Worst Indianapolis Contractors of 2011

Worst Indianapolis Contractors of 2011

Indy Pave | Indianapolis

Angie's List member Karen Middleton of Franklin says she paid 59-year-old Peter J. Western, owner of Indy Pave, $400 in July to seal her asphalt driveway. After Western never returned to do the work, Middleton joined Angie's List for help.

"He literally took the money and ran," she says. "In my 60 years, I've never felt so violated and cheated."

 

The D-rated company, which city records show doesn't hold a general contractor's license as required by law, landed in the Penalty Box after Western failed to respond to Middleton's complaint. A notice on Indy Pave's Angie's List profile alerts members to the Penalty Box case.

Detective James Bryant of the Johnson County Sheriff's Department says a warrant was issued in 1997 for Western on misdemeanor charges of home improvement fraud. "It's the oldest active warrant in Johnson County Superior Court No. 3," Bryant says. "It looks like nothing has changed in the past 14 years - except the victims."

Trafalgar [Ind.] member Barry Whetstine submitted an F report on Indy Pave in June, and pursued a lawsuit against the company. He says he paid Western more than $20,000 to chip-seal and pave a shared private road in late 2010, but the road surface never hardened and fell apart.

"He did a lot of damage," Whetstine says. "I'd love to see this man brought to justice."

Bryant says he believes Western and his son, Peter G. Western, also operated under the name Paveco. The Indiana attorney general obtained a $44,350 judgment last January against the son, individually, and doing business as Paveco and Roadways Paving.

A judge ordered him to pay more than $22,000 to four homeowners, and $22,000 in civil penalties. He did not return calls.

The senior Western told Angie's List Magazine that he plans to repay Middleton, but Middleton says she's received no refund. He says he hasn't operated under Roadways Paving for six years, and his son owned Paveco.

He also claims he did nothing wrong on Whetstine's job. "We don't go around doing shoddy work," he says. "Some people are just impossible to do business with, or they want something for nothing."

C & L Well Drilling | Indianapolis

In October, Miliadee "Dee" Hughes, an illegally unlicensed plumber who authorities say operated numerous companies under more than a dozen names, pleaded guilty to class D felony insurance fraud in Hamilton County and received a sentence of 915 days.

Deputy Prosecutor Bob Summerfield says Hughes and her business partner, Carl Lawson Jr., misled Carmel [Ind.] homeowner Robyn Sweet by telling her she had a sump pump that needed to be replaced, but she had no sump pump. They also claimed to have serviced her well pump, but really didn't, Summerfield says.

Hughes, who also goes by Dee Lawson, according to court records, is serving the sentence on home detention and didn't respond to requests for comment. Carl Lawson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor home improvement fraud, and received a 212-day sentence. He's currently incarcerated.

One complaint that landed C & L in the Penalty Box involved Beech Grove resident Shirley Shipley, who says she never received a refund after paying Hughes a $600 down payment to install a battery pack replacement for her sump pump. Shipley's son-in-law performed the work after C & L failed to return.

"They went straight to the bank with my check," says Shipley, who joined Angie's List as a result. A notice alerts members.

In July, Hughes also entered a diversions program in Johnson County in exchange for admitting guilt to one charge of misdemeanor home improvement fraud in a case where she collected $1,250 upfront and never performed the work, according to the Johnson County prosecutor's office.

Court records show that Hughes has been named in numerous civil lawsuits dating back to the 1990s, including one filed in 2006 by the Indiana attorney general that resulted in a $265,000 judgment against Hughes and her then partner, Anthony Leon Hughes, for collecting payment for plumbing jobs, but doing shoddy or incomplete work for nine consumers.

According to state records, Hughes lacks both plumbing and water well drilling licenses and the Indianapolis Department of Code Enforcement permanently barred her from contracting work in Marion County.

Boatright Funeral Home | Indianapolis

A judge sentenced former funeral director Marvin Boatright, 54, to two years of home detention and two years of probation in July after a jury found him guilty of felony forgery. He learned in October that the Marion County prosecutor wouldn't retry him on 13 other charges.

Spokeswoman Brienne Delaney says the prosecutor decided not to retry Boatright because additional convictions probably wouldn't have affected his sentence.

Boatright's appealing his forgery conviction for signing a death certificate without a valid state funeral director license. A notice on his Angie's List company profile alerts members to the felony conviction.

"He's suffered enough," says Indianapolis resident Vera Robinson, who won a $3,000 civil judgment against Boatright in 2003 for a headstone she bought but didn't receive. Boatright Funeral Home is no longer in operation.

Boatright, also an Indianapolis Worst Contractor in 2010, received a one-year federal sentence in 2000 for bankruptcy fraud, per court records.

Blue Diamond Construction | Indianapolis

Indianapolis resident Kari Gossett says she hired Blue Diamond Construction to build her deck, but received work so shoddy that it resulted in the city suing her and her husband, and Blue Diamond for failure to pull permits.

"This $5,500 deck is now up to $10,000 with a lawyer, fees and permits I have to pull," Gossett says.

City Prosecutor Helen Marchal says the homeowner charges will be dismissed once all permits are pulled, but because Blue Diamond failed to appear at the initial hearing, the city will seek default judgment and a fine for working without a license. A notice on the company's profile alerts members its license is expired.

Court records indicate Blue Diamond and its owner, Larry Dehart, have been named in at least eight civil lawsuits in the past decade, with judgments in excess of $19,000. The Indiana attorney general's office also received four complaints about the company. Dehart did not return messages.

Glass Medic/Superior Auto Glass | Indianapolis

Glass Medic owner Tuan Anh Chu faces a Feb. 8 trial on 17 felony charges, including theft, corrupt business influence and tax evasion, after the Indiana attorney general filed a lawsuit accusing him of failing to pay more than $268,000 in state income and sales taxes, despite charging consumer and business clients for those taxes.

The suit says Chu also operated as Superior Auto Glass and Independent Auto Glass.

The F-rated Glass Medic landed in the Penalty Box after failing to respond to Indianapolis member Kim Steagall's complaint that he incorrectly installed a truck window. "It was never resolved," she says of her 2010 complaint.

The company has seven other reports from members, some of whom allege Chu misled them by falsely advertising himself as a Super Service Award winner. A notice on his AL company profile alerts members to both issues.

Chu, who remained in the Marion County Jail at press time, has previous felony convictions for auto theft and forgery, according to state records. Chu's attorney did not return calls.

Evergold Mechanical | Greenwood, Ind.

Angie's List member Jill Irwin of Indianapolis says she didn't choose Evergold owner Josh Giokas to install a water heater in the home she purchased, but she's been dealing with his shoddy work since 2010 because it remained under warranty.

She says she eventually paid him $350 to install a new water heater, but he never did. "It was never resolved," says Irwin, whose complaint landed the company in the Penalty Box in April.

Giokas, who doesn't have required city or state plumbing licenses, per city officials, says the previous homeowner wanted the work to be done as cheaply as possible. "I felt what I did was fair," he says.

The B-rated company has 13 reports, but his two most recent reports in 2011 were D and F. Three notices on the company's profile alert members to the Penalty Box, licensing violations and misusing Super Service Award logos on his website. The local BBB also gives Evergold an F.

- by Ellen Miller, Jackie Norris and Meranda Watling


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