Growthophobia Symptom Of Kastera Death?

The economic medicine is apparently beginning to cure severe cases of “growthophobia.”
First it was Tamarack bankrupt, then the recent ruling on the downtown “Boise Pit.” Today we got a nasty tip about inside bloodletting at Kastera Homes. Looks like nearly all the top dogs from the CEO on down have been dumped. The lead dog reportedly got the word via e-mail while in Australia on vacation.

A piece in the Thursday Daily Paper quotes a spokesman at parent company DBSI saying the workforce has been reduced, but they aren’t folding.

If memory serves us, they are the folks with the friendly radio sports about the “old neighborhood.” Sound like the neighborhood is the wrong part of town and in decay if the LINK INFO is correct.

The GUARDIAN checked with some real estate developer friends–we actually have one or two–and they say word on the street is it is curtains for the developer. Subs are calling for cash and some are getting stiffed, but that’s never news working with speculation developers.

Growthophobes can take some solace in the news that another land speculator has met its maker. On the downside is the pain and suffering for the “believers” who worked at Kastera.

Yesterday’s news of arrests and pending investigations of some 400 people in the lending industry tends to confirm the rumors of predatory loan practices and people walking away from million dollar homes in the middle of the night.
We were told yesterday of a subdivision near Kuna was a single home (sales office) in it that has foreclosure notices posted on site.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. I don’t think Kastera/DBSI demise is related to growth but more to the economy and financing schemes far away from any Idaho subdivision. The scathing blog link validates this.

    Home grown developers will continue to do okay because they are firmly planted here locally.

    EDITOR NOTE: Clancy, I agree. We have to figure a way to work in GROWTHOPHOBE, however. Also, the national financing scandal did indeed make it possible for these dudes–local or not–to sell homes to people who could ill afford them regardless of price or size. BTW whatever happened to the movie set village with a Mediterrainean them at Black Creek?

  2. sad for the employees
    Jun 20, 2008, 6:09 pm

    I knew some of the people who worked at Kastera. They were great and really believed in trying to create a better product. Their CEO was great and had to deal with impossible circumstances with DBSI management. All I can say is that if the layoffs went down the way I heard they did, than DBSI has a lot of apologies to give.

    p.s. DBSI also laid off 100 people beside the Kastera folks.

  3. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 20, 2008, 7:29 pm

    Unfortunately, growthophobia had little or nothing to do with it. The blame for the economic mess we find ourselves in can be squarely placed on the bad policies and incompetent mis-management of the planet by the devil himself, G. W. Bush. There isn’t enough space on the entire internet to catalog his failures, crimes, incompetantcies, and other assorted evil-doing. And there are 213 long days left before we are rid of this menace.

  4. I have a developer friend who was building houses last year. This year he is applying for jobs at retail stores, and trying to sell his house. This economic downturn wiped him out. He didn’t see it coming, because he just wasn’t paying attention.

    If you pay attention to the underground news coming out of places like…
    The Boise Guardian
    The Guardian UK, and many other sources around the world

    …you quickly realize there are two Americas.

    One America is being overdosed with corporate misinformation slickly packaged, and insidiously distributed via a propaganda medium known as television and newspapers.

    The other America is a place where folks understand what is really happening, because they search for information. They have cast off the spell of the consumer / motorist / ‘cog in the machine’, and see the world as it truly exists. They stand in awe at the enormous mess that has been created by unbridled greed, cleverly called capitalism.

    Those of us in the second America have been trying to enlighten those in the first, but the corporate machine never rests, and never runs out of money.

    Warren Buffet predicted a housing problem in his shareholder meeting a few years ago. The popular media focused on Brittany Spears.

    The subprime crisis was being heralded as a disaster long before the popular media ‘discovered’ the story. ‘They’ were just negative people not to be listened to. Natering Nabobs of Negativism.

    Petroleum geologists have been writing books and speaking all around the world in a frenzy about ‘Peak Oil’ and its probable implications for 6 years. Cutie Couric on the channel 2 @ 4:30 world news reports, “…who knew” regarding the current oil crisis and its devastating effects on the economy. The answer is… (drum roll please) the petroleum geologists & scientists, as well as thousands of other experts who one might reasonably might expect to know a thing or two about the worlds oil supply. But, alas, the popular media could only find 2 people to repeatedly interview, Amory Lovins and Daniel Yergin. They were the only two supposed knowledgeable people who would constantly give happy news to the troubled little American consumer / motorist / investor.

    The sad thing is, just as the Idaho Association of Realtors waves its magic wand and pronounces the housing crisis over, we from 2nd America know better. We know the fertilizer is still traveling toward the fan. The coming economic challenges will make us wish more people had visited the 2nd America, so we might be better prepared to enter this strange new future of reversing growth and reversing globalism.

