Worst Cleveland Contractors of 2012
Murphy & Son | Wickliffe, Ohio
Robert A. Murphy, owner of roofing company Murphy & Son, faces a bench trial April 11 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on charges that he violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act by performing shoddy work, failing to correct problems and taking deposits from customers without obtaining proper permits.
After receiving a total of 63 complaints since 2005, the Ohio attorney general filed a lawsuit against Murphy in February, seeking injunctive relief, civil penalties and restitution for consumers included in the lawsuit. AG spokesman Mark Moretti declined to say how many consumers were included in the legal action.
“I would never hire him.”
Murphy & Son landed in the Penalty Box in December 2011 when Angie’s List members Daniel and Claudia Lozano of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, filed an F review on the D-rated company after finding puddles inside their sunroom following the company’s attempt to rubber guard the room’s flat roof. Despite several attempts to contact the company to make repairs, Claudia says Murphy never returned to fix it. “We paid them $700 for nothing,” she says.
Angie’s List member Robert McDougal of Hiran, Ohio, reported a similar experience after hiring Murphy & Son to repair the roofs on his rental properties in 2011. “My tenants said nobody ever showed, and the roof was still leaking,” says McDougal, who filed an F review on the company in April.
Ted Wegrynoski of Westlake, Ohio, says he paid Murphy & Son $375 for chimney repair a few years ago, and repairmen used caulk instead of mortar. “I flip houses, so this stuff’s got to work and look right,” says Wegrynoski, who joined Angie’s List after the bad experience and gave the company a D grade. “I would never hire him. If anything, run.”
Murphy says his company, which now operates as R.A. Murphy, does good work. “People did all kinds of things to try to put out Murphy & Son,” he says. “Half of those complaints weren’t our company. When the complaints came, we handled them. We go back out the next day, and whatever the problem is, we fix it.”
Murphy also claims because Murphy & Son performed work for less cost than other roofers, competitors in Northeast Ohio tried to put him out of business by filing negative reports. “We didn’t do nothing wrong,” he says.
Brandi Tomko, C&D Animal Hospital | Akron, Ohio
Brandi Tomko, who’s accused of posing as a veterinarian at C&D Animal Hospital, faces a Feb. 5 trial date as of press time on 39 felony and misdemeanor charges of animal cruelty, identity theft, practicing without a license and possession of a dangerous drug, according to Summit County, Ohio, prosecutor records.
Tomko of Tallmadge, Ohio, has no formal veterinary training, according to the Ohio Veterinary Medical Licensing Board, but customers of the now-closed C&D Animal Hospital accuse her of acting as a vet, performing surgeries and dispensing medication that injured and killed their pets, court records show. The animal hospital, formerly known as Precious Lives Sanctuary, lists Tomko as one of three trustees, along with two veterinarians, according to Ohio Secretary of State documents.
Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards says Tomko worked as an office manager at C&D Animal Hospital before the hospital’s owner moved and left Tomko in charge of the business. The indictment includes felony counts for assaulting or harassing an assistance dog, possessing and dispensing prescriptions and theft from vet clients.
After being arrested on a separate charge of receiving stolen property in June 2011, Edwards says, the complaints started rolling in. “When her name hit the local media, I got a large packet from city and county prosecutors with complaints about animal abuse,” Edwards says, including multiple complaints turned over to police by the veterinary licensing board. Tomko wasn’t licensed, the board’s executive director Theresa Stir says, so the agency had no jurisdiction.
Kenny Reymann of Akron, Ohio, says he thinks his dog, Charlie, might still be alive if he hadn’t taken him to Tomko when he stopped eating in April 2011. The 13-year-old dog had kidney failure, he says, and Tomko’s attempts to help him failed as the dog died a few days later. “After I buried him and stopped my crying, I got on the Ohio vet’s website,” he says. “I searched for her under tech and vet and knew I’d been had.”
In addition to not being licensed, court records show Tomko, who’s out on bond, has various drug and theft convictions in Ohio. Her attorney, John Greven, didn’t return calls seeking comment.
Bricks & Mortar | Cleveland
Angie’s List member Wayne Krisby of Cleveland says he signed a contract in May with D-rated Bricks & Mortar owner Jim Emerson to raise his sinking porch and paid him a $2,000 deposit, but Emerson never did the work. Krisby says he called Emerson multiple times, and reached him once to demand his money back, but Emerson disconnected the call.
“He just didn’t do the work,” says Krisby, who joined Angie’s List to file an F review on the company, which landed in the Penalty Box in June. Krisby’s review is one of six straight F’s the company’s received since 2008, including another Penalty Box case. In addition to allegedly taking money for jobs he never started, members say Emerson did shoddy work.
“He just didn’t do the work.”
Emerson claims Krisby owes him money. “I wasn’t available for a telephone conversation when he called. I can’t call people back the same day,” he says. “He breached the contract, and he owes me money.” Court records show the company also has civil judgments against it in Cuyahoga County and Cleveland, including a $57,140 default judgment to Cleveland residents Richard and Grace Berta for a shoddy driveway repair.
Autos Direct Online | Brooks Park, Ohio
The Ohio attorney general says 34 consumers have filed complaints against Autos Direct Online.
A week after driving off the Autos Direct Online lot in March with his used 2005 Volvo XC90, Angie’s List member Michael Smith of North Ridgeville, Ohio, says a mechanic told him that he was lucky the wheels hadn’t fallen off because of bad wheel bearings. The company reimbursed Smith’s $750 repair bill, he says, but he thinks they lied to him about the vehicle passing an extensive safety inspection. “I think they buy cosmetically beautiful cars, but [the vehicles] have issues other dealers don’t want to deal with,” Smith says.
Autos Direct Online, which has an F rating based on two reviews, mostly sells cars online. According to the Ohio attorney general’s office, 34 consumers have filed complaints, including allegations of poor service, shoddy work, warranty problems and issues with its refund policies.
Manager Janelle Sarges says the company does a mechanical inspection, but encourages buyers to seek outside inspections. “We sell used vehicles,” she says. “We’re never going to make every customer happy.”