state and local law and went on to recommend Meyers to become a building inspector.
This is not a pretty story -- it tells of law-breaking, building code violations, losses totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, the death of an aggrieved home buyer, an alleged threat of extreme violence -- and all centered on Bob Meyers, originally from Meriden, CT, and now named as "Housebuilder from Hell." It is a story that at first most people think cannot be true. Readers be warned: It is true and any contact with Bob Meyers can mean permanent damage to you or your loved ones. How can one man cause so much destruction, so much pain, lie to so many people -- and get away with it for so long?
The answer is complicated, and simple. Bob Meyers is a thug, a criminal and expert liar who has over many years learned the legal system too often works to protect the guilty, the regulatory system doesn't work well at all, and if you are brazen and bully enough, most people back down. In more than four years I have been looking into Meyers' life, I have learned it is common for Meyers to not tell the truth and to not accept responsibility for what he has done.
When I filed a lawsuit against Bob Meyers in early 2011, one of the first things his lawyer did was seek a gag order to prevent me from discussing anything learned in the discovery/deposition stage of the court case. That stage has gone on for almost four years with delay after delay in getting to trial, most delays engineered by Meyers and his attorney and enabled by sympathetic or biased judges. I have to be careful to abide by the gag order -- I've been held in contempt of court and fined once (summer 2013) for violating the gag order. In my defense, I would note the information disclosed for which I was held in contempt was all from public records obtainable using the state Freedom of Information Act. I also note I acted in 2013 after I realized the court system -- like the regulatory system -- was broken and corrupt in some ways, and that there was as much likelihood I would get fair treatment and a fair trial in Middlesex Superior Court as I would win the lottery. I also worried at that time that Meyers would break me financially, mentally or physically, and that like one of his other victims (John Christopher of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey), I might end up dead, with Meyers' story untold and deliberately buried. Fortunately, my case was transferred in late 2013 (over Meyers' objection) to the Complex Litigation Docket and Waterbury Superior Court. It later (February 2015) was transferred to Hartford Superior Court due to a procedural matter, where it is scheduled for trial in late winter 2015.
Let me tell you some of the things Bob Meyers does not want you to know, all of which I would contend reflect on Meyers' poor moral character, his criminal and anti-social inclinations, and that confirm he is a liar and a cheat and a lawbreaker. They include:
1. Bob Meyers appears to have lied about his education in becoming a state-licensed building inspector and being hired to work for the Town of Middlefield. Bob Meyers is a school dropout with at best a marginal middle school education, who claimed to a government entity in writing to be a high school graduate. Meyers justifies his claim to have a high school degree because he paid an Internet diploma mill for a diploma available in a matter of minutes to anyone with a credit card.
2. Bob Meyers has been the subject of multiple complaints over a decade or more made to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, Attorney General, Chief's State's Attorney, Office of the Chief State Building Inspector and to the State Police. The complaints are almost all public records, although some are hard to access and in some instances they "disappeared" from state files (Hard to believe? It is Corrupticut -- and that can reach into a courthouse or state office).
3. As noted above, Bob Meyers built a house off Alger Road in East Haddam in 2009-2010 which he sold to a consumer in mid-2010 who believed he was properly licensed as a New Home Contractor. Meyers had let his license lapse in 2009 and was working in violation of the law right through the sale of the house for $309,000. Meyers solicited my business also during this time period, which violated the law covering New Home Contractor licensing (technically referred to as "registration").
4. Meyers was cited by the state in 2011 for violating New Home Contractor rules and regulations. That was as a result of my complaint. Meyers paid a $250 fine, and signed an agreement of voluntary compliance. It is the only time the state followed through on a complaint regarding Meyers.
5. Meyers -- who terms himself an "expert" in the state building code -- failed a multiple choice, open book exam to become a building inspector, getting a little more than half the answers correct. Meyers actually had been deemed unfit to become a state-licensed building inspector in 2009 by the Chief State Building Inspector. But Meyers' friends (again, from East Haddam and Durham) in the building inspection community rallied round, and Meyers took the test a second time (without supervision, open book) and passed with a score of about 75 (out of a possible 100).
6. Meyers has repeatedly used his position and office in the Town of Middlefield to gather information and support his legal efforts against me, including challenging the rulings of the International Building Code authority and the Office of the Chief State Building Inspector. In other words, Meyers -- the school dropout who couldn't pass an open book, multiple choice test the first time -- views himself as more expert than the actual experts who created the building code.
