Why this Texas home builder left so many houses unfinished. A lawsuit may help explain

Fort Worth home builder misused funds, lawsuit says

A lawsuit alleges that Serene Country Homes of far north Fort Worth failed to complete 15 of 21 homes promised, and also misused $3.3 million in investment funds. Some of these unfinished homes haven't had work done since August.
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A lawsuit alleges that Serene Country Homes of far north Fort Worth failed to complete 15 of 21 homes promised, and also misused $3.3 million in investment funds. Some of these unfinished homes haven't had work done since August.

A Fort Worth home builder is accused in a lawsuit of misusing $3.3 million in investors’ funds, and abruptly halting construction on 15 houses, several of which remain without doors and exposed to the elements.

Serene Country Homes, which has an office in far north Fort Worth and for about two years has sold homes in that area, as well as in Willow Park to the west, was accused of fraud, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and other charges.

The legal action was filed Monday in Tarrant County District Court by two Nevada investment companies, Global Forest LLC and Forest Funding LLC.

Many of the unfinished homes are on Breeders Drive and Melbourne Drive in Willow Park, a fledgling residential area just north of Interstate 20, about four miles west of where I-20 and I-30 split. Several of the homes were surrounded Wednesday by large piles of debris, weeds and construction materials such as bricks.

One home on Breeders Drive appeared to be nearly complete, with its brick exterior in place. Interior walls had been painted, hallway tile had been laid and light fixtures had been installed. But the home had no garage doors and the front door was propped open, leaving the interior exposed to wind, rain and potentially trespassers.

Three homes side-by-side on Melbourne Drive still had their exterior sheathing exposed, and fallen brick pallets in their front yards — yet each of the houses had a brand new, shingled roof.

This home which is under construction in Willow Park west of Fort Worth was cited in a lawsuit against Serene Country Homes. Gordon Dickson

Officials from Serene Country Homes could not be reached to comment. A call to the company’s office was answered by a recording that said its voice mail was full. A visit to the office on Wednesday afternoon found the office closed, and its doors locked.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit were Windridge A2A Developments LLC, Sendara Ranch A2A Developments LLC, Sendara Ranch Developments II LLC, Foo Tiant Meng (also known as Dirk Foo), Allan Lind and Joseph Attrux.

The residential developments where Serene Country Homes (or its affiliate, Windridge) built houses included The Hills of Windridge, Meadow Place Estates and the Trails of Fossil Creek. The suit alleges that the developments are owned or controlled by defendant Foo and a company in Singapore named A2A Capital Management Pte. LTD.

Construction stopped months ago on a house in Willow Park west of Fort Worth, according to a lawsuit, and the structure remains open with no front door. Gordon Dickson

The lawsuit alleged that in 2017, officials from Global Forest LLC and Forest Funding LLC agreed to fund construction of 21 homes, which Serene or Windridge would then build and sell — and repay the investors the amount of the loans, plus a 10 percent return.

But only six of the homes were completed, and by approximately mid-August construction on the properties came to a halt, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges the defendants misrepresented their progress on the housing construction, then stopped communicating with the investors while still holding the investment funds.

“Defendants appear to have abandoned all construction and sales operations for the following properties,” the lawsuit reads. A list of affected properties was included in the lawsuit, and those addresses are:

224 Iron Ore Trail, Fort Worth

105, 109, 115 and 165 Breeder Drive, Willow Park

227 Flower Ridge Drive, Fort Worth

128, 132, 136, 161 and 165 Melbourne Drive, Willow Park

352 Lead Creek Drive, Willow Park

320, 321 and 357 Marble Creek Drive, Fort Worth

The suit seeks an unspecified dollar amount for actual and exemplary damages, attorney fees and a temporary injunction preventing the defendants from continuing to transfer assets and properties out of the developments.

A check of the Better Business Bureau website shows that those who moved into houses built by Serene Country Homes had multiple complaints about poor drainage, roof leaks and poorly installed cabinets and windows and other problems.

Also, last year CBS Channel 11 reported that Serene Country Homes had been seeking investments in Asia, in return for help in obtaining the paperwork to immigrate to the United States.

In 2017, The Dallas Morning News reported that Serene Country Homes intended to build 2,300 homes in the Sendera Ranch area of north Tarrant County, with the help of a $655 million investment from a Chinese firm.

Gordon Dickson joined the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 1997. He is passionate about hard news reporting, and his beats include transportation, growth, urban planning, aviation, real estate, jobs, business trends. He is originally from El Paso, and loves food, soccer and long drives.