BELLEVUE (KDKA) – When Heather Dugan bought her house in Bellevue, the home inspector said her roof wouldn’t last.
She hired an outfit called Better Choice Roofing, which she said turned out to be the worst choice she could have made.
“They made my house leak is what they did, because it never leaked before,” Dugan said.
Water began leaking from the ceiling and through the walls. However, after taking a deposit of more than $3,000, Better Choice’s owner, Gary Mitchell, and crew never returned.
At district court, Dugan, won a judgment of more than $12,000 against Mitchell for breach of contract and damage to her house.
However, Mitchell hasn’t paid it and now is nowhere to be found. KD Investigator Andy Sheehan found out that Dugan is not alone.
Mitchell used to operate under the name Accurate Roofing.
Betty Gehring gave Mitchell a down payment of more than $3,000 to fix her roof, but grew suspicious when he told her the job would cost more than the original estimate.
When she tried to cancel the job, he never returned and has ignored a court order to pay her back.
“I’d like to tell him that he owes me the money and if has any sense of right and wrong, he would pay it. But, I don’t think he does,” Gehring said.
There are other unpaid judgments against Mitchell and Accurate Roofing as well. One is for $7,200 for taking a deposit and never doing the work. However, the courts can’t seem to find him.
For a time, Mitchell lived in Pleasant Hills and listed the residence as the business address for Accurate Roofing. He continues to list it as the business address for Better Choice Roofing.
He has since moved on and the woman who now lives at the home said she’s tired of sheriff’s deputies knocking at the door trying to serve him papers.
Sheehan called Mitchell, but he refused to meet in person. Dugan arranged for a friend to call Mitchell for a prospective job so she could confront him.
Sheehan and Dugan staked out the scene until a man named Mike showed up.
Dugan: Gary Mitchell has done my roof.
Mike: I’m not Gary Mitchell.
Dugan: Better Choice Roofing has done my roof and owes me $12,000. I have a civil suit.
Mike: Well, go ahead and pick it up with him.
Mike first said he was with Better Choice Roofing, but then said he was with a company called Take On Roofing and was a subcontractor working for Mitchell.
Sheehan: What company is it now ?
Dugan: It was Better Choice Roofing
Sheehan: Do you own Accurate Roofing ?
Mike: I’ll see you guys.
Sheehan: Do you owe this woman ?
Dugan: Am I ever going to get paid for my roof ?
Mike: No. I ripped you guys off.
Dugan: Of course, and you’re never going to show at the hearing, and I’m never going to get paid for my roof.
Mike: Nope. Probably not.
Dugan: You screw everyone.
Mike: We screw everyone and we’re happy to do it. God bless America.
As Mike got in his truck and drove off, Dugan shouted, “Don’t ever go to Better Choice Roofing. That’s what you get for hiring someone out of the phonebook.”
Mitchell remains elusive, but after Sheehan made inquiries, the State Attorney General has launched its own investigation.
In the meantime, the Attorney General urges all consumers to determine whether a contractor is registered and to check references.