YouTube’s popular ACE Family claims they were scammed by a shady contractor who took millions of dollars from them, abandoned their unfinished home, and left them unable to get a certificate of occupancy.
The family vloggers, who boast 18.9 million followers on the platform, made headlines in October when it was reported that their $10 million Los Angeles mansion – which features heavily on their channel – was in foreclosure.
Mom Catherine McBroom now alleges to DailyMail.com that she and her husband Austin were the victims of a dishonest contractor who used a fake license, took their money, and ran off before he finished building their house.
‘I transferred the funds to finish the house and they dissolved the company within weeks. They took the money and ran, and they never came back,’ she said.
For more than two years, the McBrooms were paying a $70,000-per-month mortgage for an unfinished home that didn’t even have gas – meaning no heat or hot water.
‘When you don’t have gas, you don’t have heat. The winters are getting colder now due to global warming, and I have two babies and I’m pregnant and I’m freezing because I have a glass home with tile floors,’ Catherine said.
Ultimately, they were told they couldn’t get a certificate of occupancy — required for living in a house — because the home couldn’t pass inspection.
YouTube’s popular ACE Family made headlines in October when it was reported that their $10 million Los Angeles mansion was in foreclosure
The family says they can no longer live in this house in Woodland Hills, California because they got scammed by a contractor
The property was initially being built with two homes when they asked the contractor if he could make it into one big one for them instead
Catherine and her husband, Austin McBroom, began looking for a new home after their previous one was broken into in 2018.
The mom-of-three explained that when she first discovered the house, which sits at 4838 Calderon Road in Woodland Hills, California, it was originally being built as two different homes on one piece of property.
The family immediately fell in love with it. They asked the contractor if he could turn the two homes into one big home for them, and he agreed.
‘The builder that was on site, his name was Avi and he was really nice and helpful,’ Catherine told DailyMail.com.
‘At the time, we were asking him if it would be possible to build just one house on that property because we really liked it.
‘It’s a two-acre property in Los Angeles — beautiful view, a beautiful property. We really fell in love with the property itself.
‘We saw what he had done with both of the houses — they were very modern, really our style so we asked him if we could combine the property, kind of as a joke.
Rumors swirled that the family, who boast 18.9 million followers on YouTube, were being evicted because they couldn’t afford to pay their bills
But Catherine McBroom now tells DailyMail.com that she and her husband Austin were the victims of a dishonest contractor who used a fake license
She said he took their money and ran off before he finished building their house
Catherine said she put millions of dollars into the construction that was needed to combine the two homes
‘But he ended up coming back to us a week later and saying, “Oh yeah, I can actually do it, I can get the permit for it and we can do it.”
‘I was kind of desperate to just find a place to call my own and I was really excited to build my house and make it how I want it.’
Catherine said she put millions of dollars into the construction that was needed to combine the two homes, which she paid directly to Avi. But before he finished it, she claims he ‘took their money and ran — and never came back.’
‘What happened was, I put a couple of million dollars into the property, put an extra couple million to finish the property (as far as the joining of the houses) and all the changes that we added – the landscaping, all of that came out of pocket,’ she explained.
‘We paid Avi for those changes. Him and his wife had made an LLC or a corporation under a random name, and I didn’t know that at the time.’
She alleges that after she transferred money Avi, their company was dissolved within weeks and they never heard from them again.
Despite the house not being finished, the influencer explained that she and her family — they had two kids, two daughters named Elle and Alaïa, at the time – had to move in because they were already paying the mortgage on it, and the lease had ended on their last home.
She said that after she transferred money to the contractor they’d been dealing with, the company was dissolved within weeks and they never heard from them again
They were forced to live in the unfinished home without any gas – which meant no hot water or heat – for more than two years
Meanwhile, the McBrooms were paying a $70,000-per-month mortgage
They were forced to live in the unfinished home without any gas — which meant no hot water or heat — for more than two years.
‘I got pregnant [with son Steel] two months after I moved into the house. It was hard for me because I had to get accustomed to all of the things I didn’t have in my home,’ Catherine explained.
