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$1M dream home focus of lawsuit.

Dr. Joel Dworkin thought he had found the perfect home in 2011.

But it turned out to be a nightmare when he discovered his $1.25 million manor in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood, which he once described as "all wow," had leaky windows and other issues that would cost more than $300,000 to repair, according to his court filings in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

In 2013, Dworkin sued the seller of the home, Kathleen "Kathy" Blasingame of Maumelle, whose late husband, Ron, was a founder of Whole Hog Cafe of Little Rock. Dworkin alleged she committed fraud by not telling him about the condition of the house. He wanted to rescind the real estate contract with Blasingame and wanted other unspecified damages. If the contract couldn't be rescinded, Dworkin wanted money to repair the property and an unspecified amount for other damages.

In her response, Blasingame said that she "in no way covered up, failed to disclose, breached any warranty, acted in bad faith, made false representations, or failed to perform any duties or obligations" that she owed Dworkin.

Blasingame said that if the judge doesn't rule in her favor, the court should limit the damages to "the repair of those windows which experienced a small leak when Ms. Blasingame lived at the residence."

Dworkin also named the contractor that built the house, Bosley Construction Inc. of Little Rock, as a defendant. In August, Dworkin settled with Bosley for $50,000, according to court records. The owner of company, Bill Bosley, didn't return a call for comment.

A bench trail was held between May 12 and May 14 in front of Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge W. Michael Reif. A ruling was expected early last week, but as of Thursday morning, it hadn't been filed.

Attorney Kendel Grooms of Little Rock declined to comment on the case. And the attorney for Blasingame, Clayborne Stone of Little Rock, also declined to comment.

Dream Home

The home was supposed to be the Blasingames' dream home.

After the Blasingames were married in 1988, they bought a house at 4307 N. Lookout. Over the years they thought about expanding their house. And when their neighbor's home at 4305 N. Lookout became available in 2005, they bought it for $207,000.

Two years later, they decided to raze the 4305 home and start construction on what would be their dream home.

"We wanted a house we could live in until we're little, old people and not have to do a lot of maintenance," Blasingame said. The couple spent about $2 million on the project, which included tearing down the old house and building the 5,470-SF showpiece.

They moved into the house in late March 2009, but didn't have much time to enjoy it. Ron Blasingame was diagnosed with liver failure in August 2009 and died in September 2009.

After living in the house for more than a year, Blasingame decided to sell it.

One question on the seller's disclosure sheet that would later cause trouble for her was the question asking whether, to her knowledge, "is there or has there ever been any past or present water intrusion?"

"As I understood this question, I read it as water seeping into, being in the house, damaging the house, and I knew that had not happened," she said.

But she did notice that the windows leaked "once, twice--well, two or three times." She said she thought the issue had been corrected. Blasingame said she didn't intend to deceive anyone by not mentioning it.

For Sale

The house went on the market in the late fall of 2010 with an asking price of $1.6 million.

The residential listing touted it as being a "James Bond style" and "contemporary high tech work of art."

But that didn't spark interest in the home. After it had been on the market about a year, Dworkin noticed it in the fall of 2011.

"It's all wow," Dworkin told Arkansas Business in April 2013. The home's roof was a fourth-floor terrace and overlooked Allsopp Park.

"The house is in an excellent location," Dworkin told Arkansas Business in 2013. "The view is outstanding."

The home also featured an elevator, making all areas of the house accessible for wheelchairs, said Dworkin, who practices internal medicine with a specialty in nephrology in Little Rock.

Water Issues

In June 2012, just a few months after moving in, Dworkin noticed some water on the floor of his house, according to the court filings.

At the time, he "assumed that someone had spilt a vessel of water," but he could never figure it out, the filing said.

Dworkin and his family later noticed other water leaks in the house, according to his affidavit filed April 16.

His wife at the time, Tina Dworkin, said in her Feb. 27 deposition that when they moved in she "didn't expect to have ' to move my furniture and put tons of towels to mop up water off the floor."

She was also shocked at the price to repair the home. One estimate from June 2013 listed the repair work at $306,000. The estimate included the cost of removing and replacing the stone around the windows and removing and replacing all the windows.

"To go in and have to take windows out, the side of the house out, to redo all that, you don't expect to have to put in hundreds of thousands of dollars after you just paid 1.25 million for a house that is only two or three years old," she said.

Joel Dworkin said after he experienced the leaks that he learned that there were window leaks when Blasingame lived in the house and she had known about them.

"Had Blasingame made me aware of the issues with the windows at the home that is the subject of the lawsuit prior to closing, I would have terminated the Real Estate Contract and would not have closed the purchase," he said in the affidavit.

By Mark Friedman


Caption: The home overlooks Allsopp Park.
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Author:Friedman, Mark
Publication:Arkansas Business
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Jul 20, 2015
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