Worst Chicago Contractors of 2010
Following a year of continued customer and official complaints, Kitchen + Bathroom Arts Inc. returns as one of Chicago's Worst Contractors.
Chicago resident Kevin Hunt won a $142,000 civil judgment in September against company owner, Deyan Vuksanovic, for numerous violations of the state Home Repair and Remodeling Act. Hunt's civil suit accused Vuksanovic of shoddy and incomplete work, and never delivering ordered appliances.
Angie's List member Krystyna Kiel of Chicago didn't pursue legal action against Vuksanovic, but says she paid $30,000 for a bathroom remodeling project she and her husband had to finish themselves. She describes Vuksanovic as "sleazy" and his work as shoddy.
Other official actions taken this year against Vuksanovic, who also does business as Design Home Deluxe, include:
- The Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection fined him $41,540 for multiple violations of city ordinances, including operating without a home repair license.
- The Chicago Department of Buildings fined him $5,000 on multiple counts of making false statements on building permit applications.
- The Illinois Secretary of State dissolved his corporation "Kitchen and Bathroom Arts" for failure to pay the annual registration fee.
- The Chicago Better Business Bureau ordered him to stop using its "accredited" logo.
Vuksanovic, who has an F on the List, calls his critics "predators." His showroom in the upscale Lake Point Tower Condominium remains open under the name Kitchen + Bathroom Arts.
Carmen's Concrete | Franklin Park, Ill.
Sandra Wadington paid Carmen Colao, president of D-rated Carmen's Concrete, $800 to repair and resurface the front steps of her Villa Park [Ill.] home. "It was beautiful," Wadington says of the finished work. "When his people left, I was really pleased."
That feeling lasted for about six months, when the new concrete washed away, leaving her steps in worse shape than before.
Wadington is one of 19 homeowners listed in a December 2009 lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan against Colao and his company. She is also one of 50 homeowners who have filed complaints with Madigan's office since August 2001.
Colao, who has a valid Chicago home repair license but not a general contractor license, is accused of violating a 2001 order by the state to abide by the Consumer Fraud and Home Repair and Remodeling acts after numerous violations.
Madigan's lawsuit asks the court to find Colao in contempt of the order and fine him $100 a day until he resolves specific issues with the 19 homeowners. Daniel Pierre of Arlington Heights [Ill.] estimates he paid Colao $21,000 for concrete repairs to his front porch steps and driveway and for interior remodeling.
His steps and driveway are now crumbling, he says, and the interior work is shoddy and unfinished. Pierre joined Angie's List and filed an F report on the company. "He's really jovial and nice and all that, but he just takes you," Pierre says.
Carmen's Concrete landed in the Penalty Box twice based on other members' reports, resulting in a notice on his record. A receptionist in the Chicago office of Carmen's Concrete says Colao moved to Florida for the winter. Neither Colao nor his attorney responded to messages.
Casey Remodeling | Niles, Ill.
Chicago homeowner Ted Cesarz says Kazimierz Maniewski, owner of D-rated Casey Remodeling, cashed his $3,000 down payment check for custom cabinets, but never did the work.
Based on Cesarz's case, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez won an injunction against Maniewski in July ordering him to stop operating as a home improvement contractor until he complies with the state Home Repair and Remodeling Act and Consumer Fraud Act. He also must pay a $1,500 fine. At press time, he had paid nothing.
Maureen Rohe says she paid Maniewski $30,000 to remodel her condominium. His work took four months, she says, and some of it was shoddy. Maniewski also has three breach of contract claims pending against him, according to his bankruptcy filing.
A judge dismissed his personal bankruptcy petition in September, and his petition for business bankruptcy was closed in July. He also does not hold home repair or general contractor licenses required by the city of Chicago.
Maniewski says he gave Cesarz' $3,000 to a cabinetmaker who then left town without doing the work. Maniewski said he's aware that he's prohibited from working as a contractor, but says he is still doing small jobs. "Two or three. Just painting now," he says.
Paul Bunyon & Sons Tree Service | Maywood, Ill.
Angie's List member Maureen Huston of River Park hired C-rated Paul Bunyon & Sons Tree Service to trim broken branches and fill hollow branch stubs with concrete.
Two years and $400 later, she says the work remains shoddy and unfinished. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a June civil suit accusing company president Tim Mullis of taking customers' money and failing to do the work or finish it.
The suit also alleges he failed to inform customers they have three days to cancel their contracts. Mullis' attorney, Robert Habib, says the state's lawsuit should be dismissed because his client does not do home repairs. His work also does not require a license in Chicago.
The AG lawsuit against Mullis also seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 per violation and a permanent ban from the tree services industry.
— by Matthew Brady