Pool company accused of ripping off customers lacks local licenses

Hillsborough County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – As more desperate customers step forward to say Pinellas Marcite Finishers took their money and didn’t deliver, local counties are questioning why the company is doing business without the correct license?

“She is not, in our opinion, licensed to work in Pinellas County,” said Pinellas County Licensing Board Director Gay Lancaster.

Our Better Call Behnken investigation has found that the company doesn’t have local licensing in Bay area counties. So while principal Sue Fortenbery does have a state license – which is set to expire next month – she can’t legally do business.

This comes after a growing number of customers are turning to Better Call Behnken, claiming Pinellas Marcite Finishers and Sue Fortenbery collected thousands of dollars, did little work and then left them with drained pools of green gunk.

“It has been a nightmare,” said Dan McIntire, a customer in Largo who paid more than $5,200 in March. “I really worked hard for that money, you know, and this lady just took and stole our money.”

Three months later, all McIntire has to show for it is green gunk in the bottom of his pool. He says Fortenbery stopped returning his calls.

In Carrollwood, another customer Lidia Delcuardi, says she paid Sue $3,250 in April for a down payment and then $900 more a month later.She is also left with green gunk.

8 On Your Side found this isn’t the first time Fortenbery had trouble with the business she runs with her husband.

She was arrested in 2016 and 2018 and charged with unlicensed contracting and grand theft.

As those charges make the slow trek through the legal system, and new clients, step forward, it’s time for Fortenbery to answer questions. She did not return phone calls for comment or answer the door.

Pinellas Consumer Protection tells Better Call Behnken they have 12 open complaints against the company, and they are investigating. A spokesman for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating two cases involving Sue Fortenbery.

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