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'I can't sleep': Sarasota, Charlotte homeowners in limbo over unfinished houses.

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Alan Tannenbaum, a Sarasota construction litigation attorney with Tannenbaum Lemole & Kleinberg, once represented about 125 investors who found themselves in a similar situation as many of the Konsul Development's clients, with large deposits paid out and half-finished homes in North Port and Charlotte County.

That case eventually resulted in the fraud conviction of a Tampa banker and mortgage broker, but often criminal charges are difficult to prove, he said.

"This is a repeat of a problem that has plagued Charlotte County and North Port," he said. "You can't take construction funds without intent to finish construction."

Tannenbaum is not representing any of the people who had contracted with Konsul Development and did not know all the facts in the individual cases.

But he said that generally, inexperienced contractors can "box themselves in" by undertaking several contracts at once. The costs come due and the contractor loses money or doesn't have the means to finish construction. 

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