UPDATE 9/30/13 @ 12 p.m.
IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The Ohio Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against "All Seasons of Kentucky Inc." and company’s owners, claiming Leo Patrick Richard and Carol Richard failed to deliver promised services and performed shoddy work.
“All Seasons of Kentucky” is a storm-damage repair company that operated in Ironton, Ohio, from December 2012 to April 2013.
A WSAZ.com investigation began looking into the company ,and its alleged business practices back in June.
According to Monday's news release from the Ohio AG, approximately 35 consumers reported losing a total of more than $171,000 to the Grayson, Ky.-based business.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit, filed in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court, charges the business and its owners with multiple violations of Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Solicitation Sales Act. This includes failure to deliver, shoddy work, and failure to give consumers proper notice of their right to cancel, according to the release.
The Attorney General seeks to stop further violations and to obtain full consumer restitution and civil penalties.
“This business targeted homeowners who had storm damage and ripped them off,” Attorney General DeWine said. “When a business takes a consumer’s money and does little or nothing in return, we will go after the business and the individuals responsible.”
After taking consumers’ money and doing little or no work, records show that the owners made personal car payments and yacht club payments from the All Seasons of Kentucky bank account, according to the news release.
Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.
A spokeswoman for the Ohio Attorney General says her office cannot confirm or deny that an investigation is happening. However, she was able to report that 17 Ohio residents have taken their case to the Ohio Attorney General.
"We have reports everyday," Ironton Police Capt. Joe Ross said. "One, two, three reports still coming in on a daily basis. So far there are about 40."
WSAZ.com has learned that people in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia have only received empty promises from All Seasons Contracting.
Nearly 120 people have filed complaints with the Missouri Attorney's General Office. The scam has affected dozens of families in the St. Louis area. A civil lawsuit has also been filed.
WSAZ.com introduced you to contractor Luis Escobedo, who owns Shield Roofing. Escobedo is owed tens of thousands of dollars for doing subcontracting work for All Seasons Contracting.
Before speaking out to WSAZ.com, Escobedo would hear back from All Seasons Contracting Owner Patrick Richard via text and phone call. Since our report aired, he's heard nothing.
"I tried to contact him a couple times," Escobedo said. "I even talked him today, left a voicemail where I am willing to work some payments to get less money than what he owes me, just to get some."
Escobedo is doing work for people whose contracts were not fulfilled by All Seasons Contracting.
"I am trying to reach out to the Ironton community," Escobedo said. "If you still have money coming from your insurance company, we can sit down, look at the numbers and at least get you a new roof."
Richard responded to WSAZ.com's email request for an update on where things stand Tuesday. It read:
"Our intentions are to get customers handled as quick as possible. We are moving as fast as financially possible."
Richard owns a home in an upscale suburban Chicago home, with several nice cars parked in the driveway. A reporter in St. Louis also uncovered that Richard owns a home in a gated community in West Palm Beach, Fla.
In the meantime, police are working to build a case.
"Try to figure out what charges, if any, are going to be filed and what our next move is going to be trying to get people's money back," Ross explained.
But now he has to defend his own name, through no fault of his own.
The name of Dolen's company is "All Seasons Home Improvement."
The name of the company accused of not delivering on tens of thousands of dollars worth of contracts throughout our region is called All Seasons Contracting.
"Work has really slacked off because of that over the time being that All Seasons is cheating people," Dolen said. He has been forced to explain to leery customers the difference.
"We had to go out to a home the other day onto a job they have done and talk to the people because they were trying to say we were those people," Dolen said. "We went and talked to the lady and told her if we could help out in anyway we could."
In another instance, he had to plead his case before a job even got started.
"After we assured him it wasn't us, then he gave us the chance to go in there," Dolen said."He went back through and gave some real good recommendations."
Dolen says you should keep a few things in mind.
He says legitimate contractors will not come knocking on your door. Next, only you and your insurance agent should handle your insurance paperwork.
"When it comes down to it, you are always supposed to do all the paperwork and everything yourself," Dolen said. "You never let anyone else do that for you because you don't want your business and everything else to where they can be in control of that."
He says there are three things you need to ask a contractor for: a license, insurance and references.
Expect to put some money down. Dolen says for him it's either one-third or half, depending on the type of job.
He says that protects both the customer and the contractor.
He says there are plenty of times when the roles are reversed, and it is the contractor who ends up on the wrong end of the deal.
"Contractors can get cheated just as easily."
The company is accused of taking insurance checks up-front and not doing work listed in the contract agreement.
WSAZ.com has received calls from customers now in the entire Tri-State region. But the reports don't end here. Some 500 miles to our west in St. Louis, there are also All Seasons customers out thousands of dollars.
Luis Escobedo owns Shield Roofing of Ironton. He was hired as sub-contractor for All Seasons.
Escobedo says that Patrick Richard, owner of All Seasons Contracting, owes him "quite a bit of money."
He says he talks to All Seasons Contracting owner Patrick Richard about three times a week via text message.
Richard has several expensive cars in his own driveway at his half-million dollar home in suburban Chicago.
Escobedo had to sell one of his vehicles just to pay his employees.
Shield Roofing is now going around town finishing the work that All Seasons did not complete -- for a fraction of the cost.
"At this moment I think we are out of the hole. We are in good standing right now, but I still want my money," Escobedo said.
Escobedo has filed a police report. He doesn't think he will ever get the money he is owed.
Richard has told Escobedo via text that as soon as he has money, Escobedo will too.
The timing of all this couldn't be worse. He is expecting his first child in about a month.
As a part of our WSAZ.com investigation, we've uncovered that the owner, Patrick Richard, has been doing something similar in St. Louis.
While customers are out tens of thousands of dollars in both cities and homes sit unfinished, our partners in St. Louis paid Richard a visit he wasn't expecting.
It turns out he lives in a half-million dollar home in suburban Chicago, owns a home in a gated community in Florida and has several expensive vehicles, including an RV.
The Attorney General in Missouri is investigating Richard. Ohio's Attorney General has taken 10 complaints. The Ironton Police Department has taken 11 with more expected.
Detective Joe Ross says he fears what he has now is "only the tip of the iceberg."
Numbers to call the company are no longer in service.
WSAZ.com was able to track down Richard. He responded to our inquiry with this statement:
"We are diligently working on getting refunds and or finishing jobs we've started as quickly as possible. We have already issued several refunds and several more have gone out. It is not our intent to keep anyone's money. We completed close to 100 jobs in the area before running into staff problems which caused all of this. We will continue to issue refunds as funds are available over the next several weeks until all jobs are either done or refunded."
Jason Stoneroad, who lives in Ironton, is out about $3,700. He finally heard back from a company representative named Joe Stevens. Stevens told him that he would be getting a refund. Stoneroad still doesn't have the money yet. He's also filed a claim with the AG's office.
Across town, the Kearns family received the siding they paid for, but the roof has never been replaced. Ms. Kearns said she calls daily and believes the only reason the siding project was completed is because she "aggravated them."
Ms. Kearns says she feels lucky to at least have a little work completed.
They are out about $11,000.
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