Roofing company featured in Chicago's Worst Contractors faces continued legal problems
Lawsuits, tens of thousands of dollars in restitution and three felony convictions: Legal problems continue to grow for Roselle-based Blue Rose Restorations, which Angie’s List named one of Chicago’s Worst Contractors for 2011. Since our prior report, two more Blue Rose employees pleaded guilty to felonies for their work, bringing the total felony convictions related to the firm to three. The company also caught the attention of the Illinois attorney general, who filed suit in Cook County against the firm and president Dominique Villarreal in April.
Mary Wright of Hoffman Estates hired the company to replace roofing and siding in 2011, but says they ran off with an $8,000 insurance check after doing a quick patch job and promising to return with materials. In May, she sued the company in Cook County Circuit Court to recover her money. However, the suit remains at a standstill because the court has been unable to serve a summons to the company, she says. “I can’t imagine anyone doing that in these tough times, and it’s hard to believe they just went out of business with the magnitude of the work they’ve done,” she says. Wright also filed a complaint with Angie’s List that landed Blue Rose in the Penalty Box last year.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan dubbed Blue Rose “storm chasers” and alleged in her lawsuit that the company engaged in shoddy work, took money without completing jobs, engaged in unlicensed public insurance adjusting and intentionally damaged homes in order to drum up business. The suit asks the court to void contracts between Blue Rose and Illinois customers, require restitution to customers, forbid Blue Rose from operating in the state and pay a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation. Madigan’s office declined to comment, citing the ongoing case.
The suit also alleges that Blue Rose employees — Heather Stebelton, Christopher Skedd and Michael Svetanoff — intentionally inflicted damage to homes to create the impression of storm damage. Hidden television cameras set up by local news crews caught some of this activity and the three later pleaded guilty to felony charges in Kane County.
Stebelton pleaded guilty in the Kane County case to attempted felony insurance fraud in 2011 and received 24 months of probation and an order to pay more than $14,500 in restitution, fines and fees, of which court records indicate she has paid $95. At press time, she faced a September probation-violation hearing for allegedly failing to contact her probation officer and not making restitution payments, says Rachele Conant, an attorney with the Kane County Public Defender’s Office, which represented the three employees.
Skedd pleaded guilty in February to one count of felony property damage and received a 24-month probation sentence. He also paid nearly $2,300 in restitution, fines and fees. Svetanoff pleaded guilty in May to one count of felony property damage and received 30 months of probation. The court ordered him to pay $15,760 in restitution, fees and fines, which remain unpaid, according to court records. Conant said it’s not their policy to comment on clients’ behalf.
Jerome Dolan, an investigator with the National Insurance Crime Bureau in Des Plaines, says Blue Rose dropped out of sight in 2011. Cook County court records in Wright’s case indicate Blue Rose never received summons sent by certified mail, and none of the company’s phone numbers currently work.
Neither Blue Rose nor legal representatives filed responses to Wright’s case or the attorney general’s lawsuit, according to court records. Dolan says Villarreal and principal agent Todd Haugen left the state and abandoned the company’s offices in Roselle. He says he last heard the company set up shop in Minnesota. A phone number for Haugen couldn’t be located in the Chicago area or in Minnesota.