Custom home builder digs himself a hole


A prominent South County builder is the subject of more than a half-dozen lawsuits, many of his signature properties have headed into the foreclosure process, and past business associates say they haven't been paid.

Around for more than 20 years, Alan Little Custom Homes of Arroyo Grande specialized in expensive, Tuscan-style oceanview homes, particularly around Shell Beach, Pismo Beach, and Arroyo Grande. Alan Little himself boasted on his Web site and in promotional materials that "Every job is a self portrait of the person who did it."

Now, the high-profile builder is involved in an equally conspicuous battle with former business associates who have filed at least eight civil lawsuits against his business in the last year, for allegations including breach of contract.

His Arroyo Grande office is closed and the phone number no longer works. Repeated attempts to reach Little through business associates were unsuccessful as of press time.

Planners involved with one of his few current projects remain tightlipped about the details or Little's role and its status. According to information on the California Contractor State License Board Web site, Little's contractor license is "expired."

Some of Little's past business contacts express frustration at Little's absence.

"He still owes us some money," said John Knight of RRM Design Group. "We've been trying to collect a chunk of money from Alan Little Custom Homes and have been unsuccessful in doing so."

Other disgruntled investors and local businessmen have banded together on a blog forum dedicated to Alan Little Custom Homes' problems. There, they've pondered his whereabouts and speculated on the state of his finances.

For the last two decades Little has been busy sprinkling "custom" homes up and down the coast, with the persistence of Thomas Kincade. According to Architectural & Construction Professional Magazine, Little was completing one "dream" home per month. His signature style of coastline mansions and mini-mansions included dramatic entries, elaborate courtyards, arches, and lots of windows. In real estate, his name has often been attached to homes as a selling point.

According to foreclosure information compiled by First American Title Co., at least three Alan Little Custom Homes are currently in the foreclosure process.

According to Pismo Beach City documents, several of his properties there have also been cited for needing weed abatement.

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