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City: Owner of embattled home elevation firm died

August 8, 2018

The embattled owner of a home elevation company that had halted or failed to start work on about 20 jobs it had pending on flooded houses in Houston, saying his company was in financial distress, has died, city officials confirmed Wednesday.

Bobby Fischer of Titan Foundation & Elevation had accepted tens of thousands of dollars in up-front payments from repeat flood victims trying to raise their homes out of harm’s way, some of whom have contacted the Harris County District Attorney’s office, fearing a deliberate scam to defraud them.

Fischer said late last month that he was working to shore up his company’s finances, adding that he could be accused of carrying an unwise amount of overhead but saying he had scammed no one.

Titan, with business partner Absolute Concrete, was among six home elevation firms the city vetted and approved to receive federal grant dollars after the Memorial Day 2015 flood. FEMA awarded Houston $14.8 million from its Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program to oversee the elevations of 42 homes in connection with that storm.

Those contracts received city council approval between last summer and this past January. Similar grants stemming from floods in 2016 and 2017 are pending.

Six homeowners, all of them in Meyerland, chose Titan from among a stack of city-reviewed bids. Work had begun on only two of those homes, city officials said; one of the owners convinced Fischer to release him from his contract last month as rumors began swirling about the firm’s finances.

NEW CONSTRUCTION: Titan Homes developing new Shady Acres community

The city on Friday served Titan with a notice of default, giving the company 30 days to finish the grant-funded jobs or have the projects transferred to another elevation contractor. Fischer’s death, which city officials learned about Monday afternoon, does not appear to affect that timeline, said Erin Jones, a spokeswoman for Houston Public Works.

It is unclear how many residents decided to pay Titan out of pocket to elevate their homes, typically a $250,000 to $350,000 job.

For those residents, Jones said, the city encourages owners to contact the Texas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.

mike.morris@chron.com

twitter.com/mmorris011

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