TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Three homeowners, each with similar stories, tell 8 On Your Side they paid a local roofer for work that was never done, and won civil judgements against him.
Now the homeowners want more than just their money back. They want to know why the state didn’t step in to do more. 8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeid is looking into it.
In Florida, a new roof is never cheap. Judi Engel says the cost was tremendous, not just because of inflation. She points the finger at roofer Chris Mouyous.
“I paid for a roof and a half to get my roof replaced and just that dead wrong,” Judi said.
Judi says she gave Mr. Mouyous more than $5,000, but he didn’t do the work.
“I had a horrible heart attack,” Mr. Mouyous told 8 On Your Side on Aug. 10. “I’m ill. I’m ill.”
Judi sued and won, but still hasn’t collected a penny.
When 8 On Your Side caught up with Mr. Mouyous, he said there is no money to collect. He blamed the delays on family problems, health issues and the economy.
“I can’t pay my own bills at the moment,” he said.
The matter begs the question: Who regulates contractors?
“The system passes the buck, you call one agency, they tell you to call another,” said Judi.
Melanie Griffin, the Secretary of the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, oversees 1.7 million licensees. In January, Judi filed a complaint with her department.
When 8 On Your Side contacted the agency, a spokesman said in part: “There are no publicly available…investigations against Christopher Mouyos at this time.”
“In fact I just got a letter from the DBPR finding me harmless from Judith Engel. No kidding, I can show it to you,” said Mr. Mouyous.
But 8 On Your Side already had the letter, and that’s not quite what it says.
In it, DBPR states roofers can be disciplined with “fines, suspension or revocation” of a license but the burden of proof is high: “quasi-criminal.”
DBPR told Judi that after a careful review, her case was closed but that doesn’t mean, quote: “your complaint is not valid.”
She was told to consult an attorney to see if she can obtain relief in civil court.
Months after Judi, Janice Smith also paid a deposit to Mr. Mouyous.
“I’m hurt by it. Angry. Very, very angry that he took my money,” she said.
Right now, there are three civil judgments against him. All three women claim the state isn’t doing enough to protect them, or you.
“I got the DPR involved, and they’re very slow at it,” said Kimberly Bonati. “Something needs to be done.”
DBPR states complaints and investigations are always confidential. The only exception is if the investigation results in a finding of probable cause by a probable cause panel. 8 On Your Side asked how often that occurs. We’re waiting to hear back from the agency about the process and also to see their statistics.
Meanwhile, after 8 On Your Side got involved, the women said the state told them it’s possible they can get some of their money back by applying to the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund. They’re waiting to see if they qualify for compensation.
Homeowners can access the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund application by clicking here.
If you have a tip for Mahsa, email MSaeidi@WFLA.com.