More customers left stranded by David James Homes closure come forward

By Taj Simmons - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - The sudden closure of a Roanoke-based homebuilding company last week still has clients and customers scrambling for answers.

David James Homes shut down last week after owner Merle Heckman sent an email to employees citing "bad business decisions."

Shawn Callahan, whose company, Metwood Building Solutions, had supplied steel beams to David James Homes for more than a decade, says the company owes him more than $41,000 for his company's services.

"Merle had made statements to me about some business deals that didn't go his way, and I believed he would do all he could do," Callahan said.

Nick Akers says he lost about $80,000 after David James Homes stopped construction on his new Huddleston home. He says subcontractors have come after him for money because David James Homes had not paid them.

"They're wanting lots of money, and they're talking about putting liens against the house, and it's just a bad situation," Akers said.  "Honestly, I just wish that they could fix this. I don't want these subcontractors coming after me."

David James Homes appears to have had some financial trouble as well. The Franklin County Treasurer's Office states Heckman Homes Inc., the company that did business as David James Homes, has not paid property taxes on the empty lots in its Lakewatch Plantation housing development near Smith Mountain Lake.

Callahan says he had no idea the company was going to close and that a David James Homes manager named Clark Ware had tried to assure him the company would stay afloat.

"I knew at one point, Clark was trying to buy the company," Callahan said. "I got an email from Clark last week saying he was trying to do all he could to try and get the vendors paid."

Neither Heckman nor Ware has responded to 10 News' requests for comment.

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