7 On Your Side: Renovation nightmare

Seven On Your Side
April 24, 2010 4:59:59 PM PDT
When hiring a contractor, you may get estimates and even check references, but if you don't do a proper background check, you could be out thousands without any recourse. "This is now professionally done and fixed. Yes this is a superb job," said homeowner Joel Peskoff.

Joel Peskoff's kitchen renovation is finally perfect.

He had to hire a contractor to do the countertops a second time, after the first one installed granite which didn't fit.

Pictures show some of the problems.

"Some places it didn't touch the wall. It just wasn't right," explained Joel.

Overhangs were uneven.

"It was too short over here, and too long over here," Joel pointed out.

Joel says two granite counter-tops were never even installed.

"This piece over here was non-existent. It was never cut at all," said Joel.

Pompeii Marble and Granite did the work, but never fixed it .

So, Joel took them to court and won, but he never got paid.

He says he tried to call and never got a response.

So, we went to check it out, and learned there is a new company at the location.

We were looking for Giuseppe DiDomenico.

A newspaper article with his photo was taped to the businesses window.

Joel says he did the installation for Pompei Marble and Granite and appeared for the company in court.

"If you go there, it is the same merchandise, the same pictures, everything inside is the same. The same people over there, as I said, they play the shell game," said Joel.

Last year, Nassau County Consumer Affairs cited Pompei Marble and Granite for operating without a home improvement license.

Earlier this week, a county investigator went in undercover to the same address again.

"She said we do installation or we refer it out to a contractor, so even if you refer it out, you have to be licensed," said the Investigator.

Consumer Affairs considers this their second fine, a $1,500 violation, because they're still representing themselves as Pompei Marble and Granite, the old company name.

"The investigator that went in this morning was handed this card that says Pompei Marble and Granite LTD. And that is the name of the company that was given the first infraction," said Madalyn Farley of Nassau County Consumer Affairs.

Department of State records show the new business is named "USA Pompei Marble."

The lawyer we were referred to offered the Peskoff's a thousand dollar settlement, but they turned it down.

A second lawyer for USA Pompei Marble Inc. says it's not responsible for the judgment against Pompei Marble and Granite and the two companies are separate.

But guess what we discovered?

The old company's CEO, Barbara Vuolo, and Giuseppe, who is listed as the contact person for the new corporation, are both listed at the same home address according to state records.

The acting Commissioner isn't buying that the two companies are separate.

She says in order to get a license, USA Pompei Marble has to pay the fine and settle any outstanding consumer complaints, including the Peskoffs.

"At this point they are on our radar," said Farley.

"What do you want them to do?" asked Eyewitness News' Nina Pineda.

"Come in here, apply for a license, resolve all your problems, and work legally," stated Farley.

County Executive Ed Mangano and the acting commissioner want to send a clear message, unlicensed contractors will not be tolerated in Nassau County.

Consumers should check out their vendor's status on the county website before hiring.

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