    Google ‘Peak Oil’. Do it again, and again, follow all the links until your little rose colored glasses shatter into a million pieces. You don’t need them any more. They will only bring you pain.

  5. From (whatever that is):

    Jun 20
    The Whited Walls of DBSI

    Those representing Kastera homes in the news regarding the recent lay-offs were not very forthcoming.

    I wanted to clarify things based on facts that they are choosing to overlook.

    My company, Tricycle Brand Management, is (was) in charge of the marketing direction for Kastera Homes and have been an integral part of their operation from web development to fulfilling the role as CMO (chief marketing officer) for years. I am also related to Doug Swenson, owner of DBSI and the son of Kastera Homes former CEO (more on that in a sec), Joe Swenson.

    The following information is direct knowledge, information from former employees and from the former CEO himself:

    Kastera Homes laid off the complete staff, to the point that it would be impossible for it to remain in operation. They would like you to believe that they just trimmed down the staff … however, here are the critical positions that were removed from the staff:

    CEO – kinda hard to run day-to-day operations without one
    Director of Operations
    Broker, Director of Sales – hard to sell houses without a broker
    Research & Development Manager
    IT Manager – the computer network was shut down, no one can access their emails, sort of hard to run a company with your grid all dark and non-operational
    Accounting – really? need I say more.
    …and others
    The CEO was on a family trip that had been planned for over a year, out of the country, when it all went down. The HR person that showed up on Kastera’s door to lay everyone off informed the staff that they had gotten in touch with Joe Swenson in Australia and let him know of what was happening.

    In truth, no one ever contacted him. Joe found out through an email sent by a DBSI employee that was laid off the same day. He actually had to send an email to Suzann Swenson, Doug Swenson’s wife, to ask what was going on.

    In reply to his email, she said that she was regretful that their decision included the laying-off of his position, and that she was sorry for the timing but HR suggested that they do it all at once.

    She didn’t inform him whatsoever of the employment status of any other member of his team or the status of Kastera as a whole.

    My opinion? This is a cowardly way of going about business. No member of the Swenson family, affiliated with DBSI, was present at Kastera when the firings took place, even though Suzann has been placed at the top as the ‘owner’ and her daughter was in charge of all home design.

    I am ashamed to be associated with the ‘DBSI Swensons’ at this point. If that sounds un-professional, it is, but sometimes people need to remember that markets change, wealth comes and goes, poverty strikes, but the relationships that we maintain with family and friends remain throughout.

    The measures were possibly understandable due to the break-down at DBSI. However, their approach was very disrespectful toward everyone that has put in a massive effort trying to keep Kastera afloat in a poor market. Joe Swenson has said on repeated occasions that he reveres his staff and has, at times, considered that they were the best reason for sticking it out at Kastera. This would not have been how he would have chosen to see his team informed and treated.

    It is plausible that DBSI can ‘keep Kastera’s doors open’ and front the burden of going through the paperwork and other motions involved with a residential home sale … however, Kastera is just a shell right now with no employees, just a construction manager who is helping to finish up a few houses.

    So, I have a list of good former employees if anyone is interested. And I can recommend a CEO that truly believes that integrity produces results … when given the opportunity to do his job.

  6. I had occasion to do business with DBSI some years ago and was not impressed. The guys I worked with were sorely lacking in the truthiness department.

  7. Rod: The quinessential bush basher… vague blabber sprinkled with name calling. If you have something of interest to add about growth in the valley then please do so. If you want to talk economics we can debate Neo-classical, Keynesian, Monetarist, whatever you want. But all you subaru drivers with your 400 political bumper stickers spew the same crap and never actually say anything. “Bush is the devil,” blah, blah, blah. I remember track housing taking over farmland back in Clintons days in office. Contribute something original.

  8. Wow! Rod. You forgot to blame him for the floods in the midwest, the fires in California,(we all know he controls lightning) and be sure not to forget that little pimple on your butt. That was obviously his fault as well.

  9. Really too bad about Kastera. Just a fact of life w/ the residential downtown. DBSI is a little creepy, though.

    The whole GWB banter cracks me up. Genius Rod and his kind always say GW is the dumbest individual on the planet and then blame him for all sorts of crazy conspiracies. Hey Rod – don’t forget to put your helmet on before catching that bus.

  10. Who would have ever thought that people with bad credit, no money and low paying jobs would ever default on their home mortgages. Once again, greedy bankers, mortgage lenders, wall street speculators and bond underwriters have created a mess for the rest of us to fix.

    The prosecution of some of these creeps is long over due and hope it becomes very painful when they join the last bunch of crooked CEO’s, bankers and junk bond dealers doing time in federal prisons. The perp walks in the news this past week don’t even begin to expose the depth of deceit and fraud that was encouraged and tolerated.

