M. Christopher Custom Home Builder Goes Bankrupt, Leaving Families in a Lurch

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M. Christopher Completed-Frame
Another high-end builder in North Texas has filed for bankruptcy. This time it’s M. Christopher Custom Home Builder, who left many clients with liens and unfinished properties. (Photo: M. Christoper and Company)

Families all over Dallas-Fort Worth are left in a lurch after M. Christopher Custom Home Builder has filed for bankruptcy.

According to a report from NBC 5, several homeowners in developments across North Texas put significant deposits on half-constructed homes only to see that money disappear and no progress at their homesites. It’s a situation not unlike what former clients of Bella Vita Custom Homes are facing after that company declared bankruptcy.

Owned by Rudy Rivas, M. Christopher Custom Home Builder and was founded in 2006 and has built homes in developments such as Arlington’s Viridian; Colleyville’s St. Andrews; Remington Park in Fairview; The Lakes in Keller; Lewisville’s Highpoint Oaks; Brockdale and Rockland Farms in Lucas; Bristol Park in Lucas and Parker; Dallas’ M Streets; Prosper’s Christie Farms, Saddle Creek, and Whispering Farms; Mallard Reserve in Rowlett; Carillon and Highland-Southlake in Southlake; and Westlake’s Vaquero Addition.

M. Christopher Viridian_KOH_Livingrm_centerview_3602248626-o
A finished great room from M. Christopher Custom Home Builder in Arlington’s Viridian. (Photo: M. Christopher and Company)

While Rivas claims on his website that “Transforming dreams into reality,” is what M. Christopher Homes does best, many clients caught up in his company’s bankruptcy are in the middle of a personal nightmare. For a multitude of reasons, a homebuilder filing for bankruptcy is different — especially because those who suffer the most are families left without a home.

Take Gilbert and Heather Melendrez for example. The couple claims in the report from NBC 5 that M. Christopher Custom Home Builder took their life savings — more than $200,000 — and made almost no progress on their home. The Melendrez family bought a house that was already halfway under construction, putting down a deposit on the home, which when/if completed, would be a $1.3 million property.

In one instance, when a client was just about to move into their home built by Rivas’ company, the bank foreclosed on it. There was more than $1 million in debt tied to the property. Rivas wanted the client to pay it off, but the client balked.

Soon afterward, word got out that Rivas’ company was in hot water. The Melendrez family spent $200,000 before they found out about the company’s insolvency.

Before they could take action they say M. Christopher’s owners called a meeting with them wanting more cash.

“I said, ‘If you need more money it is because y’all are having financial problems.’ And they looked at each other and just stormed out of the house,” Gilbert Melendrez said.

NBC 5 tried to track down Rivas for weeks before he replied with this statement:

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had to seek protection of bankruptcy. We are sincerely sorry for this situation,” he said.

Besides filing a lawsuit and becoming another in a long line of creditors, there is little a client trapped in a homebuilder’s bankruptcy can do. Could we be seeing a rash of custom home builders folding from economic pressure and too much demand?


Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for CandysDirt.com. While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

Reader Interactions


  1. Tag Gilkeson says


    I was an project manager for M. Christopher for a little less than a year back in 2012. I have since moved on and got my degree in architecture and also construction management.

    I am still in contact with the owners that I built houses for while I was there. I made lifetime friends building houses for wonderful families.

    I feel compelled to offer a lifeline to anyone that may have gotten handled unfairly while with M. Christopher. Although I can’t offer this to everyone, I would be willing to work pro bono for a select few people as a way to help put their lives back together.

    Again, I have no affiliation with M. Christopher since I left several years ago, but I still made lifetime relationships that are worth my volunteer time.

    Please feel free to reach out to me if I can help in any way.

    • Ishmael says

      You are so amazing to offer on helping others. Anyway I would like to connect with you and share business.

    • Ishmael says

      I worked for M. Christopher 2007 and all was well. I moved on and am shocked to hear this. But if anyone is interested such of great customer homes feel free to contact me. Our Country Homes is the best and that is whom I know work for.
      E: Ishmaelc21@realtyagent.com

    • Ben says

      Tag – We purchased a M. Christopher home in Rockland farms. Built end of 2013. Trying to get plans for it to expand. City say’s even if they have them I can’t copy them since they are copyrighted. Tried J Anthony but Tony is of ZERO help. Any thoughts on who can release them so I can get a copy or is that a pipe dream?

        • Ben says

          Tag – didn’t see this until just now. We had to move on and get some of the plans redone.
          Maybe my post came off wrong in that we were not “burned” by M Christopher or from J. Anthony but merely could not find who held the plans for our house. Since this post we broke ground on our project, Tony came up for air, and has really been an asset to help us get connected with the right people. I can appreciate a builder that is swamped like, J Anthony is. Says a lot to me when they are flat out with multiple builds. Tony has gone above and beyond with helping us now while all along this job is not contracted by J. Anthony. Again says a lot. I for one would like to get a bit more “J. Anthony touch” to our M. Christopher home as he really puts together some beautiful homes.

