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 state agencies give him a pass? And how did Meyers become a licensed building inspector?
09/25/2014 note: The most recent ruling in the 4-year-old case alleging fraud, theft and violation of state consumer protection law filed against builder Robert Meyers of Moodus (formerly Durham) is a denial of plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. That ruling clears the way for the start of trial January 13, 2015 on the claims against Meyers, and his counterclaims against me of slander, harassment and causing him extreme emotional distress. Laying out the case will provide a road map as to how Meyers operated, not just in this case, but in other similar situations during a more than 10-year period. Details below. The case should provide a look into Meyers' psyche and behavior as he seeks to show all problems are caused by others -- not a one by he or his lawyer. Judge Salvatore Agati's ruling Sept. 23, 2014 against my motion for summary judgment found issues that need to be tried in court. Agati denied motion for summary judgment -- which would have required no disputed facts (not disputed in a legal sense, not in a common language sense). Now, Judge Agati and the public will get a whole lot of facts about Meyers -- some of which have never been public because Meyers hid them from everyone, and some which shocked seasoned veterans of the court system.
Those who have followed the goings-on in this case and who have read some of the recent filings have asked questions. First, it might appear from information including the list of witnesses proposed for trial that I hired a private detective. That is a wrong assumption. Meyers and the Michael F. Dowley law firm hired a private investigator to look into my life -- to try and find something to intimidate me, smear my reputation, and/or damage me. My attorney put the detective on my list of prospective witnesses (Meyers and Dowley did not). Why? Because I have nothing to hide. This is an example of how sleazy Meyers and Dowley are -- and apparently desperate. Second, a footnote on Page 5 of the reply on Request for Summary Judgment is accurate: Meyers/Dowley filed five (5) separate motions for a Protective Order and Motions To Quash a deposition of Meyers over nine months from February to November 2012. You could easily get the impression Meyers had something to hide and did not want to answer questions under oath -- not just that he is what I consider a cheat and scumbag. Those delays are representative of what has driven legal costs into the hundreds of thousands of dollars -- the "hole" Meyers has dug. Third, Meyers and Dowley indicate filing complaints to state and municipal authorities and making Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are a bad thing for which I should be punished. Dowley was literally sputtering and spitting out the words "former reporter" over and over again (I used to work in the news business) in front of a judge last year -- as if being a reporter is somehow a bad thing, especially in comparison to being what I perceive is a sleazy attorney taking a fool for a client's money. The FOIA works: Meyers was held accountable for his actions by the state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) based on my complaint. The FOIA led me to many complaints in DCP files and yielded much information -- information Meyers wants hidden. There was so much information about Meyers and virtually all was bad. Meyers would appear to consider himself clever, while others might see stupid; Fourth, for example, Meyers now works as building official in Middlefield (this is covered below, including how he became state licensed). When Meyers applied to Middlefield, he wrote in a box asking if the applicant had a diploma/degree: "YES." Meyers' degree is one he purchased from a diploma mill web site known as Jefferson High School. It cost $200. Any moron can get the diploma in a day, just have a credit card handy. Meyers apparently doesn't see anything wrong claiming a diploma he bought for $200 and he claims not to understand the word "accreditation." That might be the least of what Meyers doesn't understand, although he calls himself an "expert" and has his own spin on just about everything. I used the FOIA to check the technical school he went to (listed with the same public information in Middlefield as the YES for a diploma); a Wilcox Tech spokeswoman said Meyers dropped out and never graduated. The people of Middlefield should have much confidence in Meyers protecting their safety and welfare armed with his online diploma bought for $200. Fifth, Judge Agati on Sept. 4, 2014 denied an August 26, 2014 request by Meyers to seal a court filing related to Meyers' claim of extreme emotional distress. Meyers continues to want to have his cake and eat it -- to make an unsupported claim and to keep secrets. That's the kind of thing Meyers got away with in the Middlesex Superior Court over and over -- it appears not to work as well in Judge Agati's court.
