Skip to comments.Woman Admits To Trashing Home Over Money Owed By Contractor
Posted on 12/09/2007 2:30:04 PM PST by Daffynition
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. -- It was a $1,500 paint job that turned into a mess for the homeowner. Detectives said a subcontractor admitted to making the mess, because she hadn't been paid. Now, investigators say she could face felony charges for her act.
Detectives said the subcontractor claimed her general contractor wasn't paying her. The homeowner had paid $1,500 to have her home in the Conway Pointe subdivision painted. All of it was done for $800 and that's what the contractor owed the painter. The painter told police she was so upset over the money, she decided to paint the house again
"It's an awful thing, an awful thing," said victim Kittsie Simmons.
Simmons and her 77-year-old mother, Janet Gauthier, were supposed to move into their new home off Semoran Boulevard on Friday. When they walked inside, the place had been destroyed.
"I want to cry. This was supposed to be a new beginning for us," Simmons said.
Simmons paid contractor Pete Spaziano nearly $2,000 as a down payment to paint the house and replace the carpet with tile. Spaziano hired a subcontractor to do the painting. Eyewitness News talked to Spaziano by phone and he said he'd planned to pay the subcontractor when the painting was complete.
"She was very upset with Pete because she couldn't get a hold of him," Simmons said.
In fact, police said the painter told them she was so upset she trashed the house. Not one room was spared; the living room, dining room, bedrooms and bathrooms were all splattered with paint.
"I'm sick about it. I didn't think there was a human being that could something like this," Janet Gauthier said.
Gauthier and her daughter planned to spend Christmas in the home. Now they'll spend the holidays cleaning up and trying to recover some of the money they paid for a makeover that turned into a mess. They said they're furious at the painter, but they're also upset with Spaziano.
"He is probably so stressed for money, I am never going to see anything from him," Simmons said.
Spaziano was in Tampa on Friday. Eyewitness News talked to him on the phone and he said he was sorry about the situation and would give the Simmons their money back.
As for the painter, police asked Eyewitness News not to release her name just yet. She told them she'd come down to the station with her attorney on Monday. If she doesn't, police can get a warrant for her arrest.
Spaziano owns Mid-Florida Contractors. There have been 20 complaints filed against him with the Better Business Bureau this year and records show Spaziano has been sued two dozen times in the last 10 years.
Now there's a motivation to do some diligence before you hire a home-improvement workman.
Am I judging without all the facts? possibly, but the preponderance of what was reported backs this assumption. Sorry for the home owners, but the Blame lies with Spaziano MOO
You better believe it! And how do you know exactly who the contractor sub-contracts to ... as time marches on, more and more it may very well be an illegal alien.
These unscrupulous contractors need to be shut down but unfortunately many unknowing homeowners will be duped before authorities step in.
Why didn’t the sub-contractor file a mechanics lien?
These people are sleazy and graft money in any way they can come up with, from hiring illegals, to not paying their labor, to using substandard materials, to failing to pay in employee withholdings. And government officials from local building boards to Congress just about have to be getting a piece of the pie for it to have become as rampant as it seems to be.
I believe that as big a problem as the illegals are - the problem that they have brought the Latin American business ethic here is just as bad. Or perhaps this is the default business ethic, and we are seeing the absence of Christ in business and government.
I would assume because they aren’t experienced in being in business for themselves, and don’t understand what recourses they have. Spazzo probably has the money to out wrangle them in court if their I’s aren’t dotted and their T’s aren’t perfect.
The sub contractor was working for the general contractor, not the homeowner. The sub should have waited to get paid, and never have trashed someone else's property. The sub now owes the woman a nice paint job.
Perhaps I’m missing something here. The homeowner pays person A to have the place painted, who contracts person B to do it, and then when person B doesn’t get paid she takes it out on the homeowner? She belongs in jail, IMHO. Maybe the prime as well but that’s an entirely different issue. If it were me I’d be the one in jail because I’d have strangled both of them.
put the house on ebay?
A sub contractor may file a lien against the homeowner.
It sucks for the home owner because they are paying the general contractor, thinking they are paying the sub contractors.
No. The contract was between the HO and the general. THe sub's contract was with the general.
