Questions linger about city's approval of home elevation company

Tom Abrahams Image
Friday, July 27, 2018
Records show problems with home elevation company
A home in Meyerland sits untouched after lifting began.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Robert Raphael is angry. His house has flooded three times. He's not lived in it for three years.

"We want our money back," Raphael said. "We want restitution."

He says he paid Titan Foundations more than $30,000 to elevate his home. The city pledged more money. Raphael says Titan has done nothing.

"We want everybody who contracted with Titan Foundations to be reimbursed and we will not rest until that happens."

We met Robert and his wife after the Memorial Day floods in 2015. They waited years to be approved for a federal grant. Titan was among the vetted city contractors approved in 2016. Raphael paid money to Titan above what the grant would cover. His house is still on the ground.

There was anger at Houston City Council this week.

"I am absolutely outraged," said council member Ellen Cohen. "We must do everything in our power to help these homeowners and get their homes elevated as soon as possible."

But we want to know how this company was allowed to get these city jobs. The city gave Titan Foundations and Absolute Concrete contracts to elevate at least four homes.

Titan's owner, Bobby Fischer, responded to ABC13 emails twice yesterday, telling us he would call to explain the situation. That call never came.

The named owner of Absolute Concrete didn't respond to calls to two different phone numbers and as many emails.

And in meetings with the city, it appears Titan didn't explain the situation much either.

"We are committed to working with the homeowners to the resolution that was promised to them through the grant program," said public works director Carol Haddock.

A quick check of business records for Absolute Concrete's owner reveals its other companies lost the right to do business in Texas twice due to tax office issues in July 2017. Weeks later, it opened a new company to do business with the city.

That was six months before the city awarded the Raphael job. Attempts to contact Absolute failed and its offices seem to be closed.

The city has not said why it missed that or if it would've mattered. But then again it appears in meetings Wednesday high level city administrators didn't even ask Titan if it planned to return to work.

"They didn't say," assistant public works director Jedediah Greenfield said. "It didn't come up."

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