An additional word about what follows: Most is a year or more old, and some is now out of date, incomplete or out of context. Nothing is inaccurate to my knowledge. -- Joe Cohen
CONNECTICUT (Summer 2013) -- Welcome to the website www.robertmeyers.info It tells of law-breaking, building code violations, losses totaling many hundreds of thousands of dollars, the death of an aggrieved home buyer, an alleged threat of extreme violence -- and one man at the center of it all -- contractor and state-licensed building inspector Robert M. "Bob" Meyers.
It is a story that at first seems improbable or untrue. The worst is it takes place during more than a decade as Connecticut law enforcement and regulatory officials along with the Connecticut courts turn a virtual blind eye to Meyers' nasty and illegal behavior, or just pass the buck and enable Meyers to damage victim after victim. Some public officials such as Chief State's Attorney Kevin T. Kane turn down multiple pleas from victims literally begging for help and enforcement of existing laws.
I'm Joe Cohen, and I created this website in summer 2013. The timing marked the third anniversary of my contract with Robert M. Meyers, Inc., a C corporation owned by builder Robert M. "Bob" Meyers (pictured in photo above left) formerly of Durham, CT, and now of Moodus, (section of East Haddam) CT. This website describes my many problems with Meyers -- legal and otherwise -- and why I brand him my "housebuilder from hell." Although in all fairness, before Meyers was "my" housebuilder from hell, he was the housebuilder from hell for a number of other Connecticut home buyers.
My story is Meyers fraudulently solicited my business, stole my money, trashed my land, lied, cheated and threatened me. Almost four years later, Meyers and his lawyer Michael Dowley of Middletown still act like ignorant thugs. It turned out Meyers wasn't licensed when he solicited my business and didn't follow laws and regulations regarding contracting. As general contractor, Meyers didn't get a required building permit before starting construction, and tried to put my house in the wrong place at least in part because of greed and incompetence.
When I started looking into Meyers' past, virtually every rock I turned over revealed another piece of Meyers' unsavory history that included allegations of lies, cheating and questionable or illegal behavior. After Meyers abused me for far too long, I got angry. I became determined to see if -- and it is a big "IF" -- justice can be done. Meyers doesn't like that -- he's alleged to have helped drive one customer who complained to authorities into an early grave, and another to allegedly threaten to kill him. Still other customers documented how they became so fed up with Meyers and his threats to drag them through hell, they just paid him off to go away, even though they felt cheated. Meyers appears to have a nice business plan: Pay Meyers to do work, then pay Meyers not to do work, and the customer is damned.
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). Meyers has done all he can to delay and make more costly and difficult the court process. Meyers claiming extreme emotional distress will drag the case out and has cost me tens of thousands of dollars more.
Check court activity: Click on UWY-CV-11-5016510-S
Meyers seems to be protected from facing the law: When the Connecticut State Police conducted a lengthy and detailed investigation into my complaint of fraud and larceny in spring 2013, and then moved in summer 2013 with a straightforward complaint to arrest Meyers, a judge refused to sign a search warrant that was the last step before a likely arrest warrant for felony larceny (this took place in the same Middlesex County courthouse that has given Meyers break after break in the past). The State Police told me they had probable cause and irrefutable evidence of a felony committed by Meyers. But when you look at who is connected to who in the court system, in the prosecutor's office and in other state offices, a pattern of relationships and politics becomes clear. You can track the state's failures to police Meyers right into the State Capitol offices of Gov. Dan Malloy and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman.
Extreme emotional distress? Meyers has a lengthy history of behavior that drove his customers to suffer from extreme emotional distress. One of them died after pleading to state officials including the chief prosecutor's office for help for himself and his wife, noting specifically that Meyers' actions were destroying their health. Another customer allegedly threatened to kill Meyers in the customer's driveway over a longtime, ongoing dispute with Meyers. State officials chose to ignore the customers' complaints.
