Worst Phoenix Contractors of 2010
Allstar Moving & Storage Inc./ Always Moving & Storage | Chandler, Ariz.
Cheryl Printz says her experience with Allstar Moving & Storage went smoothly until the crew stopped unloading the truck and demanded extra cash before finishing the job. According to Printz, they told her, "You don't give the cash, you don't get your stuff.
The Gilbert resident says she called police, which notified the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures. The department can't levy fines but can ensure the company abides by its contract. "We can only be there to ensure no one is ripped off," says Shawn Marquez, director of compliance programs for the DWM, which received at least 13 complaints against Allstar Moving & Storage, which also does business as Always Moving & Storage.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard filed a civil suit in April against the company and its president, Mohamed Elsayed, and manager, Amru Abdalla, alleging the company misled customers by adding previously undisclosed fuel and truck cleaning charges to their bills, as well as fictitious taxes. No judgment had been issued as of press time.
The company is licensed for intrastate moves by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. That federal agency, however, does not regulate those types of moves, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Multiple civil suits and unpaid civil judgments from customers are pending against the company. Chandler resident Lynn Abarr says she won a $728 judgment in August 2009 but has been unable to collect.
Abdalla is on probation from a December 2009 felony conviction in Maricopa County for facilitation of trafficking in stolen property, according to court records. That conviction involved Abdalla buying moving blankets and dollies from an undercover Chandler police officer even after he'd been told they were stolen goods, says William FitzGerald, spokesman for the Maricopa County district attorney.
The company is still in business, but did not return calls seeking comment. A notice alerts members to Abdalla's prior conviction.
Ortega Masonry | Phoenix
In September, a judge sentenced Michael S. Ortega, 29, owner of Ortega Masonry, to six-and-a-half years in prison and ordered him to pay $19,300 in restitution to at least nine customers after he pleaded guilty to two felony counts of forgery and three felony counts of theft.
"Ortega solicited work by going door-to-door offering to do projects for a good price with leftover materials," says Tyler Palmer, spokesman for the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. "After receiving upfront payments and performing some demolition work, Ortega would abandon the project." A notice alerts members to his felony conviction.
The agency received 23 complaints against Ortega, who didn't have the required state contractor's license, Palmer says. He pleaded guilty in 2007 to operating without a contractor's license, and he also has a 2008 civil judgment against him. He's held in the state prison in Florence.
Affordable Remodeling | Phoenix
Christopher James Eastwood, 43, returns as a Worst Phoenix Contractor after a judge sentenced him to six years in prison for taking $137,169 in down payments from 14 victims, who hired him to do home remodeling projects that he never started or didn't finish.
Eastwood's December 2009 sentencing followed his guilty plea on two felony counts of theft and one felony count of conducting a fraud scheme. He's incarcerated at the state prison in Douglas.
Nine of Eastwood's 14 victims were elderly, says William FitzGerald, spokesman for the Maricopa County district attorney. Eastwood also did not have a required state contractor's license. He has eight civil judgments against him totaling more than $142,000.
Eastwood held the top spot on the Arizona Registrar of Contractors' Most Wanted List for several months until he was caught during a routine traffic stop. A notice alerts members to his felony conviction.