Worst Tampa Contractors of 2011
Nicholas Stanko Paving | Spring Hill, Fla.
After a legal odyssey that wound through Polk, Pasco, Hernando, Lake, Citrus and Sumter counties and included numerous felony charges, Nicholas Stanko pleaded guilty or no contest to 10 felony counts of scheming to defraud and two counts of felony organized fraud in 2011.
With concurrent sentences, he received a total of three years in prison and 10 years probation. He also agreed never to work as a home repair or concrete contractor in Florida again.
Cynthia Holden, head of the Center for Victims Rights, organized many of the more than 70 complainants in the criminal case. "He mostly targeted elderly communities," says Holden, an Angie's List member from Lecanto. "He'd go into a neighborhood and do a driveway the right way. Then he'd go to all the neighbors, use that one as an example, and get them to hire him. But for the rest of the jobs, he watered down the materials and did a shoddy job, and three or four months later the drive would be worse than ever."
He operated under a variety of names, including Nick Stanko Masonry and Nicholas Stanko Paving. A notice on the company's profile alerts Angie's List members to the felony convictions.
Court records show the combined restitution orders total about $250,000, and Stanko still faces dozens of lawsuits in civil court in several counties. Holden says some victims in the criminal case received up to $500 in restitution from the Florida Crime Victim Compensation Fund, but that barely covers losses that numbered in the thousands.
State and county records do not show that Stanko holds the required state contractor license or registration in several counties.
He's jailed in the Department of Corrections' Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler, with an estimated release in April 2014. Attorneys for Stanko in the six counties didn't return calls or declined to comment.
OJC Construction/Construction Tradition Group | Lakeland, Fla.
Christopher Jones faces charges that could add up to nearly 100 years in prison after police found and arrested him at a February meeting of the Polk County Contractors Licensing Board, according to Chip Thullbery, spokesman for the state attorney's office.
According to charges filed by the 10th Circuit state attorney's office, Jones engaged in a four-year pattern of taking money from dozens of victims, beginning but never completing jobs, failing to pay subcontractors, and writing more than $50,000 worth of bad checks.
Jones faces one felony of grand theft of more than $100,000, one felony charge of misappropriation of construction funds and two misdemeanor counts of contracting without a license. He also stands accused of four felony charges of obtaining property by worthless check and one charge of felony scheme to defraud as a result of actions related to his business.
If found guilty on all charges, Jones could receive a maximum sentence of 95 years in prison, according to Thullbery. Court records allege losses of more than $307,000 to homeowners and subcontractors.
Jones did business under a variety of names, including OJC Construction and Construction Tradition Group. According to court records, he changed names after OJC received more than $100,000 in liens, and reported the company inactive in 2009.
He held a license under OJC Construction, but operating as Construction Tradition Group constituted contracting without a license, court records say. A notice alerts members to the felony charges and Jones' contracting without a license.
Polk County criminal court records allege Jones victimized at least two homeowners: Cathy Learner of Lakeland and Osbourne Cornwall of Winter Haven. Learner lost more than $46,000 after paying Jones in advance for a remodeling job. Cornwall was hit for more than $32,000 in liens on his home after authorities allege Jones kept money Cornwall had paid him for subcontractors and materials, the records say.
Jones remains free on $225,000 bond. A trial date had not been set as of press time. Attempts to reach Jones were unsuccessful.
Patriot Roofing Industries | Clearwater, Fla.
After more than 30 homeowners complained to Pinellas County authorities, Patriot Roofing owner Marco Alamina pleaded guilty in November to nine counts of felony grand theft and faces up to 45 years in prison and a $45,000 fine, according to court documents. Free on bond, he awaits sentencing March 9. Alamina also was named a Worst Tampa Contractor in 2010.
Since 2007, county authorities have been logging complaints that Alamina took money and didn't do work, failed to finish jobs, or didn't pay subcontractors, resulting in liens. The state revoked his roofing license in 2009, and a notice alerts members to his felony convictions and license revocation.
Members Gerald and Wendy Whitt of St. Petersburg were hit with a lien after Patriot Roofing fixed their roof but didn't pay a supplier. "We sued and won, but he never paid," Gerald says. "We ended up having to pay the supplier thousands of dollars."
Alamina couldn't be reached for comment. His attorney, Scott Alexander, didn't return calls.
Jack Quick Construction | Pinellas Park, Fla.
Six years after allegedly taking $30,000 from member Debbie Rowe of St. Petersburg and never completing the work, Jack Quick pleaded guilty in Pinellas County last January to two felony counts of grand theft. He was sentenced to 10 years probation and agreed to pay $35,900 to two homeowners, including Rowe. A notice alerts members.
Rowe says she hired him to remodel her home when she began caring for her ill mother, but he left the house in shambles. "This man destroyed my life," Rowe says. "I don't know how many other people he took advantage of."
According to his plea agreement, Quick, a 2009 Worst Tampa Contractor, must pay Rowe $400 per month, but he's only paid a few thousand dollars so far. Attempts to reach Quick, whose company is closed, were unsuccessful.
- by Paul F.P. Pogue