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. This story has it all: Death, the threat of violence, allegations of theft, fraud and other crimes, even the proverbial bathtub and kitchen sink, along with the claim of a missing window, improper blasting for a foundation, and the theft of tens of thousands of dollars.
Perpetrator becomes enforcer
The story takes two remarkable twists:
First, Connecticut regulatory and enforcement agencies such as the Office of the Chief State's Attorney turn away or drop the ball on numerous complaints about Meyers, along with the Department of Consumer Protection and Office of the Attorney General. This didn't happen once or twice, but over and over, leaving victims behind and making new victims vulnerable to Meyers.
Then comes a real shock. After Meyers allegedly messes up as a contractor and businessman for many years drawing consumer complaints, he starts a new career as a state-licensed building inspector responsible for protecting public safety and welfare. Meyers now works for the Town of Middlefield (outside Middletown, CT) as its building inspector.
Before I was introduced to Meyers in 2009 by my house designer, Brian Buckley of Chester, CT, Meyers already had run up a series of complaints with the state Department of Consumer Protection, Office of the Chief State's Attorney, and the Attorney General. Despite multiple complaints over almost a decade, not once prior to my own complaint had any of these official entities taken an enforcement action against Meyers. Not once. Partly as a result of that, partly because I wasn't made aware of the law that required Meyers to offer to have me contact previous customers, and partly because I didn't do a good job vetting Meyers, I was unaware of any of his negative background until it was too late.
According to records of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection:
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 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 more than luck. 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.
New house construction while not licensed/registered
Dealing with state agencies is a hit or miss proposition, based on my experience. As I noted above, when I queried the Department of Consumer Protection it failed to provide me with the John and Sandra Christopher complaint. After my lawyer and I stumbled over a complaint number more than a year later, I re-queried DCP, and it turned out to be the Christopher complaint. DCP assures me the situation is corrected and the Christopher complaint is now easily accessible. But it wasn't for a period of years, and when you read about it, you will see this is a serious deficiency on the part of an agency that is supposed to exist to protect consumers.
I've asked DCP Commissioner William M. Rubenstein in writing more than once about this and other matters, and I have never had even the courtesy of a reply from Commissioner Rubenstein. Par for the course, I've learned.
Separately, I complained to DCP under Commissioner Rubenstein that Meyers built and sold a new house at 24 Alger Road in East Haddam in 2009/2010 when he was not licensed/registered as a new home contractor (nor was Meyers licensed as a home improvement contractor). Meyers wasn't licensed from October 2009 through late July 2010. I complained within the one-year statute of limitations. Meyers had used the house to showcase his ability in soliciting my business. My complaint was acknowledged -- and nothing was done. Building a house without a license is a serious violation -- and the state Department of Consumer Protection under Commissioner Rubenstein did nothing. Meyers went on to use his East Haddam experience and connections to become a state-licensed building inspector. To an inquiry about this made directly to Commissioner Rubenstein -- no response.
In attempting to take Meyers to task for his actions, I learned Connecticut agencies are too often unwilling to investigate complaints and even if they do, there is a lack of follow through. Also, the courts are a weak link, with judges who are political appointees, underpaid, often overworked, and sometimes lacking strong qualifications and experience. At the very least, the courts can be used to delay justice -- at great expense to a legitimate complainant. Lawyer after lawyer has told me that when it comes to civil matters, 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? 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. And that, I would contend, is all the evidence necessary to prove civil and criminal theft.
Meyers is a liar -- even in the courthouse
No description by customers of dealing with Meyers seems to lack 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. Recognize that when someone lies and commits fraud, it is difficult if not impossible to have a productive relationship. When you are trying to resolve a legal matter involving tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, dealing with a liar and a cheat is similar to trying to hit a rapidly, randomly moving target. It is nearly impossible. Lying on the part of Meyers extends, I believe, to his perception of courts as another place to lie. Meyers certainly has no trouble lying -- even under oath or in a court proceeding.
