Orlando area's best and worst contractors of 2008
by Staci Giordullo
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Orlando contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the Orlando area.
Henry Electric Co.
Three generations of Henrys have worked diligently to satisfy their customers since 1977. “We use our detective skills — we’re great diagnosticians,” say husband and wife, Chuck and Marty Henry, who founded the company.
Warren and Renee Young of Orlando utilized Henry Electric’s expertise after their washing machine shorted out. “We couldn’t determine if the machine or the outlet caused the short,” Renee says. “But they showed us the wall outlet was to blame because the builder had not wired it correctly. They were very helpful.”
Offering the best service to their customers often includes education. “We don’t want to build a fear of electricity in order for us to get the job,” Chuck says. “We can’t afford mistakes.”
Arbor Ridge Tree Service
Arbor Ridge Tree Service owner Robert Storey knows trimming trees will only take him so far — it’s the relationships he develops with customers and the community that are most important. “I try to make sure everyone is satisfied,” he says. “I want our service to be memorable.”
According to Angie’s List member Wendy McDowell of Orlando, Storey is succeeding. She sums up the work Arbor Ridge Tree Service did at her home as flawless, effortless and painless. “They’re keepers!” she says. “There’s an art to tree trimming and Arbor Ridge exemplifies that. They’re head and shoulders above the rest, and they deserve every accolade.”
Mid Florida Contracting Inc.
Angie’s List member Max Lleras of Kissimmee says he hired Pete Spaziano, owner of Mid Florida Contracting Inc., to remodel his kitchen in 2007 because he offered a good price. “He never finished the work and never returned,” says Lleras, who paid $850. “What little he did was awful.”
After 18 similar complaints to the Orange County Consumer Fraud Unit and nearly a dozen to the Florida attorney general, Spaziano was arrested in July 2008 and charged with multiple felonies, including grand theft and contracting without a license. He pleaded not guilty and was released on bond in September. His trial was scheduled to begin in December as this issue went to press.
Spaziano has allegedly started another company — Steel City Contracting — an unlicensed company, according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Steel City’s unsatisfactory BBB record, listed with the same phone number and address as Mid Florida Contracting, was started in June 2008. Spaziano and his attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.
James “Jim” Metts Jr.
According to complaints filed with the Florida attorney general, handyman James Metts Jr. found clients over the years by trolling the aisles of local home improvement stores. The complaints claim Metts offered customers discounts on materials and labor but failed to deliver after accepting deposits, or he’d start work and do an inferior job.
“Jim Metts is as bad as they come,” says Carlos Morales, Orange County Fraud Unit’s chief investigator.
Winter Springs resident Jeffrey Frachner says he gave Metts $1,500 to do work he never started. “He didn’t seem like a scumbag,” Frachner says. “I guess if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
In August, Metts pleaded no contest to grand theft and unlawful contracting in an Orange County case involving an Orlando woman who gave Metts $1,900 only to watch him disappear. He is barred from hardware stores and must pay restitution and serve 36 months of supervised probation and 50 hours of community service. Metts couldn’t be reached for comment.