"It sucks for the home owner because they are paying the general contractor...
they paid the general. The sub should have gotten ahold of the general. There was no problem there. THe sub woman's just a flake.
Well, in California this is the way it is. Sucks for the homeowner.
WHAT IS A MECHANIC’S LIEN?
This section describes a mechanics lien and the problems it can cause property owners.
A mechanic’s lien is a hold against your property that, if unpaid, allows a foreclosure action, forcing the sale of your home. It is recorded with the County Recorder’s office by the unpaid contractor, subcontractor or supplier.
Sometimes liens occur when the prime contractor has not paid subcontractors or suppliers. Legally, the homeowner is ultimately responsible for payment - even if they have already paid the prime contractor.
There are so many sleazy general contractors, and so many more who do not intend to be sleazy or do bad work, but get into a hole, trying to use the proceeds from one job to pay the subs from the last job. It’s a mess, despite all attempts to control and regulate this field.
I’m SO glad to have found a truly wonderful general contractor. They did spectacular work on my house—a major reconstruction—and I could not be happier. They really went above and beyond the call of duty. If anyone in Maryland needs a whole house built or renovations done, Jenke Contracting in Annapolis is fantastic.
Yes, I know what a mechanics lien is. Only the party in the contract can place one. The subcontractor is not a party in the contract between the general contractor and the homeowner. Since he’s not a party in that contract, he can’t place a lien. The subcontractor works for the general contractor. The general contractor pays him to do work for him. If the subcontractor doesn’t get payed, he must go after the general ocntractor. The homeowner owes the sub nothing, because the homeowner never made a contract with him. In this case the general already got payed.
You ARE fortunate! The really good contractors are always booked well in advance and it can be a long wait to get a job done.
Did you even read the California statement?
The home is ultimately responsible.
It’s the same in Missouri. You, the homeowner, are responsible if the contractor does not pay either the sub or for supplies UNLESS the sub and suppliers sign a form releasing the homeowner. I know from experience. Had a bogus lien filed on us, so I found the statutes. We had the lien taken off. It was a beeyotch though. He never filed a lawsuit to get a judgment (he knew it was bogus) but it tied up our title for a while. He had six months from filing the lien to file a suit and the lien becomes invalid. It still is on record as being filed and will screw up a re-fi or sale. Had we had the money, we’d have sued the pants off him for that.
A friend of ours in Texas hired a contractor to install new windows, a sunroom and some other things. She had been married to a man who controlled every aspect of their marriage so after their divorce (about 10 years ago)she wanted to show how much she could do without asking for help. She opened a Lowes credit card with a $12,000 limit and GAVE IT TO HIM to buy supplies. He rarely brought her back receipts. She eventually fired him after 11 weeks (was supposed to take 3) and he took every single item that was bought when he snuck off. Turns out he went to town on the buying. He bought over $3,000 worth of tools. $200 saw, three different pair of $40 gloves, a $20 pair and throw aways. He bought cases of gatorade and water. She kept wondering why they never finished the gatorade or water - she was finding half or 3/4 empty bottles in the trash. I told her that’s because SHE WAS PAYING FOR IT! He bought case upon case of caulk and foam spray and enough paint to paint two houses. We figure that he was taking the extra supplies to either do his own home or taking it back for store credit. The sunroom he added was done completely wrong and leaked all down the walls. He left a crack you could see out of between the wall and a fireplace. Taking out windows, he either cut the sheet rock too large or in a couple of cases just ripped the windows out, tearing the sheetrock. THis is not normally a stupid woman. She is very smart but not in this case. She is supposed to go to mediation (recommended by an attorney first) and then go to small claims court. I told her to talk to the local DA. That office (Round Rock TX) said it was not something they get into to that she’d have to file small claims. I told her that he should have been arrested for using the card buying what he was not supposed to. He had that card up to the $12,000 limit plus she let him charge on a regular C-card at various Home Depots he said he “HAD” to go to.
I read it and realized something was missing. As, I said, a contract with the subcontractor is required. Read the following link. It explains that you have to sign off on that type of arrangment. That notice that the lien will be placed requires your signature before the work can begin. The sign off allows the lien to be placed and serves the purpose of a contract with subcontractors and suppliers. Notice also, that a joint check can be issed that will negate any sub, or supplier's right to stick that lien on.
