Combating crime
When Aliyahoo Ben Yisrael solicited the services of American Heritage Building Consultant, Inc. in January of this year little did he know the home improvement company had been banned from doing business in November 2006.

Yisrael’s nightmare began when he saw no progress occurring on the loan program they allegedly set up after his deposit of $5,100 had been made. After notifying American Heritage several times that he wanted his money back, they finally issued a refund check on April 30 for $5,100. However, a few days later he was notified by his bank that there were insufficient funds and a service fee was charged to Mr. Yisrael. After contacting the company president, Dale Ellis, about the bounced check, Ellis issued a new check which included bank fees in the amount of $5,110. This check also bounced which now brought the total to $5,120.

Yisrael recently talked about his pending court case against American Heritage Building Consultant, Inc., scheduled for August 29 at the Daley Center.

“They sent out flyers in the mail,” he recalled, “and then called me to see if I was interested. The president of the company, Dale Ellis, came out personally to talk to me and explained that they had two different loan programs. One program would be an equity line of credit and the other program was similar to HUD (Housing and Urban Development) whereby you put down a percentage and I would be eligible for $105,000 to use as needed for improvements.”

Did he check this organization out?

“I most certainly did. I checked out all the places I knew as well as visited their offices at 4765 N. Lincoln Ave. I was told by the secretary that American Heritage had done programs for several years.”

Yisrael is a member of the South Austin Coalition as well as the Austin Green Team. He is a well known activist in the Austin community. SACCC is helping Yisrael in his efforts to get his money back. A letter was written on July 17, 2007 to Ellis by SACCC regarding Yisrael’s refund with copies going to Attorney General Lisa Madigan and State’s Attorney Dick Devine. To date there has been no response.

The Better Business Bureau has some 23 complaints against American Heritage Building Consultant, Inc. Eleven alone are for failure to resolve refunds or exchange issues. This documentation was forward to SACCC offices and copies submitted to Austin Weekly News.

AWN spoke by phone to Adrienne Mordica, the secretary at American Heritage, who explained that she was only the receptionist who answers the phone and has no knowledge about Mr. Yisrael’s money refund.

According to Bob Vondrasek, SACCC’s executive director, a joint suit has been brought against American Heritage by the State’s Attorney’s Office and the Department of Consumer Affairs. A court date has been set for August 29, 10 a.m. at the Daley Center, room 2302 in Judge Mackey’s courtroom. Yisrael and other SACCC members plan to attend.

AWN will do a follow-up story after the court hearing.