AJ Giardina Investigates Heron Bay Homeowners' Contractor Complaints

HANCOCK COUNTY (WLOX) -- Some homeowners in Hancock County's Heron Bay area felt secure in hiring one of their neighbors to rebuild their homes. But months after the checks were cashed, homeowners were still waiting for work to be finished, and complaining about the quality of what was done.

David Cunningham and Tracey Gremillion are just two of the homeowners who called WLOX Action Reporter AJ Giardina with complaints about Hancock County contractor Kevin LaFountaine.

"It just makes you sick," Gremillion said of the work done on her home.

"He was suppose to do a turnkey job on my house," David Cunningham said. "He had $48,000 of my money and the only thing that I had was the shell and the staircase."

Cunningham says he bought the materials and paid LaFontaine for the labor. Dwayne Applewhite says he had the same arrangement with LaFountaine, and ended up with the same outcome - a job that was never finished.

"I can't even finish the inside of my house now because of all the extra work that I had paid him, other people to do what he was suppose to have done," Applewhite said.

The foundation Johnny and Margie King paid Kevin LaFontaine to pour has chips in the cement and exposed rebar. The foundation failed an inspection by Hancock County building officials.

Each of these homeowners say when they hired Kevin LaFountaine, he told them he was a licensed contractor. So WLOX News contacted Kevin LaFontaine on his cell phone and asked him about the license.

"Do you have a state license to do business here in the state?" reporter AJ Giardina asked.

"No sir, I didn't at the time. The homeowners pulled their own permit," LaFontaine replied.

"They pulled their own permit? Do you have a state license now to do business in Mississippi?" AJ asked.

"No sir, I was working under another contractor, but I don't have his license," LaFontaine said.

Though not licensed when he did this work, LaFontaine says he's now in the process of getting his Mississippi contractor's license.

When AJ questioned LaFontaine about the problems Tracey Gremillion pointed out at her house, he said he wasn't aware of any problems.

"Calling him everyday, nobody shows up. You get stories that don't really work out. Workers that weren't qualified," Gremillion said. "The X-bracing on the house is insufficient and we're having it replaced with new wood, bigger and new and bolted instead of nailed. The nails that they used on the exterior are rusting out. They didn't use galvanized."

LaFontaine said, "I mean, if there is something wrong, I'll be glad to fix it. No problem."

Gremillion says thanks, but no thanks.

"I would love to have the money to redo my house, but I don't think he's got it," Gremillion said. "This was worse then losing the house - building it with him."

Tracey Gremillion has met with officials from the State Attorney General's office and the State Board of Contractors, while other homeowners have filed complaints with the Hancock County Sheriff's office.