Local man denies suit’s claim he didn’t deliver on Haiti help

Posted: December 8, 2012

The Winchester Star

HARRISONBURG — A Winchester man is denying claims that he failed to provide materials and a design plan for a medical facility that was to be built in Haiti.

Donald Stevens and his company — Shelter2Home Inc. at 212 Fort Collier Road in Winchester — are being sued for $71,000 by Nova Hope For Haiti Inc., a charitable organization from New Jersey that sends volunteer medical-care providers to the country to treat those who can’t afford health care, according to a June complaint in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg.

Shelter2Home specializes in transitional shelters that convert to permanent homes for people displaced by natural disaster, war and poverty. The company also manufactures housing which ranges from low-cost to luxury, as well as medical and commercial structures.

In January 2010, a catastrophic 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, killing hundreds of thousands of people. Also that year, Nova Hope, through charitable donations, purchased property there to build a medical-care facility and residences for its volunteers, according to the complaint.

In August 2010, Nova Hope began discussions with Stevens, who allegedly said Shelter2Home could provide design-phase drawings, prepare engineering for constructional analysis of the buildings and manufacture the buildings at its Winchester facility.

In February 2011, Nova Hope entered a design agreement with Shelter2Home for designs for four buildings in Haiti at a cost of $10,000, which Nova wired to the Winchester business that month, according to the lawsuit.

Shortly after entering the agreement, the two entities entered a material purchase agreement in which Stevens and Shelter2Home agreed to provide the required materials for the buildings, according to the complaint. Nova Hope allegedly wired Shelter2Home $61,000 for the materials.

As of December 2011, Nova Hope had not received the materials or design plans, the suit states. In June 2012, the organization sued Stevens and his business for breach of contract.

Stevens has traveled to Haiti numerous times to build homes for orphans through his nonprofit organization Reconstruction Efforts Aiding Children without Homes (REACH).

He filed a response Friday in Harrisonburg that rebuts the allegations stated in the complaint.

In an email response Friday, Stevens wrote: “We deny all of the claims in the complaint and intend to vigorously defend this action, which we believe to be without merit.”

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com