Inspector: Business Blatantly Violating Laws
Updated On: Feb 18 2011 11:15:01 AM CST
A local home improvement company's at the center of complaints from several former customers who say they gave the company thousands of dollars, only to have building inspectors tell them the work was shoddy, no permits were pulled and the contractor is not even licensed to do the work.
Target 13 Investigates has been fielding calls from customers and former employees of Home Improvement One Stop Shopping.
The owner is Fiore Garippo.
County records show he and his wife, the company's co-owner, failed several tests to get their contractors licenses. Mr. Garippo did pass the test for roofing. However, his insurance company made it clear in documents contained in a Pikes Peak Regional Building file, Garippo's business is not insured for roofing. Regional Building did not grant him a license for roofing, but he continued working.
Target 13 investigates obtained a letter from a Building Inspector Terry Brunette written to the Pikes Peak Building Committee, stating Garippo is "blatantly ignoring the laws that Regional Building is trusted to enforce."
Garippo took Target 13 Investigates to several locations where he's worked and is currently working, including roofing. He also told us it's common to have homeowners pull permits for work his company will do, even though Regional Building's attorney told us that is not allowed.
Garippo said Regional Building is lying to Target 13 Investigates. "I'm going to tell you straight up," he said, "at Regional Building there has been people in authority that's authorized homeowners pull the permits, knowing we were doing the work."
He also accuses building inspectors of flip-flopping on whether to approve his work.
"So, if they're letting me slide on this, and they want to ding me on this, then why would you do that and then act like you're all high and mighty?" Garippo asked us, in reference to Regional Building.
Regional Building Attorney Todd Welch told us none of what Garippo said is true.
7 of Garippo's former clients and co-workers told us they've heard similar stories from him.
James Hickle threatened to call police, when Garippo showed up at his house to prove to Target 13 Investigates that the work was not shoddy.
Hickle told us he gave Garippo "around $14,000 within the first 2 days." But he says he later found the proper permits were not pulled for the work.
Other homeowners shared similar stories. Altogether, 4 of them came forward to publicly say they gave Home Improvement One Stop Shopping $46,400 for home improvements that required licenses and permits, but found out later Garippo had neither.
Other homeowners were afraid to speak out publicly because they feared Garippo would sue them. One of those homeowners told us they gave Home Improvement One Stop Shopping more than $50,000.
The company has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau. It used to be a member with an "A" rating, but the bureau says that was when Garippo was only doing handyman jobs - jobs that don't require a licensed professional.
"Instead they started doing all kinds of things like plumbing, electrical, building construction where you do need to be licensed," said BBB Spokeswoman Katie Carroll, "So, of course that's unacceptable, so out (BBB membership revoked) they went," she said.
At one point, Regional Building filed a request for a permanent injunction against Garippo's company, but Regional's attorney says they let the case slide because Garippo arranged to work with a licensed contractor out of Pueblo West - Full Spectrum Constructors.
Full Spectrum's owners tell us they ended their arrangement with Garippo after just a couple of months.
We obtained an email from Full Spectrum to Garippo. In it Full Spectrum's owners tell Garippo, "You have proven to us that you are not willing to change your ways and have no intention of leaving your dishonesty and shady business practices behind. It's unfortunate because you have hurt a lot of people along the way."
Garippo is now working with another licensed contractor - Eastern Colorado Builders. The company came under fire from Regional Building last year for pulling permits for Garippo, but not performing the work, or monitoring his work. The company tells Target 13 Investigates they will now inspect the work Home Improvement One Stop Shopping does.
Garippo says he has many satisfied customers. Several have written recommendations for him, which are required to get licensed through Regional Building.
Garippo says the people complaining just want him to do the work for free.
Regional Building's attorney says they'll be watching him closely, but other than that, he says there's nothing the department can do. That's not what the alleged victims of Home Improvement One Stop Shopping wanted to hear.
We did run a Colorado Court search on Garippo, who's also know as Jeffery Seabrook and Stewart Nelson. We've posted the cases and case numbers here for you to see for yourself.
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