7. On my building project, I have accused Meyers of being responsible for the following:
a. Starting construction without a building permit.
b. Causing expensive and time consuming changes to plans that later proved Meyers wrong.
c. Bringing subcontractors on the job site who appeared to be unregistered and unlicensed. This included a truck with expired out of state license plates that was towed to the construction site.
d. Placing equipment and materials on neighbors' land despite clearly marked boundary lines.
e. Allowing incomplete blasting of rock which the blaster offered to fix if properly paid for the work.
f. Moving the location of the house without a change order or my approval.
g. Refusing to cooperate or work with local building department officials despite having full responsibility as the general contractor -- and having warned me not to have contact with those same officials.
h. Walking off the job when problems arose.
i. Spending my money from a segregated bank account despite specific instruction that the money was only to be used for the construction of my house.
j. Soliciting my business using fraud and trickery.
k. Being unlicensed when soliciting my business.
l. Failing to following state law and state regulations.
m. Engaging in interstate commerce using fraud and in violation of U.S. and state law.
n. Failing to disclose an extensive history of complaints by consumers (disclosure is required by law).
o. Repeatedly lying about financial, marital, family and other status.
p. Fraudulently claiming costs, expenses and otherwise stealing from me.
q. Not having a porta-potty or other sanitary facility on the construction site, and saying one would not be needed.
Much of the items a. through q. above occurred for the most part before or during the first few weeks of construction. There is much, much more. Can you imagine how much damage Bob Meyers the Housebuilder from Hell could cause in a 6-month-long construction process? When I came to the realization that things were not as they should be (before I realized I had been intentionally cheated), I tried to work things out with Meyers to get my house built. I did not know at the time that Meyers had a history of lawbreaking and complaints, that his wife had tired of his lack of ability to be a decent husband and partner in marriage, or that Meyers' behavior was not unlike that of a criminal who refuses to accept responsibility for his actions.
Meyers now claims I caused him extreme emotional distress. Meyers found a judge foolish enough to let him make that claim in court, despite the facts that Meyers (not me) repeatedly broke the law; Meyers stole money given to his corporation by me for the sole purpose of building my house (which was not built); Meyers would not give any money back; and Meyers refused reasonable offers to settle or resolve our dispute (all documented on multiple occasions). Meyers has done all he can to delay and make more costly and difficult the court process. Meyers claiming extreme emotional distress has dragged the case out and has cost me tens of thousands of dollars. It is now scheduled for trial beginning Jan. 13, 2015.
For Meyers, it always is somebody else's fault. Facts, truth, reality? Not for Meyers in his role as the housebuilder from hell.
This website includes a trail of complaints made against Meyers since 2001 by Connecticut consumers. It includes numerous allegations of lying, cheating, building code violations and all manner of unethical and likely illegal behavior. Complaints against Meyers range from not having a porta potty on a building site resulting in toilet paper and feces left near waterways, to building houses without following the plans, building code and even the most basic contract terms. There are claims Meyers abused customers, taking their money and telling them exactly what they can do if they don't like what he does. There is the alleged death threat by one customer. Separately, there is the customer who fought Meyers in court and through the state regulatory system, only to become worn down and die at a fairly young age. Meyers' fingerprints are all over bad things happening to good people who just wanted a new house and a slice of the American dream.
Before I was introduced to Meyers in 2009 by my house designer, Brian Buckley of Chester, CT, Meyers as previously noted had run up a series of complaints with state agencies. Because I wasn't made aware of the law that required Meyers to offer to have me contact previous customers and check state records for complaints, I was unaware of any of Bob Meyers' troubled past until it was too late. Prior complaints included:
John and Sandra Christopher
The most horrifying story about prior complaints against Meyers and the failure of state agencies -- including the Office of Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane -- to take action, is the story of John and Sandra Christopher of Upper Saddle River, NJ. The Christophers, approaching retirement, contracted with Meyers in 2005 for a new architect-designed, custom house. The Christophers had hoped their first new house after a long and happy marriage would be a place where they could retire near their children. The house to be built on Cheyenne Drive in Durham, CT, was to be a 60th birthday present for Sandra. Instead of getting what they planned and paid for, the Christophers lost the house and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition, the Christophers' lost their faith in the court system and the state regulatory system, after literally begging officials such as Chief State's Attorney Kane for help -- and getting nothing but patronizing or brush-off responses.
The Christophers' story is long and detailed with much documentation from state agency, court and other filings. Yet, I must note that when I first queried the Department of Consumer Protection in 2010/2011 asking for information about Meyers, I wasn't given anything related to the Christophers' complaint. A search of court records also came up blank -- although the Christophers had filed a lawsuit against Meyers in Middlesex Superior Court. When people ask: How has Meyers escaped attention for so many years, and with so many complaints? Well, some of it may be deficiencies in government filing and record keeping, some of it may be circumstance, and some of it may be corruption -- remember, this all takes place in Corrupticut. As you read on, you will see how pieces come together -- or do not.
