Providence's Best and Worst Contractors of 2008
by Mike Walker
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Providence contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the Providence area.
HomePro Inspections of Rhode Island
Amy Pavia of Providence admits that she knows little about contractor jargon. That’s why, when she considered purchasing a condominium, she needed a home inspector who spoke a language she understood. She says Hank Richter, the owner of HomePro Inspections, did just that. Although the state of Rhode Island limits home inspectors from exploring condominium roofs, Richter used binoculars to show Pavia potential roof damage. “That helped with negotiating the final price,” Pavia says.
Other Angie’s List members praised the company for professionalism, helping it to earn an “A” rating. How does Richter do it? “It’s how you communicate,” says Richter, who also volunteers for Wrap-A-Friend Coat Drive, Rhode Island’s largest coat giveaway. “I’m like a walking owner’s manual.”
ABBA Hardwood Refinishers LLC
Robert and Renee Sangermano, the owners of ABBA Hardwood Refinishers, often have their hands full. But being busy doesn’t stop them from being timely, according to Angie’s List members. “Whenever Robert was on his way, Renee called and told me,” says Jeff Rockwell of Riverside, who hired them to refinish his hardwood floors. “She did that every day.”
Renee says customers appreciate the small things. “I think what most people are impressed with — other than the quality of the floor — is just showing up on time and doing what we say we’re going to do,” she says.
That sounds simple enough, but it works. “Based on my experience, I’d highly recommend ABBA Hardwood Refinishers,” Rockwell says.
P & R Construction, Peter Reynolds
Since opening his business, Peter Reynolds of Westerly has done shoddy work — or none at all, according to his customers. “I almost had a breakdown,” says Caroline Keaveny. She hired him to replace her roof for about $5,000, but says his shortcuts resulted in leaks. “He was a con artist, absolutely,” she says.
As a result of an ongoing investigation into P & R Construction’s roofing work, the State of Rhode Island Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board revoked its registration in February. That didn’t stop Reynolds, who disappeared from his listed address, from continuing to operate, according to Michael Lanni, chief investigator for the licensing board. Instead, Lanni says, Reynolds sent his friend, Shannon Austin, to open up her own registration so he could continue to operate, and he amassed three more complaints under Austin’s name.
Reynolds has been convicted six times in Rhode Island courts for charges such as larceny and malicious injury to animals.
Delta Windows and Doors
From all accounts, Robert Vaughn of Warwick was an upstanding citizen and his company, Delta Windows and Doors, had an impeccable reputation from 1992 to 2003. But from 2004 to 2007, Vaughn amassed 31 business-related violations and claims — the second highest number in the history of Rhode Island’s Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board.
In 2006 and 2007, Providence County prosecutors charged Vaughn with 16 counts of obtaining money under false pretenses, five counts of fraudulent checks and seven counts of unlawful appropriation. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and posted bail. Michael Healey, spokesman for the Rhode Island attorney general, says Vaughn failed to appear in court in January 2008 and the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
“I think his whole life fell apart,” says the Rev. Joseph Protano. Protano hired Vaughn nearly 15 years ago to install windows in his church. The work, he says, was outstanding. After hiring him in 2007 for work on St. Andrew’s in Block Island, Protano says Vaughn took a $5,000 payment and never returned.