Contractor nightmares: Homeowners bemoan absent workers, subpar work

Lance Shearer

Marco Island has done remarkably well, for having had a major hurricane make landfall out of the Gulf, the “big one” scoring a direct hit. Power came back promptly, roads were cleared, and mercifully the inundation by storm surge that was threatened did not materialize, except outside the city limits in Goodland.

But everywhere on Marco Island, the signs of the storm are there to see, if you look. Thousands of trees were felled, and blue tarps, exposed tar paper and broken roof tiles still dot the island’s skyline if you cast your eyes upward. The hurricane was a bonanza for some contractors, particularly those offering screen enclosure, clearing and roof work, and while many have had their homes repaired, many are still waiting or just now getting a contractor’s attention.

Rob Reiley points out where damage occurred due to shoddy workmanship by his repair company. Marco Island police are conducting an investigation into the operations of one contractor who generated numerous complaints for their post-Irma repair work.

Some got attention from the wrong contractors. Robert and Donna Reiley of Iris Court are among over 30 homeowners who feel burned by the company they paid to fix their homes after Irma. The Marco Island Police Department has opened an investigation into the work of the firm, going under the names of Star Construction & Restoration, LLC, or Remodeling Services & Complete Restoration.

More:Hurricane Irma: How Marco Island weathered the storm

Star Construction lists an address in Fort Myers, and Remodeling Services, or RSACR, shows a corporate headquarters in Greenfield, Indiana, but they were supposedly represented locally by Lindy Anglin and Mike Clark. Rob Reiley said they were supposed to repair his lanai, but he had a litany of ways in which the contractor had failed to perform.

“They told us they had pulled permits, but they didn’t. I found out after I went to check on the permits,” said Reiley. In some cases, he said, the contractor had pulled permits, but done so under a license number that was not their own.

“We gave them $10,000 down, and another $5,000 on material delivery,” said Reiley.
The company’s workers did tear open his roof, and when rainstorms came, he had water pouring down the interior walls of the home, and puddling on the floor. The Reileys are still trying to dry out their house.

“These guys cut away our soffits and eaves, and left interior walls exposed for over a month. I shop-vac’d 30 gallons of water from my living room,” said Rob. Now, he is stuck in limbo, with the rainy season around the corner.

“I have a roofer, but he won’t do his work until we get the underlying issues taken care of,” said Reiley. “He’s hesitant to do anything when we might have to tear it down.”

The workers ignored construction drawings and put up beams unsupported by posts, and made it impossible to have a uniform pitch on the roof area, he said.

“These guys had no idea what they were doing, and now they’ve abandoned the job. We haven’t seen them in two months.”

Mike Clark did not respond to telephone or text messages seeking comment. Lindy Anglin texted back once to say she had no comment.

“We mostly dealt with Lindy. She tells a great story,” said Rob Reiley. “They have a trail of text messages – excuse after excuse after excuse.”

He did not choose the company because they undercut the competition, said Reiley.

“They were mid-priced. But these were the only people who said they could start in November. We gave them a deposit Oct. 26, and then they didn’t start until February.”

MIPD Detective Steven Gaskill has been the police department’s point man on the case. He confirmed they are investigating, with over 30 homeowners having lodged complaints, but was tightlipped due to this being an open investigation.

“We are investigating allegations of fraud and grand theft. Some suspected victims just came forward,” he said. “This is still in the beginning stages – there’s not a lot I can tell you.”

Police chief Al Schettino reiterated the importance of being sure that contractors are properly licensed, pull the necessary permits, and follow legal mandates such as carrying worker’s comp insurance.

“People have to be extremely cautious,” he said.