In the nation’s capital, a Virginia couple has agreed to pay $1.3 million in restitution to 19 property owners after being accused of shoddy renovations on Washington, D.C. homes. Starting in 2012, Insun and Jefferson Hofgard renovated more than a dozen homes in D.C. and have since been banned from conducting any future construction, renovation, or sales on any properties in the city. The couple last week signed an agreement with D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine to repay clients, after Racine sued the couple over allegations that they had “performed sub-standard construction work, used sub-standard materials, and made renovations or repairs that were sub-standard quality.”
According to WAMU’s Martin Austermuhle, the couple would purchase old D.C. homes in up-and-coming D.C. neighborhoods, renovate them with unlicensed contractors, and then sell the homes before they were fully approved with a final inspection.
As WAMU reports:
"Load-bearing walls were removed, electric and gas lines were not properly installed and additions were added without the proper zoning approvals. In one case, the Hofgards finalized the sale of a home after city regulators ordered them not to.
The Hofgards were fined $301,500 for hundreds of construction-related violations last November, but the new agreement creates a means for their buyers to recoup some of the money they may have lost in making repairs or for the loss of value their homes suffered once problems surfaced.
As part of the agreement, the Hofgards will pay $1 million towards restitution for their buyers, all of whom will be able to file claims for the money. The $301,500 in fines they recently paid will also go toward restitution. If the cost of the claims exceeds that combined amount, the agreement allows the city to request more money from the Hofgards. They are also required to pay $300,000 to cover the city's legal expenses during the year-long litigation.”
To read the full list of allegations and how the couple may face more lawsuits ahead, click below.