TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hillsborough County contractor Danny Musgrove shattered the dreams of his clients, as well as their finances.
Now, after two years of 8 On Your Side reports about his antics, the state finally stripped Musgrove of his contractor’s license.
“Yes, absolutely his license should be stripped,” said former client Brenda Digeon. “He should be made to pay either with his freedom or with his bank account, in the criminal justice system.”
Brenda Digeon’s is one of seven active complaints against Musgrove with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. State records show she hired Musgrove to build her house in Wesley Chapel and paid him more than $111,000 before he walked away, leaving her with unusable footers and damaged property.
“The work that I did get out of Musgrove was not up to code, it was shoddy,” remembered Brenda.
Our investigation found Musgrove treated many customers the same way. He took a nice down payment, did minimal work – most of it shoddy – and then left them hanging.
“I think that he and his wife Rhonda both did so many people wrong that I think they should pay for it,” said Beth Smetana, another Musgrove client.
Musgrove started, but never finished, a house for Beth and her husband Tim. According to DBPR records, the Smetanas paid Musgrove more than $170,000 to build their retirement home in Dover. He made such a mess of things, both Beth and Tim had to postpone their retirements to help pay to bring the structure into compliance with Hillsborough County building codes.
Records also show Musgrove failed to pay subcontractors for materials and work. The subs then placed liens on the Smetanas’ property. They had to pay the subs to remove the liens.
Beth estimates that Musgrove owes her up to $90,000.
Musgrove’s explanation to the state for the mess in which he left customers was that a client stiffed him for $40,000 in 2016. Then things started going south.
Nonetheless, state records that 8 On Your Side reviewed show during the next three years – 2017, 2018 and 2019 – Musgrove stuffed his wallet with more than $415,000 of clients’ money as he kept claiming he had money problems.
“The last time we saw him, we gave him $36,000,” recalled Tim Smetana. “He said we were so nice, not like some other people, then we never saw or heard from him again.”
Musgrove refused to discuss any of this with 8 On Your Side, continually referring us to his attorney. His lawyer never returned any of our calls. Court records show the attorney dropped the Musgroves because they stiffed him, too.
In a settlement agreement with the Construction Industry Licensing Board, Musgrove agreed to “voluntarily relinquish” his license.
In exchange, he is not required to reimburse any of his clients one red cent. He is prohibited from applying for another contractor’s license unless he pays an $87,000 administrative fine.
Brenda Digeon and the Smetanas believe the only way Musgrove will stop hurting people is if law enforcement brings criminal charges against him. Pasco County detectives are on Musgrove’s trail. While the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office insists it is actively investigating Musgrove, Brenda Digeon says an HCSO detective told her this is a civil matter.
Brenda is also disappointed with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office. The AG touts a Senior Protection Team she established to protect seniors from unscrupulous businesses and scams. Most of Musgrove’s victims in Hillsborough County are senior citizens.
“They’ve stopped returning my calls and emails,” Brenda added.
Now that Musgrove relinquished his license, his victims can apply to a state recovery fund from which they may receive partial reimbursement for the money Musgrove took from them.
If you know of something that you think should be investigated, call our 8 On Your Side Helpline at 1-800-338-0808 or contact Steve Andrews at email@example.com
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