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Builder Offers to Buy Back Homes

The chairman of the board of Shapell Industries Inc., Nathan Shapell, has offered to buy the houses of dissatisfied owners in the Kite Hill tract in Laguna Niguel.

At least half a dozen homeowners have sued S & S Construction Co., the home-building unit of Shapell Industries, since 1984, alleging that the builder and subcontractors failed to correctly grade the site and test and compact the soil. Still another lawsuit contends that there is poor plumbing, design and construction in a house in the tract.

Shapell said he would pay the original owners who have lived in their houses since the tract open a decade ago double their purchase prices in cash. He will not require proof that any work done by S & S Construction Co. caused the defects.

“We do not want anybody to live in an S & S home who isn’t happy,” Shapell said. The company has built an estimated 60,000 houses in California since it was organized 34 years ago including 40,000 in Orange County, according to S & S spokesman Richard Mahan, who added that so far, no one has taken Shapell up on his buy-back offer.

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