By Talia Kaplan
Maryland Heights, MO (KSDK)- A 5 on your Side warning about a St. Louis County roofing company. It's accused of failing to complete jobs in our area and it appears to have ties to a business sued in Illinois last year.
Jaenette Henderson, 83, has wet spots in her Florissant home because her ceiling is leaking. Henderson says she hired Griffin Roofing and Construction in July to fix her roof after it hailed a few months earlier. She says weeks after a sub-contractor hired by Griffin came to fix her roof, she noticed the roof was ruined again.
"When we went up there we found out my roof was chopped up. I mean chopped. I called the guy and he wouldn't answer me," said Henderson.
She says finally someone from Griffin called her back and promised to fix her roof again, but it is still damaged.
"I feel let down," said Henderson.
A similar situation happened to Phillip Powell of Collinsville. In August he hired the Maryland Heights company, Griffin Roofing and Construction, to fix hail damage on his roof. He says they came and fixed it but, a week later the roof was in worse shape than it was originally.
"I got a ladder and I climbed up to the top and on top of the chimney it said 'pay your guys,' that was the first thing I noticed," said Powell.
Several Griffin Roofing and Construction employees and sub-contractors NewsChannel5 spoke with claim they are owed money by the company.
"The BBB has received nine complaints most from consumers, some from subcontractors," said Bill Smith, an investigator with the Better Business Bureau.
He says that doesn't include all of the complaints that have been filed against other companies, with other names, in other states. Those complaints tie two men now associated with Griffin Roofing and Construction, Steve Anderson and Freddie Miles, to a bigger case.
"We do know that Steve Anderson and Freddie Miles had an extensive work history in Chicago where they ran into some serious problems with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office there," said Smith.
The BBB says Griffin Roofing and Construction has ties to "Godfather Construction." It's a Texas-based firm sued last year by the Cook County State's Attorney's Consumer Fraud Unit after they allegedly bilked thousands of dollars from Chicago-area homeowners. Cook County also sued Anderson and Miles.
"It does appear that Mr. Anderson may have tried to hide his involvement with the company. It is interesting to us that at least initially he put his wife as head of the company (Griffin Roofing and Construction) and since then it appears he has put his mother as head of the company," said Smith.
When NewsChannel5 went to Griffin Roofing and Construction the door was locked even though on the company's website it says they are open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
NewsChannel 5's calls to the company were not returned.
"I hope they come through and do what they are supposed to do," said Henderson.
The Better Business Bureau suspended Griffin Roofing and Construction's accreditation about two weeks ago when it started to get complaints. The company has an opportunity to have a hearing on this issue.
The BBB offers the following advice for consumers dealing with roofers or other contractors:
• Beware of possible scams. Watch out for contractors in unmarked trucks or for companies requiring advance payment. Don't succumb to high-pressure techniques, such as notices that the price is good for one day only.
• Try to verify the business' true identity. Get a business card and a physical location of the company. It is always better to deal with well-established businesses.
• Ask for references. Make sure the company that wants your business has satisfied other customers.
• Make sure you get a written contract in advance of approving any work. Read it thoroughly and make sure you understand everything before signing it.
• Be sure the contract includes a start date and a completion date for the work to be performed.
• Do not be coerced into paying for work that you did not approve. If you feel pressured or if a contractor will not leave your home when asked, contact police.
• Do not pay the full amount in advance of the work being completed. A good rule of thumb is to pay one-third when the contract is signed, another third while the job is underway and the final third when you are satisfied with the completed job.
• Check a company's BBB Business Review by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.