Fake letter introduced
I observed this at a March 28, 2011 meeting outside a Middlesex Superior courtroom where a pre-trial hearing was taking place. My lawyer handed me a letter Meyers' attorneys from Dowley & Associates 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 who took it back, discussed it with Meyers, then withdrew it from the proceeding. Fortunately, my attorney and I had a copy.
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 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 his lies. At its essence, of course, the letter is a fake, Meyers was a liar and cheat -- even in a court proceeding.
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 the customer's 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 on a view because there is "no view" from the property.
Those are 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.
One problem of the Connecticut legal system is that in cases such as mine, the case can move pre-trial between different judges -- each judge hears unique information and each has a different perspective. A judge may only hear one motion or take up one action, with no history and no context. To date, by my count, at least eight judges have played a role in the progress, or lack thereof, in my case. That helps Meyers delay, obfuscate, even lie, because there is no continuity and thus less accountability.
So for those who want to believe it, there is no view from 11 Kings Highway in Chester, CT, a view I would say is almost three miles down the river valley. Photographs lie, people's vision lies, and satellite photos lie -- but Meyers tells the "truth." And a contract to build a house does not mean money given must only be used for the house. According to Meyers, money I paid to have a house built actually belonged to Meyers, whether he built the house, whether he followed the law, and whether he followed the contract.
More allegations of lying
I'm going to provide two more examples of how I believe Meyers lies, cheats, and lines his own pockets at his customer's expense. They both come from my very early dealings with Meyers. Among other things, one shows his intent to steal even before a contract was signed or work began. The other shows Meyers' total disdain for his customer. When I discovered the truth (and in each instance I had suspicions early on, but it took more than a year to get evidence), it made me realize how lacking in integrity Meyers is. This does follow the pattern of complaints about Meyers from other customers, and underscores why I and they have felt so violated.
Blasting: Meyers sized up my construction job and said blasting would be needed. Meyers explained that at a minimum, blasting on my land would cost $6,000 to $7,000, and it was budgeted for that in our contract, with the agreement that any additional blasting beyond two days work would add $2,500 a day to my costs. The blaster had trouble having his his drilling machine trucked to the Chester building site; it arrived more than a day late while his people, the excavator, and Meyers stood by waiting. J&J Blasting of Guilford, CT, moved quickly after the machine arrived, and claimed to have finished drilling and blasting in less than a day -- which would have made up the lost time. Then the excavator, James Carlson of East Haddam, who had assisted the blaster, began digging the foundation hole. J&J pulled its drilling machine and men from the job. Most of the rock on site, it turned out, was shale -- easy to break up even with just an excavator such as the one Carlson was using. But as Carlson dug, he ran into a large (at least 7-foot long by 25-foot wide and multiple feet deep) solid and thick rock the blaster had missed. Part of the rock was in the way of the foundation. This was where Meyers made what he would call an "executive decision" to move the house location by turning the foundation -- rotating it what he claimed was "less than 1 degree" away from the river to bypass the rock. Other construction professionals I later brought on site (a surveyor, an engineer and two excavators), said the rotation was at least 7 to 10 degrees. I was in Illinois when Meyers did this house relocation; much work would be done before I saw the effect. By turning the house away from the river, Meyers was turning the house away from the best view -- a view almost three miles down the Connecticut River Valley. In addition, Meyers did this without my approval and without a change order, something Meyers had lectured me on repeatedly and warned would be required for any changes.
It turned out, I would learn much later, that when J&J Blasting's owner came back to the site to get paid, Meyers had worked the price down to $4,000. When J&J's owner saw the unblasted rock, he told me he realized his work was substandard. He told me he offered to come back on the site and finish off removing the rock for additional money (still within the original estimate), and that Meyers had turned him down. Meyers, of course, would get to keep the $2,000 to $3,000 he had "saved" on blasting. Much later, two excavation contractors I had inspect the site found another section of rock not blasted. Meyers has told me so many different tales about the rock and how he planned to deal with it, it is an example of you can't follow the "truth according to Meyers" without a scorecard.
