(FOX 9) - Two Woodbury families are out of a lot of money after they say they hired the same local contractor to work on their homes, and he stopped showing up after being paid.
On April 6, Kristi and Josh Parah hired Troy Robinson’s Absolute Roofing and Remodeling for a five-week makeover of their master bathroom. But months later, the job is still not done.
"There’s nights when I’m just like I’m going to close the bathroom door and I’m not going to look, because I don’t want to deal with it," Kristi told FOX 9.
The couple paid $11,000 in two installments, but after cashing the checks, Robinson allegedly stopped showing up to their Woodbury home.
"When he got that second payment, it is my belief that he had all intentions to not finish the project," Josh said. "At that point he got paid most of the project, and he took off, and I’ve never heard back from him ever again. I’ve tried to call him, I’ve tried to text him, I’ve tried emailing him."
Now the Parahs have hired a new contractor to finish the work, and they’ll end up paying twice for one job; a total close to $25,000. They are not the only ones.
"It was almost like a Ponzi scheme, taking money from the next guy to pay the last one," Jessica Faghihi said. Her family paid Robinson about $25,000 on a three-month $50,000 home renovation in 2020. They say he vanished less than one month into the job.
"He just said he was under a lot of stress, he had a lot of jobs going," Faghihi said.
They would also learn his subcontractors had not been paid, "Oh, it was so much stress on us," Faghihi remembered.
After paying the subcontractors again, they say they ended up spending $70,000 to $80,000 for a $50,000 project.
"He should be in jail," Faghihi said. "He is knowingly going into these contracts knowing he’s going to steal this money."
But Robinson denied that, "None of it was on purpose," he told FOX 9. "I mean, come on, it’s something that happened, that went bad, and it wasn’t repairable at the time. I mean I don’t have a big chunk of change."
In part, Robinson blames the loss of his wife’s job during the pandemic for derailing the Faghihi project.
"I had to make a decision of who I was going to make mad basically… when this happens I’ve got to figure out, OK, am I going to make one person mad or am I going to make three people mad?" Robinson said. "I couldn’t keep them all going, I couldn’t keep everything going. So I knew at some point I was going to make someone upset, and I made the wrong person upset is what I did."
More recently, Robinson says an employee stole $20,000 from him, throwing off the Parah project.
"I’m sympathetic if that really happened, I’m sorry. But it just did not add up to me," Josh Parah responded. The Parahs have sued Robinson, and their first court appearance was on August 18.
In 2021, a lawsuit filed by the Faghihis resulted in a $24,000 judgement against Robinson.
To avoid finding yourself in a similar situation, experts recommend you do your research before hiring a contractor. That means to check the contractor’s references, and look for reviews with the Better Business Bureau. Also, make sure they’re licensed and insured, and check if they have a history of being sued.
Finally, if possible, arrange to pay the bulk of the payment after the work is completed.