    • Former Tag Client says

      Be weary of Tag as his designs are basic student level, not professional, and he doesn’t pay his taxes. He is not to be trusted.

  2. Poncho says

    Interviewed with Rudy at Grand homes. So sorry for him. Let all try to help each other, passing judgement and egos no good here. Learn to help and not be so greedy. Hopefully the money will salve karma. I can’t sleep if I wrong people, hopefully his mission will be to ignore comfort and try to help the people who suffered from bad karma.

  3. Donovan Lord says

    This is why we need to reinstate licensing for contractors AND builders in Texas. They once had that here, but Texas got rid of it after complaints from contractors/etc. whom felt being licensed was an impediment to their success. If we have one body overseeing them, and ensuring solvency and accountability it would stop this from happening. As an architect/designer I have had so many issues with contractors doing things like this but it hurts the families/clients the most. Terrible

    • Judy Meaux says

      Amen on needing law requiring builders acquire a license & are subject to being monitored regarding building standards along w/honest & fair business practices. I am 1 of the unfortunate homeowners who had a home built by M Christopher. After almost 3 years of trying to get my home built & after closing in Feb 2016, I am still trying to get my house finished. Now received a letter stating we may not sue or request repayment for expenses incurred due to inaction, poor workmanship, etc. To add further insults to us by the incompletion of our home, we incurred a water leak due to A/C condensation line from attic not being connected to drain trap under the. Atheism vanity downstairs. A lot of water damage was incurred, including mild & mildew being present & repairs stopped in October 2016. Our replaced wood flooring hasn’t been stained, bedroom carpet & pad haven’t been removed & replaced, the fireplace hearth needs to be rebuilt, painting still needed, bathroom vanity mirror & granite countertop & sink need installation. These repairs are due to the leak & do not include finishing our house. The biggest & most important repair on the house is the outdoor kitchen needs to be removed & rebuilt. Although correct info was provided it the size needed, it was built incorrectly & appliances (already purchased for new house) do not fit. We have not had use of it since closing in 2016.

  4. Jenice Pizzuto says

    Is the pool company Artisan Costum Pools, Matt Rivas, Rudy’s son involved in the bankruptcy, How does one find out? We have a poold contract with Artisan starting in two weeks.

    • Gail says

      Jenice, even if Artisan Pools is not a part of the M Christopher bankruptcy, I would suggest you do your due diligence before starting a pool with them. We talked to Matt…..not impressed. He has not been in the business long and is inexperienced. The company is ultimately run by the same person who ran MChristopher Homes. We did a little research and found they have difficulty completing projects on time and quality of product is an issue. They used to be called M Christopher Pools – changed their name for a reason, I suspect.

      • Judy Meaux says

        M Christopher has 35 additional businesses which I think are associated w/Rudy Rivas and/or his family. I would not do business w/anyone or any business associates w/this company or person. I’m speaking as 1 of the homeowners left w/many repairs or completion of our home. Was notified today by bankruptcy court that we have no recourse to sue or request reimbursements of any kind unless personally notified. There are at least 50 homeowners that have been left w/o homes (or homes needing significant repairs) & w/o reimbursement of their deposit m. In fact the unfinished homes have been repossessed.

        • Sam T. says

          Couple of M Christopher employees rented a home next to me for almost 9 years. Their trucks were parked outside, sometimes on the lawn or even ran over my lawn a few times. I called Rivas, left VM to ask he can ask his employees, contractors to not run over my lawn (at times, there were as many as 7 cars parked on the property, probably 5+ people living in a 2BR 1400 sq ft home).

          Rivas came to my house, banged on my door, cursed me out, dropped racial slurs and said he is a multi- multi millionaire and threatened to sue me. Bahahaha! What a crazy old nut job. Negative comments about him, his businesses do not surprise me.

          One of the employees, Tom, rented a room to his buddy who was dealing drugs. Five police cars, two DEA cars (I counted 12 officers/DEA agents) arrested him one night in front of our neighborhood. They homeowner tore down the home in 2016 and Tom decided to build couple of millionaire homes in the lot. He failed miserably. The home owner replaced him with a professional to finish the job.

  5. Gabe Garroni says

    We had both our home and pool built by M Christopher (Rudy and Matt Rivas) and were lucky to close and move in just before they filed for bankruptcy protection. Now we have a mountain of liens against our home, but title insurance is taking care of all of them. However, our pool has significant issues. M Christopher Custom Pools is now operating under Artisan Custom Pools. Matt Rivas has fixed a few of my smaller warranty items, but has now gone radio silent on my remaining and more pressing issues. What are my options at this point? Can anyone recommend the best course of action?

