Worst Austin Contractors of 2012
Longhorn Services | Pflugerville, Texas
In August, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation fined Longhorn Services owner Verdon Bower $2,000 for performing or offering to perform electrical contracting for two homeowners without obtaining a license, state records show. At press time, Longhorn’s website continued to advertise electrical services from a licensed electrical contractor, despite an order from the TDLR in November 2011 to “immediately cease and desist from acting as, impersonating, performing or offering to perform work as an electrical contractor or an electrician,” per TDLR records.
In a separate complaint, Leander, Texas, Angie’s List member Jon Orta says he hired Bower in June after Bower responded to his ad seeking help for electrical work on Craigslist, saying he based that decision on Bower’s advertised electrical license and his company’s professional-looking website. Orta says Bower wanted to be paid in full before starting, but he instead sent Bower only half the cost of the $2,400 job via Western Union to buy supplies. Then, Orta says, Bower disappeared. “I gambled on him and lost,” he says. “He doesn’t do any work. He just takes your money and runs.” Orta joined Angie’s List to file an F review on Longhorn in July, and the case landed in the Penalty Box when Bower failed to respond.
Austin, Texas member Pravin Patel says Bower, whom he hired for a business bathroom remodel in March, did such shoddy work that it’s going to cost him an extra $1,000 to make repairs. “He is the worst contractor I have ever come across. He needs to be shut down,” Patel says. The company, which city records show has never carried the required electrical license in Texas, has an overall F grade based on the two reviews from Patel and Orta.
Bower has a previous misdemeanor conviction for writing bad checks in Oklahoma in May 2003, according to an Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman. Also, civil court documents in two states show numerous unpaid judgments against Bower dating back to 2005: in Travis County, he has two totaling $2,872; Bell County records show $7,001; Williamson County records show $414; and McCurtain County, Okla., records reveal $15,009. Bower, who continues to solicit business online, did not return calls for comment.
Patrick’s Metal Works Welding | Cedar Park, Texas
A judge in the 26th District Court of Texas in May sentenced Patrick’s Metal Works Welding owner Patrick Scott Moore to four years in prison after Moore pleaded guilty to felony property theft and driving while intoxicated, according to court records.
Austin member Jacque Livingston, one of four members to give the company an F review, says she relied on a friend’s advice and failed to check the List before hiring the F-rated company in August 2011 to install railings on her deck. In February, she won a $3,495 judgment against Moore in Travis County for taking her money and never doing the work, she says. “I’ve never dealt with a worse professional in my life. His theft is premeditated,” she says.
Travis County court records also show Moore faces a civil suit from Austin member Sean Mackie, who says he’s suing to recoup the $750 he paid Moore for metal welding that was never done. Moore, who couldn’t be reached for comment because he’s in a Huntsville correctional facility, has previous criminal convictions dating back to 1976, court documents show.
Integrated Building Trades/Residential Trades | Austin, Texas
After Realtor Christine Pura recommended Integrated Building Trades, Angie’s List Austin member Chris Keyland says he hired owner Karl Comtois for a $100,000 home remodeling project, but now regrets it. “He is a fraudulent, incompetent contractor whose work contained error upon error, many of them dangerous,” he says. Pura says she also was duped by Comtois, along with seven other homebuyers. “I’ve lost tons of business because of him,” she says. “He is a total scammer.”
Keyland’s review on the F-rated company landed it in the Penalty Box after Comtois failed to respond.
Comtois, who’s now operating as Residential Trades, continued to solicit business online as of press time. State licensing and court records show Comtois does not hold the required plumbing and electrical licenses and he has multiple civil judgments. He did not return calls for comment.