• Gina Rullo

Builder registration renewed by state

State: $2,500 penalty paid


The Gazette filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for the Settlement Agreement with KMD Construction. (Courtesy Photo)

Part of an occasional series.


HAMMONTON—On January 11, The Gazette received an email from New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Director of Communications Tammori C. Petty stating that KMD Construction’s new home builder’s registration was renewed.


Petty’s email read as follows: “KMD Construction, LLC submitted a new home builder’s registration application to the Bureau and the new home builder’s registration for KMD Construction LLC was renewed on January 5, 2021. The builder was issued a warning letter on November 18, 2020 for being an unregistered new home builder (failing to renew the new home builder’s registration) and assessed a penalty. On December 24, 2020, the Department of Community Affairs, Bureau of Homeowner Protection and KMD Construction LLC entered into a Settlement Agreement. The builder complied with the terms of the agreement, thereby resolving his compliance issues with this Bureau and restoring the builder’s eligibility for registering as a new home builder.


“All new home builder’s registration approvals are good for two years. The builder’s registration for KMD Construction LLC expires on 1/31/2023 and may be renewed on or before the renewal date of 1/31/2023.”


As previously reported, according to documents received through a series of Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests to the state, the State of New Jersey New Home Builder Registration for KMD Construction LLC expired on June 30, 2019.


According to prior reports and public documents KMD Construction LLC is owed in part by Stephen DiDonato. DiDonato is the mayor of the town of Hammonton.


The Gazette filed an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for the Settlement Agreement with KMD Construction.


On January 15, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Bureau of Homeowner Protection Bureau Chief James F. Fahy emailed the document to The Gazette.


The document stated:


SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

“December 4, 2020

“Compliance No. 0018-20

“NJ Department of Community Affairs

“Division of Codes and Standards

“Bureau of Homeowner Protection

“New Home Warranty Program

“Post Office Box 805

“Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0805


AND


“KMD Construction LLC

“1155 South White Horse Pike

“Hammonton, New Jersey 08037

“This Settlement Agreement is entered into by and between the Bureau of Homeowner Protection, New Home Warranty Program (hereinafter “Bureau”) and KMD Construction, LLC (hereinafter “Builder”).


“Whereas, Builder asserts that on June 3, 2019 Builder mailed its Renewal Application to the Bureau to renew Builder’s Registration; and


“Whereas, the Bureau has denied receiving Builder’s Renewal Application; and


“Whereas, on or before November 18, 2020, inquiry was made to the Bureau regarding the status of Builder’s Registration; and


“Whereas, on November 18, 2020 the Bureau made preliminary findings that the Builder failed to renew its Registration and proposed a $5,000.00 penalty; and


“Whereas, Builder cannot renew its Registration until after this compliance matter, identified as Compliance file No. 0018-20 is resolved; and


“Whereas, Builder needs to resolve this issue regarding its Registration as quickly as possible in order to register as a new home builder and continue engaging in the business of constructing new homes for sale in the State of New Jersey; and


“Whereas, the Parties desire to amicably resolve the matters pertaining to Compliance file No. 0018-20 in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in this Settlement Agreement.


“NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing recitals, which are incorporated into the body of this Settlement Agreement, the Parties, intending to be bound, hereby agree as follows:


“1. The Builder hereby agrees not to further violate the Regulations Governing new Home Warranties and Builders’ Registration (“Regulations”), N.J.A.C. 5:25-2.1(a), which requires individuals and business entities engaged in the business of constructing new homes to be registered with the Department of Community Affairs. If a builder fails to register, he or she shall be subject to a penalty, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 5:25-2.6(a) and (b).


“2. Any builder who fails to register as herein required, who fails to file an amended application as specified in N.J.A.C. 5:25-2.5(b) 4, or who fails to maintain a current builder registration as required by N.J.A.C 5:25-2.1(a), shall be subject to a penalty not to exceed $2,000 for each offense, to be levied by the Division and collected in accordance with the Penalty Enforcement Law, N.J.S.A. 2A:58-1 et seq.


“3. KMD Construction, LLC inadvertently failed to maintain a current new home builder’s registration while engaging in the construction of new homes, thereby violating the Regulations. Therefore, the Builder is subject to penalties.


“4. The Builder hereby agrees to pay the Bureau a penalty in the amount of $2,500.00. This represents a reduced penalty from $10,000.00 for violations of the New Home Warranties and Builders’ Registration Regulations, in conjunction with the following properties only:


“a. January 31, 2020 - 45 Dogwood Lane, Hammonton, N.J.


“b. February 7, 2020 - 592 Walnut Street, Hammonton, N.J.


“c. March 27, 2020 - 30 Dogwood Lane, Hammonton, N.J.


“d. March 27, 2020 - 520 Walnut Street, Hammonton, N.J.


“e. August 31, 2020 - 9 Samantha Drive, Hammonton, N.J.


“5. If for any reason the Builder or any officer, director or principal of the builder fails to comply with the terms of this Settlement Agreement, the full penalty of $10,000 will be assessed and the Bureau shall invoke a suspension, revocation, or denial action against any of the principals, directors, or partners of the Builder’s entity who are registered new home builders in the State of New Jersey or who apply to become new home builders in New Jersey.


“6. Full payment of $2,500.00 shall be made by December 17, 2020, by bank check or money order only, made payable to “State of New Jersey – NHWP” (New Home Warranty Program).


“7. The Builder by entering into this Settlement Agreement waives its right to any hearing in this matter and all rights to appeal any and all matters directly or indirectly related to this matter;


“8. Each Party represents and warrants that this Settlement Agreement is fair and valid and that it executes this Settlement Agreement with full knowledge of its provisions and under no compulsion or duress;


“9. The Parties represent and warrant that the persons executing this Settlement Agreement are authorized to do so;


“10. This agreement does not affect any potential claims in law or equity against the Builder. By entering into this agreement, the Department of Community Affairs does not sanction the conduct of the Builder;


“11. This Settlement Agreement shall be binding in all respects upon and inure to the benefit of the Parties, as well as their respective successors and assigns.


“12.This Settlement Agreement shall be governed by, and interpreted, and construed in accordance with the statues and regulations of the State of New Jersey. Obligations imposed by this agreement shall constitute continuing regulatory obligations pursuant to the Rules Governing New Home Warranties’ and Builders’ Registration Act. N.J.A.C. 5:25-1.2 et seq.;


“13. This Settlement Agreement shall not be modified or amended, except by a writing signed by all Parties;


“14. If any provision of this Settlement Agreement is declared by any Court of competent jurisdiction to be illegal or invalid, the validity of the remaining parts shall not be affected. The illegal or invalid portion shall be deemed stricken from this agreement;


“15. This Settlement Agreement becomes null and void after 15 days from the date of this offer, if the Builder fails to accept and execute the Agreement.


“16. This Settlement Agreement may be executed in counterparts, each of which shall be deemed an original, and all of which taken together shall constitute one and the same instrument. Facsimile or electronically transmitted signatures are effective as original.


“[SIGNATURES AND NOTARY ON NEXT PAGE]


DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS

BUREAU OF HOMEOWNER PROTECTION

NEW HOME WARRANTY PROGRAM

“Sherita A. Whetstone, Compliance Officer

“BHP/NHWP

“12-24-2020

“Date

“Stephen DiDonato

“KMD Construction, LLC

“12/10/2020

“Date

“SWORN AND SUBSCRIBED TO BEFORE ME

“THIS 10th DAY OF December 2020

“SUSAN HOFFMAN

“NOTARY PUBLIC OF NEW JERSEY

“MY COMMISSION EXPIRES MAY 21, 2023.”


According to a January 19 email from Whetstone, “Upon execution of the agreement the builder submitted full payment of the penalty ($2,500) by way of a bank check from Ocean First Bank.”