In July 2006, the Christophers wrote to the office of Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane in Rocky Hill. The Christophers' purpose was "to register a complaint against the subject (Meyers) new home contractor." The Christophers charged that Meyers had caused them: 1) Mental Anguish and Depression; 2) Financial Exploitation; and, 3) Coercion or deceiving into signing a contract. The letter to Kane states that Meyers has caused a "complete disaster ... consistently failed to follow the blueprints, has committed a half dozen building code violations ... building costs have escalated ... he (Meyers) has destroyed our dream and threatened our financial security. Sometime in March, Mr. Meyers offered us a refund of monies paid and he would release us from the contract. When we accepted, he reneged." Mr. Christopher literally pleaded with Chief State's Attorney Kane, putting in writing that both he and his wife were suffering significant health effects from their dealings with Meyers. Further, Mr. Christopher wrote, "Mr. Meyers has not missed an opportunity to take shortcuts and shortchange us in the process." The letter notes that for a supposed even-cost window swap, "He (Meyers) lied. We subsequently discovered the change would benefit him by approximately $1500. This is only one example." Mr. Christopher wrote that Meyers tried to sell them window trim already included in their contract. "He has also taken many shortcuts in construction to save money. The bottom line is we are not getting what we are paying for. We are not wealthy people. This has created a financial hardship." Mr. Christopher closed by telling Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane's office, "Your prompt attention to this matter will be appreciated."
On September 15, 2006 (about two months later), Kane's office responded to the Christophers. The essence of the letter is in this line: "... the nature of your complaint appears to fall more appropriately under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Consumer Protection." It was all part of a run-around the Christophers (and others) would get until they realized nothing would be done by any state entity. What was perhaps as infuriating for the Christophers -- and I experienced it also -- is these state officials claim to assist consumers who are victims of illegal activity, but when it comes to walking the talk, don't count on it.
What enforcement action did the Department of Consumer Protection and the Office of the Attorney General take after each was asked by the Christophers for help? The same as the Office of Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane (Connecticut's top criminal prosecutor) -- none. Absolutely zero. Meyers again got a pass from state enforcement agencies.
If you think the Christophers were some kind of "wackos" and this was just an unhappy customer dispute with a legitimate home builder (I've run into this defense of Meyers -- "it's the difficult customers' fault" -- sometimes from public officials), let me point out the Christophers buttressed their allegations by hiring an independent, AIA-certified architect to go through the house Meyers was building under contract for them (this was a separate architect from the one who had drawn their house plans). The independent architect found dozens of problems including code violations, failure to follow plans, use of materials unlike those called for by contract, and a host of issues including a window that wasn't installed at all. The independent architect's report is many pages long with dozens of items cited -- each a failure of Meyers to do his job as general contractor, or a deliberate attempt to cut a corner.
Mr. Christopher wrote many notes, emails and letters about the project. In one, he wrote that Durham building inspector Richard McManus had told him that in regard to a particular situation, Meyers was citing a section of the building code that did not apply. In this note by Christopher, dated March 30 (2006), Christopher wrote: "To quote McManus verbatim, 'Bob (Meyers) is not a student of the code'." Meyers, now a building inspector in the adjoining town of Middlefield, is paid to enforce and interpret building code.
The Christophers' saga ends with no state action taken against Meyers. Not by Chief State's Attorney Kane's office, not by consumer protection, not by the attorney general (again, Richard Blumenthal at the time), and not in the courts. Meyers walked away unscathed. From a superficial examination, it would appear Meyers actually made a lot more money by mistreating the Christophers and then selling their house to someone else. It appears from legal records that some or all of Meyers' legal bills were paid by an insurance company. John Christopher battled valiantly to try and get justice regarding Meyers. For any number of reasons including perhaps incompetence, laziness and/or corruption, nothing was done by state officials to rein in Meyers or hold him accountable.
The matter was brought to an end when John Christopher died September 3, 2007 in New Jersey from a fast moving cancer. His widow was unable to sustain battle with Meyers after losing her husband and having spent and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In Corrupticut, agencies are too often unwilling to investigate complaints; even if they do, often it is a cursory look and there is a lack of follow through. The courts are a weak link, with judges who are political appointees, underpaid, sometimes overworked and sometimes just plain lazy, and many of the judges lack the qualifications, experience or temperment to be on the bench. At the least, the courts can be used to delay justice -- at great expense to a legitimate complainant. Guilty parties thrive on delay -- it is often their best defense, and makes complainants realize justice is too expensive. Remember what happened to John Christopher -- he died waiting for agency and court action.
