Home builder accused of running “scheme” at expense of consumers, local businesses

A bankruptcy court filing says the owners of a local home building company lived lavishly at the expense of central Pennsylvania businesses and consumers.

The court paperwork alleges Classic Communities Corporation ran “one of the largest and most complex fraudulent transfer schemes in the homebuilding sector that this jurisdiction has seen in recent years.”

Classic Communities built homes, developed land, and managed rental units in the Harrisburg-Carlisle metro area. The company filed for bankruptcy in May of 2016. A committee of vendors, claiming the company owes them money, recently filed a motion requesting permission to move forward with a case against Classic Communities.

Court documents allege the owners of Classic Communities, brothers Jim and Doug Halbert, drove the company into bankruptcy by funneling money into vacation homes, boats, jet skis, and private schools instead of paying the local businesses who did dry wall, plumbing, heating, and other work on company homes.

ABC27 has heard from people who were having homes built by Classic Communities, but never got to move in because work stalled as unpaid vendor bills stacked up. The local businesses represented in recent court filings claim Classic Communities still owes them more than $20 million total.

An attorney for Classic Communities returned ABC27’s call, pointing out that allegations in court documents aren’t necessarily true. He also said bankruptcy is complicated and tough for everyone involved, including the owners of a company.

Attorneys for both sides say they hope they’re close to an agreement. In the meantime, ABC27 will continue to investigate this story.

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