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No fans of Beacon turn up

At least one fan of Clyde B. Hoeldtke Jr. would call, I thought.

Surely there was one person who would publicly back the beleaguered Beacon Homes builder's claim that he has been steadily paying back home buyers and subcontractors during the past year and a half. At least that's what I thought two weeks ago when I asked any recently satisfied Beacon Homes customers to call.

A few people did call, but not one had anything good to say about Hoeldtke, whose company built 13,000 homes more than 30 years before it fell upon hard financial times nearly two years ago, leaving subcontractors unpaid and dozens of homeowners with unfinished or lien-laden homes.

One woman called to say that Hoeldtke's company had neglected to pour a slab under her bathtub when her house was built more than a decade ago, leaving an opening for subterranean termites.

Another couple wrote a letter to Hoeldtke, with copies to the Times, asking him to pay them the money he has owed them for the past two years.

And then Irby Chambers called and said there is a warrant out for Hoeldtke's arrest in Colorado.

For more than two years, Chambers has tried to collect money from Hoeldtke, Chambers said. He said he used to work for the builder and gave Hoeldtke a $17,000 down payment for a home in Citrus County about 2{ years ago.

After months of refusing to close the deal, Hoeldtke told him he couldn't sell the house. It was in Hoeldtke's father's name. Chambers sued and won a judgment of more than $27,000 about 18 months ago.

He has been trying unsuccessfully to collect the judgment since then, he said. Recently, he hired a Colorado attorney to help collect the debt because Hoeldtke has moved to Evergreen, Colo., where he is developing luxury homes.

Attorney George W. Boyle II subpoenaed Hoeldtke to come in and give an accounting of his finances. When Hoeldtke didn't show up, a judge issued a warrant for his arrest, Boyle said.

That, however, doesn't mean Hoeldtke is on his way to jail. Police usually don't go looking for people who have had this type of warrant issued against them, Boyle said. If Hoeldtke happens to be stopped for a traffic violation or something else, and the officer finds there is an outstanding warrant, then he could be taken to jail and required to post $1,000 bail, Boyle said.

In the meantime, Hoeldtke's Florida problems continue. Last week a statewide grand jury, which has been investigating Hoeldtke and Beacon Homes for possible criminal wrongdoing, went back into session.

A little more than two weeks ago Hoeldtke came to the Times' Port Richey office to give his side of what he called his "nightmare."

He said he paid off three-fourths of the roughly $4-million he said he owed home buyers and subcontractors. He promised to pay the rest as soon as he could.

But he wouldn't name a single customer that he has made whole. He did say he would talk to his lawyer about it, but he hasn't called since.

Hoeldtke also did not return the Times' telephone call last week.