Worst Cleveland Contractors of 2010
Shawn Fleming Roofing | Mentor, Ohio
Russ Miller paid Shawn Fleming Roofing more than $5,600 for roof repairs and a new chimney, he says, and the company's shoddy work resulted in water damage. "He wouldn't come out to fix it, so I took him to court," Miller says, adding that Fleming also couldn't pull permits because he wasn't registered to work in Mentor.
Miller won a $3,000 judgment, but he says he doesn't think he'll get his money back. He is one of 33 residents who complained to the Ohio attorney general, who filed a civil suit in May accusing Fleming of several violations of Ohio consumer law.
The suit seeks to ban the roofing contractor - who has an overall grade of D on Angie's List - from working in the state until he pays restitution to customers and civil penalties.
Mike Rusek, one of the AG complainants, says Fleming received more than $6,000 to reroof his father's home in Parma Heights [Ohio], but he never returned after tearing off the old roof. "My father's a 90-year-old retired autoworker," Rusek says.
"Losing that much money is a big deal for him." Phone numbers for Fleming and his company are disconnected. A notice on his profile alerts members the company is out of business.
Prestige Landscape & Design | Mayfield Heights, Ohio
Angie's List member Brian Kelly of Cleveland says he paid Prestige Landscape & Design, which also offers snowplowing services, $180 to plow his driveway after receiving the company's flier in the mail, but owner Mario D. Nero failed to fulfill his contract.
"The snow kept coming but they stopped coming," Kelly says, adding that he never received a refund. Kelly isn't the only one who complained. Prestige has an overall grade of D on Angie's List, and has landed in the Penalty Box for a similar complaint, resulting in a notice on his company profile to alert members.
Consumers also complained to the Ohio attorney general and Better Business Bureau, which received 12 unresolved complaints in 2010. Cindy Finigan of Shaker Heights [Ohio] says she paid Prestige $220 to plow her driveway, but the company stopped plowing in January and didn't return calls.
"They aren't honest or remotely upstanding," Finigan says. "If you hire them, you'll be out in the cold shoveling your own driveway while they enjoy your hard-earned money." Nero did not return phone calls and faxes requesting comment.
William Bryant | Garfield Heights, Ohio
A jury found handyman William Bryant, 58, guilty in May of murdering 80-year-old Maria Slivka of Garfield Heights and 81-year-old Mary Hopko of Maple Heights [Ohio], who were friends. The two widows, both Polish immigrants and concentration camp survivors, hired Bryant to do odd jobs at their homes.
Bryant robbed Hopko then bludgeoned her to death with a crowbar, according to court documents. Slivka met the same fate just weeks later. Bryant is serving two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.
Garfield Heights Police Detective Carl Biegacki says Bryant was able to avoid a more severe sentence because he claimed to be mentally challenged. "I would've been happier if he had received the death penalty," Biegacki says.
Bryant previously served more than 20 years in prison for various offenses, including robbery and kidnapping. Darlene Sadowski, Hopko's goddaughter, testified against Bryant.
"It's been a long drawn-out process," Sadowski says. "But nothing can change the outcome. My godmother is still dead and so is Maria."
Bryant's attorney, Patrick Talty, says he's filed an appeal. "If you're sentenced to life, you've got nothing to lose," Talty says.
— by Jackie Norris