Experts say homeowner's dream house is a construction mess

The owner of a high-end home building company is fending off bad reviews, a recent arrest, and lawsuits. 

Local realtor Mikel Muffley created a dream home program that promised to do it all - facilitate buying the lot, line up financing, and set up the builder. But one client told the FOX 5 I-Team his home was so poorly built that an inspector wrote that it was possibly "lethal."

Wes Hansen and his partner's modern LaVista Park home has the clean lines and the wall of windows that they wanted. They hired Muffley & Associates to build what was advertised as a "Dream Home Program."

"He said we have the best architects, the best builders, the best subcontractors, and we will build your dream home," Mr. Hansen said inside his home built in 2016.

Carrera Homes was the program's selected builder for this project, but this is what "the best" got Wes Hansen: a home today that is soggy, crooked, and rotting. 

"See how they are fogging up?" Hansen said pointing to the front windows. "That happens to old windows."

Shifting his view down to the living room floor under the windows, he said, "If you look closer, this whole system is sinking into the floor."

That’s right. This big window system should be level, but when you place a level on the floor the slope is obvious. 

This level shows how far the flooring by the front windows has sunk. 

Mr. Hansen hired experts to look at this home. Structural engineers pointed out shortly after they moved in that many areas of the home needed to be fixed "ASAP."

Bowed windows, distressed exterior stucco, and rotting windowsills show extreme moisture. Building experts say interior wood has a maximum allowable moisture content of 15 percent. Experts noted they found the moisture rate at more than 40 percent because of "ongoing water infiltration."

"Do you love our stalactites" Hansen asked? 

Outside, hanging off of an upstairs terrace, it looks like a modern art installation. But it's not. It's water-forming, icicle shapes.

"That’s from the roof terrace above, the roof terrace above that’s off a bedroom that’s deteriorating a third time." he said. 

Mr. Hansen told the FOX 5 I-Team that Muffley’s handpicked team tried to fix this terrace multiple times, but nothing worked. 

The swimming pool, according to an engineer’s report, is structurally unsound for many reasons. According to the independent engineering report, the pool and retaining walls show "distress" from water "seeping in through the foundation soils." 

But a note about the patio area stands out. The experts go on to say erosion is "likely due to" loose, moist soil, going down 120 inches, that’s 10 feet of untamped dirt supporting the outdoor living space by the pool.

The needed repairs are many and the cost would be high to put the home in the condition the couple wanted when they had it built. 

"Based on the figures from 2019, it’s $995,000," Wes Hansen said.

This inspection item is downright terrifying. It reads that the "builder rigged" the "furnace" which ultimately would feed carbon monoxide into a bedroom. "This left alone could result in a lethal condition," the report stated.

"We can’t sell it. We can’t do anything with it. Nobody’s going to buy it," Hansen said clearly exasperated.

Mr. Hansen sued Muffley & Associates in 2018. He claimed fraud and breach of contract. Five years later the case is in arbitration.

Mr. Muffley has declined to talk to the FOX 5 I-Team. But in his response to the Hansen lawsuit, he disputes he bears any blame. He simply acted as a "broker" not a "builder."

But the Carrera Homes builder, Steven Delonga, said that he and Muffley were 50/50 partners in Carrera Homes. But, Mr. Delonga didn't want to comment further. 

Back in late November, another unhappy client took Mikel Muffley to criminal court. He was arrested for a felony theft charge in Fulton County: conversion of payment for real property improvements. Clients claimed he used their money for other customer projects. 

For Wes Hansen, it’s been a nearly seven-year saga, with no end in sight, and it’s still costing the couple money. 

"It’s sort of status quo. We put buckets out, mop, wet vac, fans, towels," Hansen told the FOX 5 I-Team. 

Hardly a dream home. 

"No, that’s a nightmare."

Several disgruntled clients, as well as the former bookkeeper, tell us they have met with staff at the Fulton County District Attorney's office to discuss Mikel Muffley and his business practices. When we know where this is headed, we will follow up on this story.