'The owners need to step up and say sorry': Aftermath of David James Homes' closure

Dozens of half-finished homes abandoned while employees unexpectedly lose jobs

By Taj Simmons - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - David James Homes' sudden shutdown has left its employees, clients and even its landlord in limbo.

Employees found out the company was closing Wednesday afternoon and they were out of a job by the end of the day.

"Just randomly, we were all doing our job, and we all got an email saying, 'You're terminated within 30 minutes,'" said Chad Cubbage, the construction manager for David James Homes' Winchester and Culpeper branches.

The homes the company were building have been left vacant.

Shawn Robertson has spent $34,000 building his Roanoke County home through David James Homes, but it is only about a third of the way done after a year of construction. Robertson has not been able to reach the company's management since the company closed.

 "The owners need to step up and say, 'Sorry,'" Robertson said. "You're hoping things work out, and then bam, this hits you. What do you do?"

Robertson says the subcontractors David James hired will put a lien on his property because they were not paid by the company.

"We're talking thousands of dollars," Robertson said. "It's not something I can take out of my pocket. That's what my loan was for."

Cubbage says the company's owners had routinely not paid subcontractors in his coverage area in the past few months, which left the company unable to hire replacements due to its reputation.

 "The owners told us, 'Don't tell the new contractor that we didn't pay the old subcontractor, but tell them they walked off the job because they were having money troubles,'" Cubbage said. "Some of these subcontractors were owed $20,000, $30,000. Once I saw what was going on, I was telling subcontractors the truth."

Cubbage and Robertson have not been able to contact the owners of the company. They both hope the owners take time to talk to the people they affected about what happened.

"Just communicate with us people that are struggling and have no idea what's going on," Robertson said. "Just give us answers and we can move forward."

"At least finish the homes that you started with decency in your heart," Cubbage added. "Make sure your employees get paid because we were in the dark."

10 News contacted David James Homes and owner Merle Heckman numerous times but did not receive a response.

 

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