Oklahoma City area's best and worst contractors of 2008

Oklahoma City area's best and worst contractors of 2008

by John Baracani

In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Oklahoma City contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the Oklahoma City area.

The Best

Sumpter Painting

Leviticus Sumpter, owner of Sumpter Painting, says his philosophy on painting is basic: "I like taking a simple surface from being bare to looking pretty." Sumpter, who started his business in 1999, has 26 years of painting experience and has even lent his talents to charitable efforts for Habitat for Humanity. Sumpter, along with his wife, Lisa, and two additional employees, takes pride in the customer service they offer.

"[Customers] like that I do a great job and leave the house cleaner than I met it," he says. Paul Gray is just one customer who found Sumpter Painting on Angie's List and says that shortly after meeting Sumpter, he knew he found the right man for the job. "Right off the bat, he was real affable, down-to-earth and honest," says Gray, who adds that he appreciates Sumpter's dedication to detail so much that he'll be a repeat customer. "We had a hailstorm, and all the painting he did doesn't look so nice anymore," Gray says.

"He's the first person I thought to call [to repaint it]." Several other Angie's List members, including Reid McCarty of Edmond, echo Gray's sentiments. "I had an excellent experience with Sumpter Painting," McCarty says. "They were nonsmoking, very patient with children and paid a lot of attention to detail. All of my walls look amazing."

The Worst

A-1 Windows and Siding
Total Exterior Designs
Oklahoma City

Jim Thomas thought he did his homework. When he needed siding for his home, he says he got several estimates. Thomas ultimately chose Alfred Soulek, owner of A-1 Windows and Siding, because that estimate was comparable with the others he received, and he says Soulek "seemed like a fair, honest gentleman and had all the paperwork that showed he was a legitimate business." After Soulek came out to measure his home, Thomas signed a contract with A-1 and gave Soulek a $2,700 down payment to start the work.

That, Thomas says, was the last time he saw him. "I tried contacting Mr. Soulek many times and could never get a hold of him," says Thomas, who filed a complaint with the attorney general before suing the contractor in small claims court and winning in 2006. Thomas says he eventually paid another company to install siding on his home. Thomas wasn't Soulek's only victim. Soulek, who also operated as Total Exterior Designs, pleaded guilty in January 2008 to six counts of violating the Consumer Protection Act.

In May, the Oklahoma County District Court sentenced Soulek to 90 days in prison, along with a five-year deferred prison term if he fails to pay restitution. In addition, the ruling ordered Soulek to pay more than $44,000 in restitution to customers he defrauded, plus other court fees. "After we charged Soulek with six fraud counts, nine more victims came forward," says Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson. "In total, Soulek will pay almost $54,000 in restitution." Thomas says he's yet to receive his money from Soulek. "You can't get blood out of a turnip," he says. "I hope they nail him and put him where he needs to be."

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