PHOENIX — Jason McClure walks through the construction inside his north Phoenix home as his wife, Challyn, holds their small baby. As he navigates around the exposed beams and torn-up floors and bathrooms, he recalls how the renovation was supposed to be finished by the holidays.
“Our goal was to have everything done by Thanksgiving to have Thanksgiving with our family here at the house,” McClure said.
Instead, he’s filing a $247,000 lawsuit against his contractor and says he has no hope that his torn-apart home will be put back together by then.
“All this is unfinished,” McClure said. “They just demoed everything.”
According to the lawsuit alleging fraud and breach of contract, the McClures hired Keith Korritky, who owns and operates American Contracting Enterprise, in early April. They found him on Angi and were quoted $180,000 for the project.
“He was a yes man. Anything that we wanted, he basically could do,” McClure recalled.
McClure paid $100,000 upfront to get the job started, but according to the lawsuit, it wasn’t enough. By the end of the month, Korritky asked for more money. The suit says at that point, no work had been done.
“In order to protect that hundred grand, I had to pay him almost an additional $50,000 just to start work,” McClure recalled.
In complaints filed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, McClure said Korritky ordered materials and started tearing up the home.
Then, he began acting strange.
“The next visit he came to our house, he was a totally different person. He actually had almost like a SWAT jacket on. He said that he has I think it's a self-diagnosed allergic problem to radiation,” McClure said.
McClure said he asked Korritky where the money was going, which prompted Korritky to send a stop-work order.
Korritky refused to comment on this story.
“He said because I was asking about where the money went. It's none of my business,” McClure said.
On May 9, the McClures convinced Korritky to continue the job, but the following day, they said Korritky quit the project.
McClure recalls calling the vendors who sold materials to Korritky, only to learn the orders had already been canceled.
“I immediately got on the phone with the vendors. He did not make it 15 minutes down the road, and he already called all those vendors and canceled our orders,” McClure said.
12News spoke to multiple vendors involved, who confirmed that Korritky requested the money back for the materials he had ordered for the McClure project.
However, the McClures never got the refund for those materials, according to the complaint and lawsuit. Korritky kept the cash.
Arizona Registrar of Contractors gets involved
The McClures filed a police report with Phoenix PD and a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
“Is that a common experience?” asked 12News reporter Bianca Buono. “Where contractors are keeping deposits and returning materials?”
“No,” said Jeff Fleetham, the director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.
Fleetham said he could not comment on the McClure case specifically, but in general, he said Arizona law limits what his agency could enforce, and the best way to protect yourself is a clear and specific contract.
“There's minimum standards, which may not be your standard, but minimum standards, the contract has to be met. And those things in there that if you want specific things done, then you need to make sure they're in your contract,” Fleetham said.
The ROC tossed the McClure case saying it was not something they could investigate because it was a financial dispute.
Contractor has history of complaints
Their complaint was not the first filed against Korritky with the ROC.
The I-Team obtained records showing Korritky has been the subject of ROC complaints for at least seven different jobs.
Records show he lost his contractor’s license after a botched job in 2009.
He did not get a new license until 2017, and two years later, complaints started coming. Records show these include allegations ranging from shoddy work to taking thousands of dollars without doing any work at all.
Some complaints were closed by the ROC.
“That doesn't limit either party from going through the civil process. Again, we're an administrative agency, but they can go through with the civil process if they choose,” Fleetham explained.
In at least two complaints against Korritky, the client pulled their own complaint.
In one woman’s case, records show she said she was concerned for her safety and feared retaliation.
12News spoke with another complainant who said he hired Korritky to do a full bathroom remodel. However, he said the fiberglass shower floor was flexing. He said Korritky never replied, so he filed a ROC complaint. He ultimately said he decided to pull his own complaint as he lives out of state for half the year, and it was not worth his time.
“They have to allow the contractor an opportunity to correct the deficiency. But if they don't feel safe, we're not a law enforcement agency and always recommend if somebody doesn't feel safe to always call the police,” Fleetham said.
One case is still open after another complaint was filed this year. The ROC gave Korritky time to fix mistakes in that case, but it didn’t happen.
One hearing to address the complaint was held in early October, and another is scheduled for December.
12News talked to Korritky on the phone for close to thirty minutes. He asked us to list out the questions we had for him, and after doing so, he said he would not answer any of them. Korritky pointed to the ROC’s dismissal of the complaint and called us offensive names and talked about conspiracy theories around the coronavirus and 5G.
He has not responded to McClure's lawsuit in court.
According to a spokesperson for Angi, Korritky is no longer a part of their network. They sent 12News the following statement:
"Mr. Korritky is no longer a part of our network. Every year we help millions of homeowners looking to find, hire and connect with pros for help with their home projects and only a very small percent of these connections result in any type of problem. If a problem does occur, we offer many ways people can reach out to our customer care team to get help, including through the web and by phone. When our care team is on the issue, we will continue to work with the consumer to seek a happy resolution. Additionally, if a homeowner books and pays with Angi directly, they are eligible for our happiness guarantee. We will continue to work with Ms. McClure on this issue."
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