‘For example, I couldn’t do laundry, I couldn’t dry my clothes. I had to hang everything or go to the laundry mat.
‘Mind you, I’m living in a $10 million home, and this is so unacceptable. But my personality type is, I get accustomed to things because I’ve lived in every kind of scenario you can imagine.
‘I’ve always been very grateful to even have a home. So when all of these things were happening, I was just like, “I’m going to see the positive in this.”
‘I never complained, I was never emotional about it. No one really knew except our really close friends and family members.
‘When you’re paying $70,000 a month on a mortgage, you would expect to have the best. And I didn’t have the best and I wasn’t happy.
Austin McBroom and two of their kids, Elle and Alaïa, are pictured inside the home
‘When you don’t have gas, you don’t have heat,’ Catherine (pictured with Elle) said
The home was incredibly luxurious with an enormous closet, but they didn’t even have heat
‘I’m freezing and the home isn’t built right, and that’s not fair, that’s not right. Dealing for that for so long was really hard.’
When they started looking into Avi, they discovered that he was not even a licensed contractor.
‘I didn’t know this at the time but come to find out later on that Avi wasn’t actually a licensed contractor, he was using someone else’s license to make this happen,’ she claimed.
‘The real contractors, the real people who owned that land – their name is T&L Construction. It’s an older gentleman and his son, they came to our property while we were there but they never introduced themselves as the actual owners and the contractors of the company.
‘What Avi worked out with them was, “Hey, this is a family, they’re well off. I know how to talk to them, I’ve already built a relationship with them, let me handle everything and you guys make the money on the back end.”
‘Come to find out, Avi took all the money and never even paid them. They got screwed over as well, but looking back on it, they were very much a part of the whole scheme.’
‘The winters are getting colder now due to global warming, and I have two babies and I’m pregnant and I’m freezing because I have a glass home with tile floors,’ she recalled
They couple had shared an extensive home tour and the house was featured heavily on their channel
Eventually, the house went into foreclosure because they couldn’t get the certificate of occupancy
Another problem they faced was that they couldn’t get a certificate of occupancy, which is required to live in a home.
Catherine said: ‘Really early in the whole thing, we found out we didn’t have a certificate of occupancy. Avi kept saying, “I’ll get it, I’ll get it.”
‘He left the site and I never got the certificate of occupancy. If you know anything about homes, you have to have the certificate of occupancy to live in your home. I never got it, I still never got it to this day.
‘Every time we asked the city to come out and do the inspections to get the certificate of occupancy, no one ever showed up.
‘And when we did have someone finally show up, they said there were so many mistakes that the builder made that it would never pass inspection, even if I spent millions of dollars it would never pass inspection because he did the job so poorly.’
Eventually, the house went into foreclosure because they couldn’t get the certificate of occupancy.
‘All the money went down the drain, and the house went under foreclosure because I didn’t have a certificate of occupancy,’ she continued.
After their contractor, whose name is Avi, disappeared, they discovered that he was not even a licensed contractor and that he had lied to them. Alaïa is pictured inside the home
They couldn’t get a certificate of occupancy, which is required to live in a home, because the house couldn’t pass inspection
They couldn’t get a certificate of occupancy because the city told them ‘the house would never pass inspection because he did the job so poorly,’ so they had to move out
‘When it went under foreclosure, the only way to save it if we wanted to, was to put another million dollars into it.
‘I still wouldn’t have had the certificate of occupancy so I still wouldn’t legally be a tenant at that home. So my husband and I decided, let’s not put more money into this. This is a money pit, let’s just let it go and find a new house and move forward.’
Catherine is now sharing her story because she wants to clear the air.
‘Unfortunately before we were able to speak up and talk about the issues with the home, the narrative was that the house was under foreclosure because we didn’t pay our bills, but that was so far from the truth,’ she said.
‘That tarnishes and taints my image and that makes it seem like I’m doing something wrong, and that effects my real life.
‘The truth is the truth. The truth is that we never got a certificate of occupancy, it’s not that we didn’t pay our bills.’
