St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 26, 2012 – A St. Louis County roofing company that has failed to complete jobs for St. Louis area consumers in recent weeks has ties to a Texas business accused of bilking thousands of dollars from Chicago-area homeowners, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns.
A Florissant woman who lost $4,100 to Griffin Roofing.
The leaky roof damaged the ceiling at the woman's home in Florissant.
The BBB says the local company, Griffin Roofing & Construction of Maryland Heights, is linked to at least a dozen other roofing locations in six states. All of the locations have connections to the same Texas family.
The BBB suspended the company’s St. Louis accreditation earlier this month after an investigation found a pattern of complaints against the business and confirmed its ties to Godfather Construction, a Texas-based firm sued in June 2011 by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Consumer Fraud Unit in Chicago. In a news release at that time, the state’s attorney’s office called Godfather Construction a “storm chaser” and said the business cheated several homeowners in the suburban Chicago communities of Niles, Park Ridge and Des Plaines.
"All of the homeowners believed they were hiring a reputable and experienced company to complete their repairs, but in reality, Godfather Construction would typically import unlicensed laborers from out of state to perform the work, which was often incomplete or shoddy,” the Cook County news release said. In addition to suing the company, Cook County also sued company officials Steven Anderson
and Freddie Miles
Both men also have been involved in the operation of Griffin Roofing & Construction in Maryland Heights. Miles is from Indiana. Anderson formerly lived in Texas, but now lives in St. Louis.
Michelle Corey, BBB president and CEO, said Anderson, Miles and others with Griffin Roofing began an extensive marketing campaign in the St. Louis area following the April 28 hailstorm here.
“It also appears that Anderson tried to hide the connections between Godfather and Griffin by listing the names of other family members as principals with Griffin,” Corey said. “This business already has caused extensive disruption to people’s lives and continues to do so.”
Corey said the accreditation was suspended for “engaging in activities reflecting poorly on the BBB or its members.”
Among the St. Louis area complainants is an 83-year-old woman from Florissant, Mo., who paid Griffin $4,100 in August to have her roof replaced. After the work was completed, the woman began noticing serious water leaks in the ceiling. Despite promises from the company, repairs were not done. She said that the damage continues to worsen.
In addition to Maryland Heights, Griffin Roofing & Construction has or has had locations in Brentwood, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. Godfather Construction has or has had locations in Chicago; Springfield, Mo.; Cedar Hill, Tex.; and Flower Mound, Tex. Quality Texas Roofing
has had offices in Dallas, Tex. Portrait Roofing & Construction
has or has had offices in Allen, Tex.; Houston, Tex.; Lexington, Ky.; and Indianapolis, Ind.
Each of the various company locations has reported Steven Anderson; his mother, Glenda Delacerda
, or his wife, Lauren McKinney Anderson
, as an official or contact person.
Portrait Roofing & Construction in Allen, Tex., which is no longer in business, is the focus of 14 BBB complaints, most involving poor or incomplete work in 2008 or 2009 in Texas, Kentucky and Indiana. One complaint involved a $94,000 payment for roofing work at a condominium complex in Kemah, Tex., that was damaged by Hurricane Ike. The repaired roof continued to leak when the work remained uncompleted, the customer told the BBB. The Portrait Roofing location lists Steven Anderson and Lauren Anderson as managing members.
The Florissant woman said a former employee of Griffin told her that workers had cut holes in her new roof after Griffin failed to pay them for the job.
Another consumer, also from Florissant, said Griffin deposited his $1,300 roofing insurance check into the company’s account on July 27, even though he never agreed to a contract with the firm and no work has ever been done.
A contractor from Addison, Tex., told the BBB that Quality Texas Roofing in Dallas and Griffin Roofing & Contracting in St. Louis owe him $30,000 for subcontracting work on 16 roofing jobs this year in those areas. “I don’t believe anything that company says,” the man said.
Courtney South, who identified herself as director of public relations for Griffin Roofing, said Steven Anderson, Lauren Anderson and Freddie Miles are no longer involved with the company. She identified the owner as Glenda Delacerda and the new local manager as Denis Mikhlin.
The company has not responded to additional questions from the BBB.
Matt Delacerda, Steven Anderson’s half brother and former production manager at Griffin Roofing in Maryland Heights, called the situation in the St. Louis area “a mess.
“All the accusations are true,” he said. “There are a lot of people who have been hurt. This needs to be stopped.”
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.
Editor's Note: After this news release was issued, Courtney South said in an email to the BBB that she had been informed erroneously that Denis Mikhlin was a manager for Griffing Roofing. South and Mikhlin said that Mikhlin was director of marketing for the company.
Contacts (News Media Only): Michelle Corey, President & CEO, 314-645-0606, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, 314-584-6743, email@example.com, or Bill Smith, Trade Practice Investigator, 314-584-6727, firstname.lastname@example.org