Worst Atlanta Contractors of 2012
Gene Lenox Gore | Grayson, Ga.
In August, Grayson, Ga., home improvement contractor Gene Lenox (Sonny) Gore turned himself into the Gwinnett County, Ga., Sheriff’s Office on a felony charge of theft for allegedly taking a homeowner’s money and not completing the work, Snellville Police Capt. Harold Thomas says. Once Gore’s arrest became public, Thomas says, the SPD identified nine other homeowners in various jurisdictions who also say they’ve been victimized by Gore. At press time, the district attorney’s office was investigating the additional complaints, says special investigator Michael Pearson.
The Snellville, Ga., homeowner, Susan Barbee, told police she paid Gore more than $4,000 to remodel a rental property, but he disappeared and left the home without siding and a deck. Gore bonded out of jail the afternoon of his arrest in August, but court records show that he returned to jail a month later when a Gwinnett County, Ga., judge found him in contempt of court for failing to turn over requested financial documents as part of a $175,000 judgment issued in 2010.
Snellville residents Melissa and Alan Delic won that judgment after Gore abandoned their commercial renovation project the year before, Melissa says. He left shoddy and incomplete work, never filed for the building permit and failed to pay subcontractors, she says, which resulted in liens against the property. “He caused serious emotional, financial and legal problems for us,” she says. “He has to be stopped.”
According to the Georgia Board of Construction Industry, Gore does not hold the required general contractor’s license. Gwinnett County court records also show Gore owes $6,300 in judgments to two other creditors, including one homeowner, as well as a $286,157 federal tax lien filed in 1997 in Naples, Fla. Federal court documents indicate Gore has filed for bankruptcy three times since 2010, but in July a federal judge rejected his latest request and issued a one-year ban from filing for bankruptcy.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Gore was released from prison in 2008 after serving nearly two years for felony grand theft of nearly $17,000, a charge unrelated to his work as a contractor.
Gore did not return messages seeking comment.
Mechanic’s Heating and Air | Marietta, Ga.
When Powder Springs, Ga., Angie’s List member Danny Helms hired Mechanic’s Heating and Air for routine maintenance and repairs on his HVAC system, he says he expected the work to prevent future problems. Instead, Helms says the company’s work actually caused problems. “It was endemic, every time they came something seemed to break down and the fees added up quickly,” says Helms, who claims he spent $6,000 on repairs in five years.
“They took advantage of me because I was desperate."
Helms’ F review on the company is one of three F- or D- rated reviews it’s received since May 2011. Angie's List members allege the F-rated company does shoddy and unwarranted work, overcharges, and requires customers to pay the technician directly by check or cash. Atlanta member Clara Pressie filed an F review in August 2011 after paying Mechanic’s what she calls an exorbitant total of $1,000 for parts needed to repair her air conditioner. “They took advantage of me because I was desperate,” she says. Member Rob Pepper of Atlanta says he experienced a similar issue with Mechanic’s after paying them $4,500 to fix problems with his condo’s A/C unit. “We never questioned we were getting bad advice, although I realize it now,” says Pepper, who filed a D review in August.
Atlanta BBB President Fred Elsberry says consumers have filed 117 complaints against Mechanic’s, including six in 2012. When the BBB tried to help consumers resolve the complaints, Elsberry says Mechanic’s owner, Monty White Jr., created a website with Elsberry’s name and used it to criticize him and the BBB, while also posting Elsberry’s personal divorce records. “It’s more embarrassing than anything else,” Elsberry says of the website, one of several that White has created about customers who’ve complained or officials and reporters investigating those complaints. According to online records, White and “Mechanic’s Responds News,” a limited liability company that he registered with the Georgia secretary of state, operate 22 websites utilizing the names of former customers, reporters and officials.
White, who’s properly licensed to service HVAC systems, according to state records, responded to Angie’s List Magazine by claiming to be a reporter and directing attention to his “news” website. However, White did not directly address complaints about Mechanic’s work.
S & S Roofing | Doraville, Ga.
DeKalb County, Ga., court records show Angie’s List members Cheryl and James Burke of Lawrenceville, Ga., won a $11,162 judgment in July against S & S Roofing owner Scott Kenith after they say the flooring he installed in their new home cracked in multiple places. Cheryl says she and her husband hired Kenith to replace the floor and do other repairs in their dream home, but his shoddy work created a nightmare. “He took that dream and snapped it in half,” she says, adding that she asked Kenith to fix the work as part of his 10-year warranty, but she says he refused. Her F review is one of three the C-rated company has received since March 2011, and S & S landed in the Penalty Box in June after not responding to the Burkes’ complaint.
“He took that dream and snapped it in half."
DeKalb County court records show Kenith owes a $59,954 judgment to a roofing supplier and was scheduled for a hearing in November to disclose any assets. He also faces a March hearing in another civil suit in DeKalb County for failing to pay another roofing supply company.
Kenith, who according to state records also works as Scott Kenith Inc., JM Kenith Inc. and Kenith Corp., did not return messages for comment.
Turfmaster Lawn and Landscape Management | Flowery Branch, Ga.
Flowery Branch, Ga., resident Jackie Hatcher says she hired Turfmaster owner Adam Nevius to build a new deck and add a waterfall and creek to her yard, and took out a loan to pay him nearly $48,000. When Nevius asked for more money, Hatcher questioned his poor quality of work and then says the contractor disappeared. “We’re going to be in debt for 15 years because of him,” Hatcher says.
Gwinnett County, Ga., court records show Nevius, who couldn’t be reached for comment, was charged with a probation violation in 2011 after he failed to pay $1,300 in restitution for a 2009 charge of deposit account fraud. He also has an outstanding 1999 warrant from Indiana for a charge of writing bad checks. Civil court records in Florida and Georgia show eight judgments totaling $52,060 against Nevius from suppliers. Federal court records also show a judge discharged Nevius’ bankruptcy in 2001 claiming $360,398 in unsecured debt.