Holly Ground Tiny Homes, a struggling builder who has infuriated customers with years of waiting and lies, was evicted from one of two warehouses in Inglewood on Friday.
According to court documents, the nonprofit owed $31,270 in unpaid rent when it left its offices at 4731 S. Santa Fe Circle. The five-year lease term was 19 months for him.
A BusinessDen reporter visited the place on Tuesday and found it empty inside, though a sign in the window still called it Holy Land Headquarters.
Through its lawyers, Holy Ground declined to comment on the eviction or answer questions about what it means for small home production. This location was one of two locations where Holy Ground built a home with a large backlog.
On Aug. 29, BusinessDen announced that Holy Ground, founded in 2019 by convicted fraudster Matthew Sowash, had claimed the lives of customers and made them wait years for homes that were promised to arrive in months. , first reported that they refused a refund.
Two days later, Sowash sent letters to past and current customers. In it, he apologized for the long wait, but said his business model worked: he attached a copy of his BusinessDen article, which he called “damaging.” and reprimanded the customer who spoke to reporters.
“That’s why I’ve always stressed not to bring any negative feedback to what we’re trying to do, because it only hurts us, it doesn’t help.”
As he did in an interview with BusinessDen for the article, Sowash promoted plans for a small-house village north of Denver in the letter. Raising more than $1.5 million in capital, he said, will allow Holy Ground to ramp up production and cut years of waiting time. However, he wrote that the negative media attention “was a major blow to the project becoming a reality.”
Within days, a YouTube video describing Sowash’s plans for a small-house village at 5030 York St., an industrial site in the Elyria-Swansea area that Sowash does not own, was removed, with all references to Holy Ground. Removed from website. Attempts to reach out to the property owner for comment were unsuccessful.
Vivi Gloriod, a local real estate agent, wanted to help Sowash with the project, but changed his mind in August and September.
“When that article was printed, everything fell from the sky like a ton of bricks,” she said by phone on Sept. 6.
“I was very excited to do the whole project, but I just don’t feel like I could do it. It’s too risky. I’ve got a great reputation and I’ve worked hard to help people all over the subway.” “Even if what he said was perfectly true, and he fixed everything, and was all right, I could not risk my reputation.”
Gloriod is a happy past customer of Holy Ground. She said she got a “fantastic” little house in a timely manner. She believes Sowash is trying to do the right thing, and she wants to use the tiny house to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing in the metropolitan area.
“We were talking about everything we wanted to do. We had a lot of plans,” she said of herself and Sowash.
Other articles followed, including NBC News. Mostly centered around his two lawsuits in federal court and Arapahoe County. In this lawsuit, a total of three customers who did not receive the home they paid for are suing Holy Ground for monetary damages.
Sowash initially responded to the lawsuit by sending letters to judges in each case, describing Holy Ground’s hardships. He has since hired attorney Brian Deboche to formally respond to the lawsuit by admitting that the Holy Ground is “struggling”.
DeBauche admitted that plaintiffs in both cases paid for homes they did not receive, and was denied refunds in the case of two customers. But he denied that his clients had breached their contracts with those customers, blaming it in part because of “COVID-19 and the pandemic,” calling it an unpredictable “act of God.” I’m here.
The Holy Ground predicament concerns 61-year-old Virginia Owen of Texas, who has a disability. She wire-transferred her inheritance, which she recently received from her late parents, to the Holy Land. Instead of paying $50,000 upfront, she was told her home would arrive in her 10 weeks.
That was May. By the end of July, her home was gone, she was broke and evicted. Donations from her friends and her family allowed her to stay at a cheap motel. Holy Ground has since told her to expect her home in April 2023.
“I can’t even imagine the thought of not having that money right away,” Owen said Friday through tears. “I just have to stay positive and hope this goes well.”
Over the summer, when news of the long delay in the Holy Land reached customers, Owen left a tearful and pleading message on the charity’s voicemail.
“Please don’t do this to me.”
This story was reported by a partner business den.