After launching in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 2010, Bella Vita Custom Homes, LLC, began building in luxury neighborhoods in the area of Austin/Bee Cave, Texas. But, as Austin’s NBC affiliate KXAN reports, “several home buyers say they soon realized that the company—which required substantial deposits down in order to begin the building process—was making large bank withdrawals from their customers’ accounts without completing work and in some cases, failing to pay subcontractors.”
KXAN shares the story of Joel and Tracey Lackovich, who signed a contract with Bella Vita Custom Homes to build their home in the private, gated community of Spanish Oaks in Lakeway, Texas, in 2014. But in 2016, the Lackovichs' fired Bella Vita Custom Homes, citing breach of contract, and then sued the company and its CEO, Steven "Andy" Clem.
“Things that we've paid for—that we paid Bella Vita to pay—they never paid,” the couple said. “We gave Bella Vita $300,000 and we didn’t have $300,000 worth of work done."
On Dec. 14, 2016, nearly two years after the Lackovichs started doing business with the company, with nothing but a partial framing job to show for it on their property, Bella Vita Custom Homes filed for bankruptcy.In Travis County, Texas, Bella Vita Custom Homes has been sued for more than $1 million.
As of January 2017, courts have awarded nearly $575,000 in judgments that have gone unpaid by the company. It doesn’t stop there. KXAN also discovered that so far more than 40 home buyers, investors and subcontractors have filed lawsuits against Bella Vita Custom Homes, LLC and its executives, father and son, Mike and Steven “Andy” Clem. The lawsuits, as well as a stack of legal demand letters, come not only from the Spanish Oaks neighborhood but also from those who say they’ve had similar troubles with other Bella Vita projects in the Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth areas.