I've had work done on commercial property in CA and refused to sign it for all, but one plumbing supplier and included with that doc an attachment that listed the specific items that could only be covered. A lien could not be placed by any other subcontractor, or supplier working on the project. That way a sub can be tossed and not payed for attempting to pass off shoddy work, no work, over billing, not paying their bills, ect...
Generally, when one is buying a house, their atty and title co take care of these things. If one is hiring contractors, they should be careful and not involve second parties, such as general contractors. Doing so keeps the project costs down. They should also be very careful about what they are contracting for. If it's to fix a problem. the contract should cover fixing the problem, not contracting to have specific work done, that the sub thinks will solve it. WHen the contract's written that way, one could end up paying for a bunch of worthless opinions.
Yes, MO is one of those states where morons used to be able to walk in the county clerk's office and file a lien. I thought most States fixed that after the "common law court" morons had filed a bunch against judges all over the country for finding them guilty of various crimes. Some States left that avenue of filing at the cleck's office open, but added a good criminal penalty if it wasn't legal per acconpanying suit.
"in Missouri. You, the homeowner, are responsible if the contractor does not pay either the sub or for supplies UNLESS the sub and suppliers sign a form releasing the homeowner.
There's the contract. The lien clause is explicit, or implied with an accompanying warning. That should be considered.
"It still is on record as being filed and will screw up a re-fi or sale."
It shouldn't, because the buyer's atty and title co. won't care if there's nothing current.
Same here, thats why I knew about it.
Glad you got it all straightened out, us too but what a pain.
Oh, it never kept us from doing anything. We just had to explain. Seems like the local title companies have to report ANYTHING in the title. It was a pain in the BUTT big time to have to explain it. Late last year, I got totally fed up and emailed every politician I could about it. Some never answered. Some just referred me to another agency. One guy in particular, Van Kelly, got things going for us. Backing up a bit, we are retired and could not afford an attorney to do whatever it took to get it removed. This is exactly what I told those politicians. They made it easy for a contractor to file the lien - $15 bucks and that’s it. It larger cities I believe most courthouses only let an attorney file so that the lien is filed in accordance with what the statutes say. Our county, Douglas, just took the money and let him file. I got a call from a guy who I thought was from Van Kelly’s office whom I talked to at length about it.He told of the previous clerk who was derelict in her duties, never there etc. Said the new gal who was elected was great and to get with her to get it removed. He also said he was going to try to introduce legislature about this very thing to help homeowners. After we were through talking, I asked him what his name was so that I could send a big thank you to Van Kelly. Turns out I was talking to Van Kelly himself. He had, himself, gone to the courthouse and reviewed the lien, talked to clerks etc. We could have filed a suit BUT you have to have money to start it and that's where they get by. He knew he didn't have standing to file it, but did it to just jab at us. My husband knows a lot about building/pouring concrete etc and kept a watchful eye on him. Contractor had to get a jack hammer and take out a front porch he poured after my husband came and told him the porch should be lower than the foundation for the new master bedroom/bath and entry. He poured a foundation for the bedroom,bath and entry that measured about 23 x 40 and hubby had to tell him to get a screed board to level it. Said he could do it with his eye. He made a form to pour part of that huge area and after screeding it (with hubby helping) he took the darn forms up before it was set. It oozed to the middle of the area. He had to re-do that. We had new windows installed (we bought them). He had said he could install new windows cheaper than work around the old ones (we installed all new siding on the house). Said he'd do if for free since it was cheaper. Every single thing he listed on his lien with the exception of the windows was money he was out to re-do his screw ups. His original contract with us also stated that if there was additional work done, then a new contract would be drawn up for that. We never signed any other contract. THIS is just one of the reasons he had no cause to file a lien. The day after I got my husband out of the hospital from a heart attack (this is how bad the contractor was) this A-hole came to get the balance of what we owed (which we wrote to the concrete company - he hadn't paid them yet) and then said we owed more money and if not paid, he'd file a lien. Hubby was about to go back in the hospital (after decking him LOL) so I made him go in the bedroom.