Land clearing: Meyers had already pulled another ripoff with the land clearing prior to the blasting, showing what I contend is his clear intent to lie and steal from me from the outset. Meyers had quoted me a price on the house in July 2010, but when I committed, he wavered, saying he would not make enough money. So I agreed to pay $5,000 more and additionally to pick up some of the costs outside the contract to be signed August 2, 2010. We agreed to split the land clearing cost of $2,500. I also agreed to forego a $3,000 lighting fixture allowance. That would give Meyers an additional $9,250 right from the start, and assure my new home would be ready for occupancy in early 2011.
I was in Illinois on July 28, 2010 when Meyers emailed me about the land clearing, saying we could go forward and, quoting verbatim: "... I (Meyers) talked with Stanly (sic), He's at $ 2,500 (sic) and will start next week, but needs commitment. Bob" I told Meyers to commit to the land clearing -- for which I would pay one-half outside the contract. On August 2, 2010, I wrote a check for $1,250 made out to Stanley Burr (the land clearing subcontractor) and marked in the "For" section: "1/2 cost clearing 11 Kings Hwy." It would be more than a year later (recall if you will, Meyers fought for more than a year to block my access to the segregated, corporate checking account records) that I would learn Stanley Burr was paid $750 for Meyers' share of the land clearing. The entire job had cost $2,000 -- not the $2,500 Meyers had quoted me. Meyers' lying and cheating had ripped me off for $250 even before the contract was signed -- and even though I had agreed to "help him out" by giving him much more than the contract price he had quoted.
True crime story
This is a true crime story with greed, a predator and victims. When I contracted with Robert M. Meyers, Inc. of Durham, Bob Meyers was the principal. The only other officer was his wife, Christine Alia Meyers. The Meyers are now divorced and Christine Alia is no longer part of the business. The Meyers' son, Scot Meyers of Durham, has taken his mother's place as a corporate officer. The corporate entity is now located in Moodus.
My complaint against Meyers is based on allegations he obtained my business by fraud, wasn't properly licensed, did not follow consumer protection laws, failed to get a building permit, messed up my new house construction, walked off the job and blamed me for all the problems, and stole my money which he embezzled from his corporation for his personal use.
Meyers used my money -- which was placed in a segregated, corporate bank account -- for his personal expenses, including building himself a new house, paying his lawyer to fight me, repairing and insuring his vehicles including his motorcycles, and squaring away many thousands of dollars in bills with his divorce lawyer, psychological therapist and credit card companies.
I have been in court proceedings for 2 3/4 years at a cost in excess of $125,000 just in legal-related fees and costs. I have had other costs running into the tens of thousands of dollars, and Meyers took my $54,250 and stole most of it. My out-of-pocket loss now exceeds $230,000. And I would have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to restart the builder at 11 Kings Highway in Chester.
Meyers has responded to my lawsuit by claiming I breached the contract and I committed defamation. Now, he is claiming extreme emotional distress. It would seem Meyers and his attorney have no solid legal defense, no solidly-based counter claims -- their entire case rests on breaking me financially, emotionally and physically. Given how state agencies fail to do anything substantive and how the courts work, they've got a good chance of succeeding.
I am bitter now, after three years of dealing with Meyers' shenanigans. My house was to be a special place -- my first permanent home after living decades in rentals. I had spent six years (1994-1999) searching in the lower Connecticut River Valley for a building lot that met my criteria. I found 11 Kings Highway in Chester, CT in 1998 and bought it in late 1999. I owned the land for 10 years before circumstance allowed me to have a house designed and to plan to build. When I was introduced to Meyers, I was living in the Chicago suburbs. I traveled back and forth to Connecticut to get the house started. I gave Meyers the $54,750 to start the house on August 2, 2010; it was to be completed by January 2011.
