Family’s home destroyed by gas explosion, hires contractor to rebuild the home, contractor only has foundation poured and takes off with all the money, after the bank sets up false escrow account.

A family’s home was destroyed by a gas explosion and they hired a contractor to build a replacement. They hired a contractor, but were worried about giving the entire sum to the contractor at once, before work was done. Therefore, they opened what they were told was an Escrow Account at a large national bank, which bank was suggested by the contractor as having experience with these types of accounts. They were told by the bank that the contractor cannot get the money without their express consent. They deposited the full amount into the bank account. The only work completed on the site was that a subcontractor poured a foundation, leaving a large, unsafe, and unsightly hole in the ground. Instead of an actual Escrow Account, the bank opened a regular checking account that it titled “Escrow Account” on all documents. The contractor completely emptied the bank account without the client’s permission and did not pay the subcontractor. The foundation company wanted to get paid for its work, so it asserted a lien, and, the family’s insurance company wouldn’t release any more money to them. The family was left with no home, no money and nowhere to turn.

After hiring a Missouri Consumer Attorney, the family sued under the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. The same attorney also helped another family with a similar situation involving the same bank, same contractor and same results.

These cases would not have been possible if SB 5 were the law.