  6. Lynn Hart says

    I am a licensed realtor of over 20 years and my poor clients happened to choose this builder and at the time they had a good reputation and we heard good things about them, but this company, M Christopher Holmes owned by Rudy Revis supposedly had an error made by their CPA which caused this. That is what Mr. Rivas stated in a call to my clients. They lost $87,000,,and many other homeowners lost their money they had invested so if anyone has any update on Mr. Rivas or any of his new businesses, please let it be known because he needs to make it right somehow. However giving the millions of dollars of mess that him and his company has created, I can’t fathom how he could ever make it right. On a side note, Never sign a contract which says that your earnest money is nonrefundable run don’t walk away from that contract and whoever that Builder is especially if it is a substantial amount of money. Money was traded for trust in that contract, and the trust was betrayed, and Mr. Rivas has built a wall of corporate law around him so that he has been extremely hard to touch. It makes it really hard as a realtor to trust Builders when you see something like this happen, beware of working with builders, do not put a lot of earnest money down especially to the degree, if you lose it it could not harm your family.

    • mmCandy Evans says

      Thank you, Lynn. That’s why we don’t just take on any builders on this site to advertise. Bella Vita was a “best realtor” at a lovely local city publication. I would also advise that your builder be a member of the Dallas Builders Association!

  7. Keith says

    Are the Rivas family involved with j Anthony homes? Have a client maybe wanting to use them but it’s in th same area m Christopher was building.

    • Rob says

      Yes, J Anthony (Tony) was associated with M Christopher. I have had a terrible experience with them, very similar stories to MChristopher. Charging for items that were supposed to be standard, lack of integrity, stopped engaging after we discussed problems with their process.
      Beware/Stay away

    • J White says

      The Rivas family is in NO WAY involved with J. Anthony. This can be verified through the Secretary of State or through the many happy customers J. Anthony has built for over the last year. It is unfortunate that rumors are started and people believe them. Tony has built a very reputable business while having to deal with all the slanderous and libel social media posts and rumors. He chooses to focus on the positive and build his business with integrity. If you or your customers are wanting to know something I would meet with him face to face and form your own opinion. You will not be disappointed.

      • Sukh says

        Nortex and Royal Flush=Rudy Rivas….There are no rumors here, only facts. It doesn’t take much to do that homework…..just look at the permits. The only liars here are the ones claiming there is no connection. Slander and libel only apply when it’s not true. You can change the business addresses all you like, you can build shell companies to hide the members of the llc’s you have ….but you can’t deny the facts. Tony still does business with Rudy.

  8. Former M Chris Builder says

    J Anthony Is Tony from M Chris I was a builder with M Christopher Homes and these guys where two peas in a pod there was so much underhanded dealing going on I felt so bad for the customers who had NO idea what was going on behind the curtains. Tony did the design for pretty much all the M Christopher homes they stashed money into properties and registered businesses and asset in their kids and family members name before the bankruptcy to protect them this family is a dean or crooks

    • Mary Moses says

      J Anthony has NOTHING to do with M Christopher. Tony sold homes for them for 6 years PERIOD. Do your research before you run your mouth. Tony owned NO part of that business. Look it up on the Secretary of State website.

  9. Sukh says

    It’s funny how much J Anthony tries to distance themselves from M Christopher/ Rudy Rivas…….but I’m pretty sure J Anthony is still using Royal Flush…..a Rudy Rivas company. And how is it that J Anthony took over so much of the Rivas empire- lots, crews, etc ? Looks shady, and J Anthony is already establishing a bad rep with contractors and buyers. If perception is reality, it looks bad.

  10. Buyer Beware says

    J Anthony homes is M Christopher 2.0. Completely different owner but with the exact same designs and business philosophy. Contracting with J Anthony homes is a risk only for those willing to get screwed. Stay away… far away from Tony and his shady dealings. He is just like Rivas… heck, he was his right hand man and sales guy for 6 years. Tom Straight is another one to watch out for too.

  11. SUI investigator says

    Correctly stated 2.0 Same designs, same crews, same sub-contractors. Its the other side of the same coin. Don’t walk, run. Rivas is still here just wearing sheep’s clothing.

  12. Sukh says

    J Anthony (aka John Anthony Prutch) is the biggest narcissist around. He spends a lot of time getting negative reviews taken down, and then has his realtor buddies and “homeowners” write glowing reviews, specifically targeting the negative reviews. Then he has to piggyback on the integrity and sacrifices of Veterans, so he can play the victim (If you don’t like me you hate Veterans) when he gets called out. He is a disgusting person, who spends a great deal of time lying about his integrity and success. He makes promises he never keeps, and then points to the contract you signed. He records every conversation you have, that’s why he wants you to go to his office to talk to him, and he wont come to you. He is a snake, and a horrible person. This is M Christopher 2.0 (same crews, same financing (Ken Prater), same players all around….including Rudy Rivas). You are not part of the J Anthony family, you are a subject in his kingdom…..now shut your mouth and write the check…..

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