Worst Boston Contractors of 2011
Gerard Associates | Wrentham, Mass.
After what she describes as an impressive sales pitch, a Walpole Angie's List member says she quickly regretted hiring Gerard Associates owner Paul Kauranen for an $8,000 hardscaping project.
“He constantly harassed me about getting more money, and he kept trying to raise the price of the project,” says the member, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “He sent me threatening emails saying he would tear the work out and leave notes in all my neighbors’ mailboxes about what a bad person I was.”
A few months later, she noticed the grout wearing away in several places and the stone starting to become loose. She hired another contractor to come out twice to fix the shoddy work. “It was truly just a horrible experience,” she says.
In 11 D or F reports, members say they experienced similar issues with the F-rated company, which according to state records doesn’t hold the required home improvement, electrical and plumber licenses.
Another member, who asked not to be identified for fear of physical retribution by Kauranen, fired the contractor during a patio project. He says Kauranen bought inferior products and pocketed the difference. “It got to the point where I’d have to come home from work on a daily basis to make sure the materials actually came from where I ordered,” the member says.
Court records show the company filed for bankruptcy in October, listing more than $300,000 in debt owed to homeowners, suppliers and others. A judge also found Kauranen guilty in September of one felony count of larceny for writing a bad check, and ordered him to pay $1,525.25 in restitution. A notice on the company’s AL profile alerts members.
Neither Kauranen nor his attorney returned calls.
Northeast Demolition and Removal | Middleboro, Mass.
A grand jury in June indicted Northeast Demolition and Removal owner Arthur Amaral and his wife, Laura Jo, on charges that they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from five homeowners for materials and services never delivered, according to a state attorney general news release.
Arthur pleaded not guilty in July to 15 charges, including 12 felony counts of larceny; while his wife and business partner pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of larceny, according to the AG. No trial date had been set as of press time.
According to court documents, Waltham homeowners Coleen Standring and Yen Ching Ho hired Northeast to rebuild their fire-damaged home in 2008, but the contractor did only demolition work. Standring says she and Ching Ho paid Northeast $280,000 for appliances, plumbing fixtures, cabinets and floor tiles that the company never ordered or delivered.
Court documents indicate the couple won a default judgment against the Amarals last January for more than $569,000, but have received no restitution. "They're con artists," Standring says. "If one person can read about them from this article and not use them, that makes me feel good."
Four other area homeowners, James O'Brien, William Kelly, Russell Caswell and Kristi Page, say they also lost thousands of dollars after Arthur took money for work that he never even started, according to the June indictment.
In addition to the criminal charges, state records show the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation fined Arthur $6,600 for five violations of state law after O'Brien filed a civil complaint. In May, the state permanently revoked Arthur's home improvement contractor license, according to Jason Lefferts, the OCABR's director of communications. A notice on the company's AL profile alerts members.
According to state records, the Amarals also did business under five other company names. Arthur filed for bankruptcy in April, listing nine civil suits including one filed by North Attleboro businessman Fred Bottomley. "He's the worst of the worst," he says.
The Amarals, who are free awaiting trial, didn't return messages.
Tyrex Construction & Remodeling | Marlborough, Mass.
A Suffolk Superior Court judge found Tyrex Construction owner Mauricio Meyer in contempt of court in February after he violated a court order banning him from working as a contractor. The state attorney general says Meyer performed recent jobs for homeowners in Framingham and Wellesley.
The previous court order banned the illegally unlicensed Meyer, a Boston Worst Contractor two years in a row, from working in the field after he falsified documents by using another contractor's credentials. In the new ruling, the judge ordered Meyer to pay $14,200 in restitution and $12,000 in penalties.
Neither Meyer nor his lawyer returned messages seeking comment. Former Framingham member Charles Marram gave the company an F for doing a shoddy job on installing laminate flooring. "The guy's a real piece of work," says Marram, whose report landed the company in the Penalty Box. "It was a nightmare." A notice alerts members.
TVF Pest Control | Everett, Mass.
Owner Josimar Ferreira pleaded guilty in September in U.S. District Court to 16 misdemeanor charges for applying outdoor pesticides inside homes, and one felony count of lying to EPA agents. His sentencing was set for Nov. 22.
Silvio Ribeiro of Lynn says TVF used outdoor pesticides to treat his home's interior for bed bugs, but the treatment failed and he had to hire another company. "I'm hoping the bad part of the chemical is now gone," Ribeiro says. "I hope he serves time."
In court documents, the EPA says TVF applied the pesticides in homes in Somerville, Malden, Quincy, Revere and Beverly, and Ferreira failed the state's commercial pesticide applicator licensing exam several times. The Brazilian native also faces deportation after allowing his visa to expire. Ferreira's attorney, Dan Solomon, says the company is no longer in business.
- by Nick McClain