LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Many Las Vegas homeowners are in a years-long battle after calling a plumber to fix a simple leak. It became the subject of a 13 Investigation after we uncovered dirty dealing by the contractor. He put liens on his customers' homes after abandoning the projects.
Now, another company who saw our coverage is stepping up to help a homeowner who'd lost hope that she'd ever be able to live in her house again.
"It's unlivable. You can't live in it. There's no way. There's no plumbing. There's no toilets. There's no water. There's nothing," Joanna Goodall said.
That was last September, when we first reported on her case.
In January of 2019, she called Rooter-Man Plumbing for a leaky shower, a fix originally estimated to cost $250. But that ballooned to more than $4,000 when a technician told Joanna there was a disconnected sewer pipe.
"About four hours later, he came in and he told me I had to vacate the house, that in the process they found a 10-foot sinkhole underneath the front of my house," Goodall said.
The new cost: $28,000
Another company, Bolmer Restoration, showed up to start the work. They told Joanna they found asbestos, so they had to tear out drywall — work she says she didn't authorize — and effectively demolished nearly every room in the house.
Both Rooter-Man and Bolmer Restoration are owned by the same man: Eduardo Arredondo. The Nevada State Contractors Board charged Arredondo with 109 violations, including "fraudulent or deceitful acts," "failure to comply with contract," "bidding beyond scope of license," and "abandonment."
The state found his companies guilty, revoked their licenses last October, and fined them nearly $1 million. It's portion of justice, but not much help to Goodall herself.
"Well, it's been three and a half years," she said.
Goodall was forced to move out of state, living with relatives while still making mortgage payments on her unlivable home.
"I mean, it still hurts if I stop to think about it," she said, "but I've managed to get through it. But basically, when it first started, for the first-year-and-a-half, I was devastated. I didn't know which way to turn. I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know how this could happen to anyone."
Plumber Michael Beebe couldn't understand it either.
"I thought of my mom," Beebe said.
Within hours of seeing our original report, he emailed 13 Investigates, saying he wanted to help.
"As contractors, we're constantly having to fight off battles like these," Beebe said. "These contractors that come in, you hear the nightmare stories. And unfortunately, we have to fight off that reputation. And there are a lot of good companies out here in Vegas. But it just, you know, messes it up for everybody."
His company, 702 Plumb-Air, is fixing Joanna's plumbing and installing faucets and vanities in her home, for free.
"First and foremost is getting her working toilets, and that's kind of what we're working on right now," Beebe said. "She doesn't have a working toilet in either one of these bathrooms."
"He's my hero," Goodall said of Beebe. "He is totally my hero right now."
Remember the supposed sinkhole Bolmer Restoration says they found under Joanna's house? We asked Beebe if he's ever seen such a problem in Las Vegas.
"Never once," he said. "I've never seen a sinkhole — period — here in Vegas. And we've cut open a whole bunch of slabs before."
Goodall says the experience left her with a sinking feeling.
"The whole system failed me. Nevada failed me," she said. "I would swear, at that time, I would never buy in Nevada again. I wanted to be rid of Nevada, but I couldn't because I was stuck here making payments on a house I couldn't live in."
Now, thanks to contractors like Michael Beebe, Goodall can finally start to move forward.
"I think I would have been overlooked entirely if it wasn't for Channel 13," she said.
Eduardo Arredondo didn't respond to a request for comment for this story. He filed for bankruptcy last spring.
The Contractors Board has a total of 15 filed claims for recovery funds related to Bolmer and Rooter-man. They've heard four cases so far, and each of those homeowners got at least some of their money back. Goodall wasn't one of them.
Find more in-depth reporting from 13 Investigates at ktnv.com/13-investigates.