In my own court complaint against Meyers, it took my lawyer 11 repeated filings over a year at a cost of many thousands of dollars just to get bank records from Meyers' corporate, segregated account. That account contained only my money. A year and 11 filings -- all because Meyers and his lawyer stalled the system. Why and how? I would contend because the account is black-and-white proof Meyers stole my money from a corporate bank account into which it had been placed only for the purpose of building a new house for me. Meyers and his lawyer made that delay happen with the full cooperation of the Middlesex Superior Court and its most senior judges, I would contend and believe I am able to prove.
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Meyers is a liar -- even in the courthouse
No description by customers dealing with Meyers lacks the suggestion or outright claim of lying by Meyers. Meyers is a liar. The accusation can be found in almost every communication about him from nearly every source. How far will Meyers go to lie? Based on my experience, about as far as anyone can go. Let me give you two examples of how Meyers lies.
1. Fake letter introduced: I observed this at a March 28, 2011 meeting outside a Middlesex Superior Court courtroom where a pre-trial hearing was taking place. My lawyer handed me a letter Meyers' attorneys from Dowley & Associates (Middletown, CT) had sent to my attorney's office by fax (Dowley & Associates' fax stamp indicates it was sent March 25, 2011). The letter was dated October 5, 2010 and purportedly had been sent to me by Meyers at my then-home in Illinois. In the letter, Meyers makes the argument that because my Chester, CT, building project had been shut down and now could be re-started, there would be additional costs and fees. His intent, I believe, was to try and show that I had breached the contract and had balked at paying additional charges back in October 2010. The letter is signed by Meyers. When I looked at the letter in the courthouse on March 28, 2011, I immediately told my attorney I had never seen it before, never received it, and it appeared to be a fake -- a fraud perpetrated in a court proceeding. My attorney carried the letter to Meyers' attorney, inquired about its authenticity, and the attorney then snatched it back and withdrew it from the proceeding. Fortunately, my attorney and I had copies.
The so-called fake letter has come up a number of times in court proceedings and elsewhere. I believe there are 24 or more variations of the "truth according to Meyers" related to this letter, in terms of who wrote the letter, how it was delivered supposedly to me and other variables, based on all the different explanations Meyers has since given. At this point, Meyers may no longer remember what is true and what are lies. At its essence, of course, the letter is a fake, Meyers was a liar and cheat -- even in a court proceeding.
2. Testifying under oath "No view": Another example of Meyers' lying -- blatantly and under oath in court -- occurred on May 29, 2012. Testifying in the court of Judge Lisa Kelly Morgan in Middletown, Meyers was asked by my lawyer about work he had done on my property and his changing the house location without a change order or customer approval -- something that would violate the contract. I had previously testified my property at 11 Kings Highway, Chester, had a lengthy view down the Connecticut River Valley, and that correct siting of the house was intended to take advantage of the view. Meyers testified his moving and turning the house away from the river had no significant effect because there is "no view" from the property.
Those are but two examples of how Meyers treats the court process and the truth. There are other examples of Meyers lying in court proceedings -- over and over. It is clear from the complaints filed by other customers against Meyers that they believed, as I do, that lying was a part of Meyers' standard operating procedure.
Here are two more examples of Meyers' lying and cheating:
The first involves blasting. Meyers sized up my construction job and said blasting would be needed. Meyers said blasting would cost $6,000 to $7,000, and it was budgeted in our contract. The blaster did an incomplete job -- a large rock was left unblasted and while I was in Illinois, Meyers on his own decided to move the house from its planned location. He did that it turned out because Meyers had paid the blaster only $4,000. The blaster was willing to correct the problem with his work, but only if paid the full, originally agreed upon $6,200. Meyers was pocketing the difference and telling me in Illinois he only moved the house a tiny bit.
The second was that unbeknownst to me, Meyers had already pulled another ripoff with land clearing. When I found out about a year after the fact (because Meyers and his lawyer blocked my access to checks from the segregated account), it proved to me that Meyers' intent from the very beginning was to lie, cheat and steal in every way possible. Meyers had said we would split (with his half coming from my money paid to him) the cost of land clearing, and that his subcontractor would charge $2,500. I have this in an email -- black and white proof. I gave Meyers a check for $1,250 marked "1/2 cost of land clearing." Much later I would learn land clearing had only cost $2,000 total -- Meyers was claiming to pay one-half while actually paying three-eighths, and having me pay five-eighths of the cost of land clearing.
(Let me note for the record: I believe many new home builders are honest business people. So are many of the state employees and judges who work for the State of Connecticut. But there are enough bad ones to discourage good people and encourage bad people, some of whom become repeat offenders.) Contact Joe Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org
TRIAL UNDERWAY FEB. 23, 2015 HARTFORD SUPERIOR COURT, RM 400
Check court activity: Click on HHD-CV11-5038794-S
THE REMAINDER OF THIS SITE IS UNDER REVIEW AND RECONSTRUCTION. Pages 2 through 5 are intentionally blank.