Catherine, who recently started renting a new home with her family, even claimed that when they were trying to sign the lease on their new place, nobody wanted to rent to them because of all the false rumors that were being spread about them being unable to pay their mortgage.
‘We found this beautiful home that we love, it’s a new building, new structure,’ she said.
‘The owner is an older gentleman, and his son, he’s my age, in his 30s, and he’s a lawyer. He was like don’t rent it out to them, I just looked them up on social media and they didn’t pay their mortgage, that’s why they went under foreclosure.
Catherine said she was happy to let go of the home, and called the whole thing a ‘learning lesson’
The property also included a pool, a basketball court, and mini golf
They decided not to press charges against Avi because he had already filed for bankruptcy
‘Because of that, they charged my much more than they would have. They made me pay six months up front just so that I could live in this home. Which is so unfair, the narrative wasn’t real.’
As for Avi, they claimed that they did not to press legal charges against him because he had already filed for bankruptcy.
‘The thing is, the guy went under bankruptcy, and when you go under bankruptcy there’s really nothing you can do about it,’ she added.
‘At that point, I was like, we’re not going to sue him. Why are we going to spend all this time and energy suing someone who has nothing?
‘At the time, my goal was to get that certificate of occupancy, I was honestly planning on staying there forever, I was planning on fixing the mistakes that the contractor had done.
‘I wanted to save my house, I already put millions of dollars into it. But when we never got the certificate of occupancy that’s when we realized, we’re not going to ever move forward with this, there are way too many mistakes.’
In the end, Catherine said she was happy to let go of the home and called the whole thing a ‘learning lesson.’
Now, The Ace family has found a new home and Catherine said they are doing ‘good’ and very ‘happy’
Catherine is sharing her story because the rumors that they couldn’t afford their mortgage ‘tarnishes and taints her image.’ Catherine and Austin are pictured outside the home
‘All of the years I was there, I had hope that I was going to get the certificate of occupancy, I had hope the entire time,’ she explained.
‘When the house went under foreclosure that’s when I realized, “Okay, this is not savable and there’s no going back. This is what it is.”
‘That was my breaking point but then I realized that I was so unhappy in that house from the beginning. It was divine, it was going to happen anyway.
‘I had to accept it then I lost complete attachment to it. I have so much detachment to it that when I was moving, I was so happy.
‘I had never been so happy. It was a huge thing for me, realizing this wasn’t meant for us. It was just temporary and it was a lesson.
‘I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me, at the end of the day that was a learning lesson to me.
‘I didn’t have the right team, I didn’t have the right people looking through my stuff. Everyone involved was there just to make money off of me. That’s something I had to learn and I’m already passed that.’
She suggested to anyone else who is looking to buy their own home: ‘Have the right team – have a team that aren’t just people who love you and care for you. Have people who do this for a living.
‘Have a house manager review everything. We had people that we love — our family — looking over things but they’re not professionals.
Rumors also spread recently about them having no money after a TikToker discovered that they were selling their old furniture online. But Catherine said that they’re just downsizing
‘Don’t be so naive and trust people because they say that they’re good or because they invite you to dinner and they’re around your family and kids, that was one of the things that I had to learn.
‘Don’t trust people just because they say they’re trustworthy or because they say they have a license. That was a learning lesson for me.’
Rumors also spread recently about them having no money after a TikToker discovered that the YouTubers were selling some of their old furniture online.
But Catherine explained that they’re only getting rid of it because they want to downsize after moving into a smaller home.
‘Yes, we are selling our old furniture. We had a 17,000-square-foot home and we moved into an 8,000-square-foot home so we no longer needed all of that excess furniture,’ she shared.
‘The house we just moved into, we had a designer come in and design the home. I bought new furniture, so I no longer needed that old furniture.
‘Not to mention the old furniture actually low-key gave me some negative a** vibes so I just wanted to get rid of it.
‘People are very simple minded and we live in a time where people want to think the worst when in reality, we are just humans living a human experience.
‘We made a bad investment, we got screwed over, life moves on.’