Worst Kansas City Contractors of 2011
Article updated January 16, 2012
Beautiful Exteriors/KC Windows Siding & Roof Replacement Co. | Lee's Summit, Mo./Harrisonville, Mo.
A civil lawsuit filed in August by American Builders and Contractors Supply is the latest of several charges of wrongdoing made by clients of Matthew C. Hazen, owner of KC Windows Siding & Roof Replacement Co., formerly called Beautiful Exteriors.
The suit, filed in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges breach of contract and claims that American Builders is owed nearly $70,000 for goods and services rendered. The case remains in litigation.
Before Hazen changed the business' name and relocated to Harrisonville in November 2010, Angie's List member Craig Espeland of Excelsior Springs hired Beautiful Exteriors to install a roof. But he admits he didn't check the List before hiring them.
"The first month or two [after they completed the job], we had a windstorm and it blew shingles off," says Espeland, who filed an F report in May. "They sent somebody to put them back on." After a second windstorm blew off more shingles, he couldn't reach the company. "I had four or five phone numbers for them, and they all were disconnected," Espeland says.
Two other members also filed F reports on Beautiful Exteriors, and their complaints accusing the company of shoddy work and failing to fix problems landed the company in the Penalty Box.One of those members, Matt Jacobs of Lawrence, Kan., says Beautiful Exteriors incorrectly installed a door and damaged four window frames, resulting in mold growth and rainwater seeping into his house.
"I joined Angie's List as a result of this experience," he says. "I talked to a half dozen of his former customers, and they have similar horror stories."
City and county records don't show that either company holds the proper contractor licenses. A notice on the company's Angie's List profile alerts members to the two Penalty Box cases.
The Missouri Attorney General's office fielded two complaints in 2010 about Beautiful Exteriors. In 2007, Hazen received probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor trespassing charge, according to court records. Neither he nor his attorney, James B. Sleyster, returned calls.
Marts Memorial Services | Kansas City, Mo.
Last March, the Jackson County Circuit Court ruled to uphold the Missouri Board of Embalmers and Funeral Directors recommendation to revoke the license and shut down Marts Memorial Services.
The board alleged in a December 2010 release that the funeral home sold pre-need funerals without a state license, failed to refrigerate bodies in compliance with state law, was uncooperative and dishonest with the board's inspectors, and in one case, gave the wrong ashes to a man whose wife had died.
Just three months earlier, Marts had attested on Angie's List that its trade required no licensing.
Marts owner Ronald C. Marts is banned from practicing as a funeral director in Missouri as a result of the ruling, state records say. The board had previously placed Marts on probation for failure to file death certificates, failure to use proper authorization forms for cremation, and forging an embalmer's signature, state records show.
A notice on the company's Angie's List profile alerts members to the license revocation.
Hadley Cutburth of Blue Springs [Mo.] and Michael Campbell of Kansas City [Mo.] filed lawsuits in September and December 2010 against Marts after claiming the funeral home gave them the incorrect remains of their respective wives. Cutburth says he only discovered the ashes he had were not those of his wife, Soledad, when he called Marts to inquire about the whereabouts of the death certificate.
He says an employee informed him she had the death certificate and ashes at the funeral home. A call to Stonegate Crematorium in Harrisonville, which performed cremations for Marts, confirmed the ashes at the funeral home were that of his wife, according to Cutburth.
"It's been horrific for me and my family," he says. "When I found out, I hit the road [to the funeral home] as fast as I could. When I got there, Marts was there, trying to cover everything up."
Calls to Marts and two of his attorneys were not returned.
A new funeral home, Reflections Memorial Services, has moved into Marts' previous 14 Westport Road location, according to new owner Josh Dukes. The new funeral home, although it has the same phone number, is not affiliated with Marts Memorial Services, Dukes says.
Imagine Photo KC | Kansas City, Mo.
Editor's note: Imagine Photo KC owner Mario Antoine responded to this report after it was published online. He disputes Alexandra Murphy’s contention that she was not co-owner of his business and that he used her personal information without her knowledge to register the business with the state. Antoine also claims Pace and Ramirez violated the terms of their contracts, but he failed to specify how the violations occurred.
He says Imagine Photo KC closed its doors in November 2010.
Courtney Pace of Blue Springs says she signed an $1,800 contract for Mario Antoine of Imagine Photo KC to photograph her wedding, but he didn't show. "It was devastating," she says. She filed a lawsuit last year to recoup her money, but it remains pending.
State records show the attorney general received 10 complaints, including six in 2011, about the company.
Elizabeth Ramirez of Lee's Summit won a $1,000 judgment in October 2010 against Antoine, the company's owner, and Alexandra Murphy, his former girlfriend, and Imagine Photo KC. She says she's received no payment.
Antoine couldn't be reached for comment. Murphy told Angie's List Magazine he used her personal information on a state registration form without her knowledge. Antoine pleaded guilty in June to an unrelated felony theft charge in Nashville, Tenn., and received probation, court records show. A notice alerts members.
Homestead Contracting/Home Centers America/Insurexx | Lebanon, Mo.
The St. Louis BBB issued a warning to consumers in September about Jeffrey Wolfson and Gloria Diane Wolfson saying the Missouri couple has left a trail of frustrated consumers across the Midwest, including three homeowners from Overland and Topeka, Kan., and Harrisburg, Mo.
Gloria registered a new contracting business, Insurexx, with the state in March, and formerly operated Homestead Contracting. Jeffrey operated the former Home Centers America.
The attorney general's office says consumers have complained that the former companies did shoddy work, or took money but did little to no work.
A St. Louis County judge in 1999 barred Jeffrey Wolfson from owning or having a supervisory role in a home remodeling business, and he lost his license, court records say.
One year later, he was found guilty of violating that order, received a felony conviction for passing bad checks and served four years in prison. A notice alerts members to the felony conviction.
Jeffrey has been ordered to pay judgments totaling $229,000 in eight civil lawsuits since 1997 - including one in 2007 for $4,300 in which Gloria is named as a co-defendant. Her attorney says: "Gloria is a separate entity and she believes she runs an upstanding business." Jeffrey did not return calls.
- by Adam Wire