The owner of Real Rock Pools in Pasco County has repaid the deposits of two customers after telling 8 On Your Side he was broke and had spent that deposit money on other projects.
Jethro “Jeff” Brennan says he finalized a business loan Thursday that enabled him to repay $20,000 to customers Ashley DelGuidice and Megan Sullivan who had been clamoring for the refund of their pool deposits for six months.
Last week, Brenna said he was strapped for cash and said he could only work on pools as more money came in from customer when his projects reached construction milestones.
“I’m in a word, struggling,” Brennan said.
“Yes I have a smile on my face,” Sullivan told 8 On Your Side Monday.
“I was very stressed out and wasn’t sure where my $10,000 was going to be coming from and today I have it.”
DelGuidice says she’s happy, too.
“Awesome, yes thank you so much, yes,” Sullivan told 8 On Your Side. “I really appreciate it everything you guys did.
Sullivan and DelGuidice also credit Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano for helping put pressure on Brennan.
Pasco doesn’t have a consumer protection agency and Fasano has a reputation for stepping in to help residents. He’s even hired a consumer advocate in the Tax Collector’s office to field complaints.
Fasano is the one who first contacted 8 On Your Side on behalf of Sullivan and DelGuidice.
“I truly believe if I hadn’t talked to Mike and subsequently you, we wouldn’t have our money,” Sullivan told 8 On Your Side.
DelGuidice and Sullivan plan to hire another contractor to complete their pools and Sullivan’s new contractor started Monday.
“I’m getting pictures as we speak of what the progress is looking like at the moment,” DelGuidice said.
Real Rock Pools currently has around a dozen customers’ projects under contract.
Some, like Sullivan and DelGuidice, aren’t even started and others are in various stages of construction and have been dragging on for months.
Construction law attorney Jeff Lieser says that appears to violate Florida law.
“It’s not okay. There’s two laws that are really at play here,” Lieser said.
“If you use the funds for other purposes, whether it’s for another job or for paying your own personal auto loan bills or whatever, you’ve just committed a crime, most likely.”
Brennan repaid the two deposits Thursday before either customer filed a criminal complaint.
Brennan took deposits from six new customers Nov. 15 and work has begun on just one of those jobs.
About 15 or 20 concerned customers have now banded together on a private Facebook group called “Real Rock Debacle” to trade notes on the progress of their pools.