    The only thing wrong with Sarbanes-Oxley is that it does not cover enough stuff.

  11. Bob, excellent post, but I beg to differ on one point. Capitalism is not to blame. It’s the abuse of the 14th amendment, i.e., corporate person-hood. We’ve given corporations all the rights that people have, but corporations have very little in the way of responsibility and accountability that people have.

    Regarding the Kastera topic; who did the laying-off? How can the CEO get laid off? Given the current economic situation, maybe the CEO should have canceled his trip to Australia.

  12. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 23, 2008, 1:18 pm

    I just went back and re-read my post. I like it, and stand by it. I was commenting on the bursting of the housing bubble nationwide, which has nothing to do with growthophobia here locally.

    After 7 and a half years of the Bush administration, how can anyone deny their mis-management of the country. In some cases their mis-management is due to the incompetence of the political hacks they appointed (like hiring people FROM the coal mining industry to regulate the coal mining industry), and in other cases it is their policies that are the problem, for instance – de-regulation of the banking and finance industries.

    I didn’t call either of you any names and if Bush wants to defend himself, he can log on to this website. And, they are tract houses, not track houses, I don’t drive a subaru, and the only bumper sticker I have says BSU Alum. Furthermore, I didn’t say anything nice about the Democrats, since they are just Republicans in sheeps clothing.

    Oh, and by the way, be sure to vote for McCain. I can’t wait to hear him to declare war on the Moon.

  13. Kastera has a subdivision out off South Cole named South Hill. There have been four homes built (one a parade home) that have not sold. There are 40+ empty sites waiting to be built. The houses are nice but bad location and crammed onto tiny lots…

  14. boisecynic,

    the ceo was laid off by email.

    as for canceling the trip. it was planned for a year and was a trip with his daughter through her school for a social studies class.

  15. UWGS – who sent the email to the CEO? The point being made was who would have the authority to lay off a CEO? The CEO is usually considered to be the top of the food chain in most organizations, and the one who would be doing the laying off.

  16. You would think so, right?

    The email came from DBSI, which owns Kastera Homes. Sources say that the email came from the DBSI ownership.

  17. sadfortheemployees
    Jun 24, 2008, 7:14 pm

    Looks like the blog was pulled down. I wonder why? *wink*

    I am sure DBSI had nothing to do with it. *wink* *wink*

  18. TJ, I always thought either the owner of the company (private) or the board of the company (public) had authority over the CEO and was therefore considered the CEO’s supervisor.

  19. You are right, Tex. It does seem strange that the company could be in such bad shape that the CEO would get fired while out of town. Didn’t those guys talk to each other?

  20. anothervoice
    Jun 26, 2008, 8:42 pm

    If only you new what a cluster DBSI is. It is a very weird culture.

  21. The Kastera people and DBSI remind me of the mental giants at the GM plants building gigantic SUV and trucks all saying in unison “WTF?”. I’ll include the mental capacity of Bush supporters as well. Why don’t they just blame Clinton for the Kastera meltdown. After all, he got the hot economy going that created Kastera.

  22. I would also like to point out that the local newspaper is running another article today about Kastera keeping the doors open. Why? They already ran this. Is the local rag now the new PR firm working for Kastera?

    Here is the link to the article…

  23. Hey Dave,

    Maybe you can find out for us why the local paper is again running ANOTHER story on DBSI? Yet another story just out today. It looks like the article the WHY? posted but the date is today’s date and it does have a different url.

    Who at the Idaho Statesman is doing these “favors” for DBSI?

  24. Unknown Reader
    Jun 30, 2008, 1:55 pm

    Isn’t it rather interesting that Chuck Winder, who recently won the primary for State Senate is on the board of directors of DBSI? Check out who we just elected:

    UWGS wrote: “Maybe you can find out for us why the local paper is again running ANOTHER story on DBSI? Yet another story just out today. It looks like the article the WHY? posted but the date is today’s date and it does have a different url.
    Who at the Idaho Statesman is doing these “favors” for DBSI?”

  25. ambivelentone
    Jul 14, 2008, 11:31 pm

    Let’s spread a little blame on Congress here as well. If I recall they were twisting arms pretty hard in the late 80’s and through the 90’s to get the criteria watered down for home ownership to include more of the “less fortunate”. Schumer’s recent multi billion dollar gaff certainly proves that they have earned their single digit approval rating!

    Paul wrote: “Who would have ever thought that people with bad credit, no money and low paying jobs would ever default on their home mortgages. Once again, greedy bankers, mortgage lenders, wall street speculators and bond underwriters have created a mess for the rest of us to fix.”

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: