The Winchester Star is reporting Promises Broken.

Local officials are trying to determine if a home builder took customers’ money and failed to complete the work.

Area police are investigating a builder who promised to construct several half-million-dollar homes for buyers in Winchester and Frederick County, but allegedly failed to follow through.

The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and the Winchester Police Department are trying to determine whether Gary Grimm, a Chantilly-based builder, committed construction fraud when he did not complete work on the homes.

Grimm, through his company G&M; Homes, sold empty lots on Clayton Ridge Drive in the Meadow Branch subdivision of Winchester, and on Union View Lane off Glendobbin Road in Frederick County.

Buyers signed contracts with Grimm and paid deposits for their custom homes, many of which cost $450,000 to $550,000, according to records in local courts.

Grimm finished an undetermined number of the houses, but work was interrupted on nearly two dozen others months into the construction, owners said.

During late 2005 and early 2006, some of the homeowners began receiving notices of liens from contractors.

Subcontractors who worked on the G&M; homes said they were not paid for their work or building materials, with bills ranging from about $1,000 to more than $59,000, according to court documents.

At least seven addresses in Frederick County and 16 addresses in Winchester have at least one G&M; Homes-affiliated lien. Several homeowners are fighting the liens with attorneys, and some of the liens have been released.

Two of the homeowners who were allegedly affected by Grimm’s business practices filed civil lawsuits in Winchester Circuit Court, alleging that Grimm broke the contracts to build their houses, committed fraud, violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, and used money for the construction of their houses for other purposes — specifically Grimm’s personal use.

One of those lawsuits, from siblings Jerome and Christine Fasano, has been dropped for now, according to court records. Their Fairfax-based attorney, Daniel Rathbun, filed a no-suit motion, according to the court file.

No reason for the withdrawal is listed. Rathbun declined to comment for this article, as did Jerome Fasano.

The other lawsuit is active, though no hearing date has been set.

That court file now includes a notice that Grimm and one of his building companies, G&M; Homes LLC Number Three, have filed for protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Telephone numbers for the various G&M; Homes names led to messages that the numbers had been disconnected.

Lindsay Wilson should thank her lucky stars.

Because her house could look like this instead.

The song for today is Winchester Cathedral by The New Vaudeville Band.

Winchester Cathedral
You’re bringing me down
You stood and you watched as
My baby left town

G&M; Homes skipped town.
Who is next?

This is really sad.
People’s lives are being destroyed by the implosion of this housing bubble.
There is a lot more grief to come.

Mike Shedlock / Mish/