Worst St. Louis Contractors of 2012
Arch Movers | St. Louis
Basement organization needs after the holidays motivated Chesterfield,Mo., homeowner Laura Guidry to call Arch Movers in St. Louis for some short-term muscle after finding the company online.
Upon arrival, she says, the company owner, who identified himself as Michael Osborne, demanded cash upfront, admonished Guidry to be sure to tip his workers, then left. During the job, Guidry says the workers told her they’d done jail time or they’d been homeless. She says the men were left stranded at her home, so she and her husband took them to a MetroLink station and bought them bus tickets. “Everything was just shocking about this,” she says.
Six consumers, including Guidry, filed complaints with the Missouri attorney general’s office between 2010-12 about Arch Movers, saying the company owner — listed in the complaints as Mike or Michael Osborne or just Michael — demanded cash; performed the work poorly or not at all, with workers who claimed to be homeless; damaged possessions; and was rude and sometimes threatening.
“Everything was just shocking about this.”
The Better Business Bureau also gives the company an F rating, based on four complaints, but lists the owner’s name as Michael Manzi — the same name cited by three members who submitted F reviews on Angie’s List. The F-rated company does not hold the proper license to move consumers in Missouri, says Tina Thurman, Missouri motor carrier compliance supervisor.
Reached by phone in New York, Osborne told Angie’s List Magazine that he’s being erroneously associated with Arch Movers. Not long after, Manzi called ALM and claimed to be the owner of Arch, which he says went defunct in about August. Regarding the complaints, Manzi says he required cash upfront to protect himself from dishonest customers, and he didn’t need a license in Missouri since he acted as a broker. Thurman says the state doesn’t allow brokering, and a federal broker needs a national motor carrier number, which Arch Movers doesn’t have.
Manzi denies hiring homeless men for moving jobs, but says he knows his employees try to garner larger tips by telling customers “a sob story,” though he doesn’t condone it. Chris Rice, pastor of a homeless ministry in St. Louis, says his staff confirmed a man calling himself Mike Osborne of Arch Movers has contacted the facility attempting to hire folks staying there.
Jason Leavy | Florissant, Mo.
At press time, Jason Leavy, a home improvement contractor who operated most recently as Tri-Star Roofing, Accurate Construction and Quality Roofing, was scheduled for a Jan. 31 trial in St. Louis County following his indictment by a grand jury for violating state laws. He’s accused of “being a prior and persistent offender” for taking money from seven homeowners for home repairs, then not doing the work or issuing refunds, according to a Missouri attorney general press release. He’s charged with seven counts of unlawful merchandising practices.
Eureka, Mo., resident Lauren Schmelz, one of the homeowners who complained to the AG, says she and her husband paid Leavy — who also goes by Jason Aragon and Michael Aragon, according to the AG — nearly $4,000 to replace their storm-damaged roof after seeing work Leavy successfully completed in their neighborhood. But Leavy just took the money and ran, Schmelz says. Leavy served 18 months in jail in 2006 on similar charges, the AG says. Attempts to reach Leavy were unsuccessful.
Solutions Foundation Repair & Waterproofing | St. Louis
Despite reading bad reviews on Angie’s List, St. Peters, Mo., Angie's List member Debbie Brauchler says she hired Solutions Foundation Repair to fix her leaking basement after owner Dale Blaine offered her a $4,000 discount. “It was, from beginning to end, a nightmare,” she says of the repair that to date totals $17,000 and still isn’t completed properly. “My husband is still going to have to go back and fix part of it.”
“It was, from beginning to end, a nightmare.”
SFRW has an F rating on the List, based on five reviews from members who say the company performed shoddy or incomplete work, didn’t pay subcontractors and overcharged for work. The company also has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau, based on seven complaints.
In January 2012, a default judgment was issued against SFRW for breach of contract with Southern Commercial Bank. Calls to Blaine and SFRW were not returned.