WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (WFLA) — Dream homes can become nightmares when a bad contractor is involved, but recouping lost money from a state fund is not easy money.
More than $100,000 bought Brenda Digeon and her family rebar in the soil of their Wesley Chapel land but that is where they said the construction stopped.
“I’ve been working my tail off for four years dealing with this and I still don’t have justice,” Digeon said.
Digeon tried to get at least some justice from the DBR’s Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund, but she said the process involved more frustration after documents were lost and promises were delayed.
The account, funded with a small percentage of permit fees, had about $22 million in it as of last year.
“You’re approved but it still has to go before this board and they don’t meet for another two months,” Digeon recalled. “Or that board approved it but now it has to be signed off by someone over here. Most people don’t even know it exists and the people who do probably give up.”
Danny Musgrove was her contractor, but he has refused several requests for comment about claims made against him. He did lose his license after 8 On Your Side reported the complaints about his work.
A civil complaint filed last year by the Florida Attorney General alleged Musgrove took $361,270 from eight homeowners without finishing their projects.
The Pasco County State Attorney’s Office decided there was not enough evidence to prosecute Musgrove criminally.
Digeon’ s attorney Candace Colucci disagreed, claiming Musgrove allegedly violated five statutes.
“We really believe they should’ve prosecuted in the first place,” Colucci said.
Digeon said putting bad contractors in jail or at least prosecuting them would be a deterrent.
“If they would just prosecute these guys, you wouldn’t need a recovery fund,” Digeon said. “I was victimized by Danny Musgrove and then I was victimized by the state because they weren’t there to help me.”
After years of frustration, Digeon did finally receive the maximum amount allowed from the state fund, but she said the payout was marred by the process.
“What am I going to say? Thank you state of Florida for giving me the opportunity to claw tooth and nail the last four years to get back not even half of the money I lost to a man that you refuse to prosecute?” Digeon said.
Other Musgrove customers are still waiting for the final decisions on their claims with the DBR’s fund.
Data obtained from DBR last year indicated Digeon was among 675 people who filed claims since the beginning of 2021. 155 of those, less than 25%, had been approved by midyear. $3.7 million was dispersed during that time.
Digeon would not comment about the process until after she saw the money in her account.
“The recovery fund is a joke. I’m tenacious. I wasn’t going to give up,” Digeon said. “Most people wouldn’t go through what I went through to get that money.”
DBR has not yet provided a statement about Digeon’s claims.