LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A flurry of action after 13 Investigates exposed a local contractor who was quick to take legal action against his own customers - sometimes leaving them in fear of losing their home.
There are key updates in this 18-month investigation including, possibly, the worst new cases we've seen.
Darcy Spears: "Joanna, you're essentially a visitor in your own home at this point. Why?"
Joanna Goodall: "It's... 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, 71, moved to Las Vegas to live out her retirement years.
"I put all my savings into this home," Goodall said. "I'm retired. I'm a senior living on a limited income and I no longer have a home and they've put a lien on it. I don't know if I'll ever be able to keep the home."
You can hear the devastation in Goodall's voice. And you can see it by comparing her house now to photos from before she called a repairman to fix her leaky shower. A fix originally costing $250 by Rooter-Man plumbing.
That cost ballooned to $4,200 when a technician said there was a disconnected sewer pipe involved. Then things got even more expensive.
"About four hours later, he came in and he told me I had to vacate the house, that in the process they found a ten-foot sinkhole underneath the front of my house," Goodall explains.
New cost: $28,000. Another company, Bolmer Restoration, showed up.
They never showed her the sinkhole, but began covering walls and vents with plastic sheeting, assuring her everything would be fixed in just a few days. No such luck.
Spears: "When was the last time you slept in this house?"
Goodall: "January 20...January 23rd, I think, 2019."
The tile on the kitchen walls compared to what's below shows just how far things went: from a newly remodeled home that included marble floors and granite kitchen countertops and other top-of-the-line materials, to complete destruction in the space of just four days.
"And in the process to get started, they took out two credit cards, actually three credit cards in my name, two with Fortiva and one with Synchrony Bank totaling $70,000," says Goodall.
That destroyed her credit. Then, she says they destroyed her home. Even tearing up her walls, claiming they'd found asbestos and that Nevada law required them to remove on sight. She says they did work without her consent, then took legal action to collect the massive bill.
"They want $188,000," says Goodall.
That includes a lien they filed on her property for $68,235.43.
The Clark County Recorders Officer recently launched the Recording Notification Service (RNS) where homeowners can sign up to receive an email alert whenever a document is recorded on their property.
Goodall filed a complaint with the Nevada State Contractors Board. But the Board said Bolmer didn't do anything wrong - case closed.
13 Investigates got involved. And the Board took another look at the complaints filed by other homeowners, including one from our previous reports.
Paul Rozario is Director of Investigations for the Contractors Board.
"We decided to say, 'Let's take a second look at everything that was filed against the contractor," Rozario said. "And see if we have any violation of potential fraud, you know, fraudulent or deceitful acts that are covered under NRS 624."
Rozario is talking about Nevada Revised Statute, the state law dealing with contractors. He says NRS 624 limits the authority of the Contractors Board.
Effective April 15, the Board suspended Eduardo Arredondo's licenses. Arredondo is a former UNLV soccer player who owns Rooter-Man plumbing. Remember, they're the first ones who checked the leak. He also owns Bolmer Restoration the company with the massive lien against Joanna.
Rozario says Arredondo has yet to be found guilty.
But the Board filed 109 allegations against Arredondo's company involving 17 homeowner complaints. Rooter-Man and Bolmer are accused of "fraudulent or deceitful acts", "failure to comply with contract", "bidding beyond scope of license" and "abandonment" to name a few of the allegations.
Rozario says the Board focused on contract issues we highlighted in our investigation.
"The ones [contracts] that we identified as being problematic for the Board, in violation of the statute, where our contention is that they were fraud and they were fraudulently prepared by the contractor," Rozario explains.
13 Investigates combed through more than 3,000 pages of documents obtained from the Contractors Board. State investigators found the contracts lack detail and that homeowner signatures obtained on a tablet were "auto-populated" on several pages.
"These homeowners never signed these property service contracts with Bolmer," says Rozario. "That they were a cut-and-paste job by Rooter-Man off of their contract to do the initial work. And they put them on the service contract and all of a sudden everything's being done."
The case should come before the Board in October.
That's little comfort for Goodall. Her life is still in turmoil. She can't sell the house because of the lien.
"It would cost me about $190,000 to put it back together," Goodall says.
Putting her life back together, that's in limbo too.
"I'm no longer independent," she says. "I'm relying on a 33-year-old granddaughter to support me because my money goes to paying for a house that I cannot live in."
Eduardo Arredondo did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Adding insult to injury for homeowners like Goodall, Arredondo filed bankruptcy under his parent company Cat Detailing blaming the pandemic for his company's demise. But his legal troubles are only just beginning. The Board of Contractors told us they are re-evaluating Goodall's case.
As our investigation continues, we'll tell you about a class-action lawsuit and expose a possible conflict of interest with the Contractors Board.