Fraud and misrepresentation
Meyers had described himself to me as "the best builder in Connecticut." In response to questions, he said he was rock solid financially, family-wise and had no problems with previous customers. It turned out, of course, that while Meyers was soliciting my business he was not licensed, he violated numerous consumer protection laws, his wife/business partner had filed for divorce, and he was apparently broke/cash poor from having worked little in recent years. Also, most of Meyers' recent customers had issues with him and, as noted above, there were complaints on file with various state entities.
I knew none of this, or I would never have given Meyers my money.
Meyers started work on my land in August 2010 and his subcontractors blasted and dug, set foundation footing forms and placed rebar (steel rods for reinforcement) in the forms. They were ready to pour concrete. But Meyers had failed to get a building permit. When the town denied his application due to the lack of a building permit and Meyers' other actions along with a perceived problem with the existing driveway, Meyers walked off the job, said it was my problem, and later refused to meet with town building officials. That was in spite of the fact that Meyers had specifically said (and I had agreed) that all permitting and relations with town building officials were his responsibility as general contractor. Then, despite being told repeatedly in writing not to spend money from the segregated account, Meyers took every last cent for personal expenses.
What I did not know then (fall 2010) was that Meyers had a history of taking money from customers, twisting them into mental pretzels and driving them to the point where they would capitulate to his demands -- which usually involved money that benefited only Meyers. As noted above, when Meyers' customers went to state entities for help, they got the brush off and a run-around -- every time. A standard agency response was to tell the customer to work it out with Meyers and "... if we see a pattern or get more complaints, we will do something." The agencies apparently never looked in their files and never consulted each other, or perhaps someone was looking to protect Meyers and succeeded. Clearly, there is a pattern of complaints and a failure by the state to enforce the law.
Going to court also could prove futile. As John and Sandra Christopher learned, and as I am learning, Meyers delays, deflects and counter claims so that costs make it prohibitive to seek a trial and fair resolution. I would estimate from reading the files that are available to the public that over at least a 10-year period, Meyers took hundreds of thousands of dollars from customers and gave back little or nothing, except grief and trouble. Doing so made Meyers and his wife rich. Meyers likes to show up in court in his "working" clothes and project the image for the judge of the simple, hardworking contractor. But records from Meyers' 2010/2011 divorce proceeding indicate that Meyers had a net worth while married that approached or exceeded $1 million.
11 Kings Highway: From dreams to bleak outlook
When Meyers stole my money after ruining my house construction plans and tearing up my land, I tried for a long time to be reasonable (detailed further down). I thought if I got back $35,000 to $45,000 I would be okay. What I did not know was that very early on in the process, Meyers had quickly embezzled from the corporate account and used my money to pay his divorce lawyer, to pay his psychological therapist, to repair his motorcycles, to pay his personal credit card bills and to start building a new house for himself post-divorce. Meyers wrote dozens of checks for personal needs despite specific instructions my money was only to be used for my house. Also, since the money was given to a corporation, there are tax and other issues about how the money could be used.
If you can, stop and think about finding yourself in this situation:
That is what I have endured for three years -- and there is no end in sight.
In addition to trying to get my money back -- which is and has always been my first priority -- I also want to see Meyers face justice and I want to leave a public record so that others will not follow me and suffer the same fate as I did along with the Christophers, Freys, Luther and Kozlowskis. That is a large part of why I decided to launch this website.
Meyers has learned how to game the system -- with help from people in and out of government. A previous customer/victim of Meyers from East Haddam told me that had I first talked with him before contracting with Meyers, his advice would have been: "Run like hell ... for $10 million I would not want to do business with that man again ... " Had Meyers followed the law, he would have sent me to the last three people he had built houses for, and I would have learned about his evil ways as the builder from hell.
If you want to examine the record -- a very long record -- of my civil lawsuit against Meyers, it can be viewed at the Connecticut Judicial Department website. Click on the underlined link: UWY-CV-11-5016510-S
You also can contact the Department of Consumer Protection (you must invoke the Freedom of Information Act) to request copies of complaints about Meyers, and you should find at least the following:
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