Worst Twin Cities Contractors of 2012
ARI Construction | Forest Lake, Minn.
The Minnesota Department of Labor & Industry revoked C-rated ARI Construction’s contractor’s license in March after receiving six complaints from consumers about the company’s defective work and failure to complete jobs or refund down payments. President/CEO Prince Theodore Tyler III and his wife, Shari Tyler, ran the Forest Lake, Minn.-based company, according to the DL&I. Before going out of business, ARI Construction also operated in Arizona, according to the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, as well as in Nebraska, February bankruptcy filings show.
Charlie Durenberger, the DL&I’s licensing and enforcement manager, says ARI is banned from working in Minnesota and faces a $20,000 fine if they do. ARI’s also banned from working in Arizona following its license revocation there in May after seven complaints, the ROC says. ARI, whose phones are disconnected, also failed to register with the Nebraska Department of Labor.
Prince Tyler filed bankruptcy in February, listing $811,253.97 owed to 90 creditors. The case remained pending at press time. Betty Elliott of Kimball, Neb. — who along with her husband, Leon, are listed as creditors on the bankruptcy filing — says she paid ARI Construction $12,000 to repair hail-damaged siding, windows and trim. They replaced the windows but never replaced siding, and the windows still leaked. “I had another company do the roof,” says Betty, who filed a complaint with the Minnesota licensing board and asked ARI for her money back. “They’d used my money to order materials for another job. Of course, I never got a penny.”
Betty says she only checked ARI’s Minnesota license and read their marketing materials. “They didn’t seem like the fly-by-night people who follow storms,” she says. Durenberger says not all storm-chasing companies are necessarily bad, but says some turn out to be bandits. “We determined that ARI was causing problems in Minnesota,” he says.
According to Hennepin County court records, Prince Tyler pleaded guilty to three felony forgery charges in the 1990s. His bankruptcy attorney, Joe Dicker, declined to comment.
Care 4 Tree’s Tree Service | St. Cloud, Minn.
“I contacted him three times, and he never returned my calls or emails.”
Angie's List member Katherine Olig of Eden Prairie, Minn., says she needed overgrown trees trimmed and hired Care 4 Tree’s Tree Service in May when representatives went door to door in her neighborhood. She admits she didn’t check the List, but says she agreed to pay the D-rated company $2,000 for immediate service. But she says the company did shoddy and incomplete work, charged her more than what she agreed to pay and left trash in her yard.
She says owner Kory Davis promised to return to clean up the mess, but never did. “I contacted him three times, and he never returned my calls or emails,” she says. Olig’s D review is one of two the company received in June, as well as an F in August that landed the company in the Penalty Box for failing to respond to a request to repair what a member referred to as shoddy work.
Four consumers also complained in 2012 to the Minnesota Better Business Bureau about the company’s services. Davis, who’s properly registered as a tree care provider with the state, didn’t return messages.
RSM Designs | Oakdale, Minn.
St. Paul, Minn., Angie's List member Sandy Miller says she paid RSM Designs $28,000 for a five-week home remodel that started in February. By the end of May, she says, the company still hadn’t installed windows and damaged her driveway with their dumpster. She also says owner Rick Miner never pulled city permits, failed to pay subcontractors, and one filed a lien on her home.
Miller says she joined Angie’s List to file an F review, and made complaints to the Minnesota attorney general and licensing board. “I just want this guy stopped from doing this,” she says. Miller’s review put the F-rated remodeler in the Penalty Box after it didn’t respond to her complaint.
Two other members also filed F and D reviews with complaints of shoddy work, taking money without finishing projects, not responding to their calls, missing deadlines and leaving messes. The BBB also gives RSM an F rating based on two complaints. Miner, who’s properly licensed, didn’t return calls seeking comment.