FORT MYERS, Fla. - WINK News viewers asked for our help, saying they were ripped-off and left paying for air conditioning work they didn't need. After more than a year of targeting and chasing the AC company, we sit down with the owner, for answers.
The accusations against air conditioning company Service Star were serious: ripping off the elderly by selling them air conditioning work they didn't need and violating the state's Do Not Call list multiple times.
We tried to get the owner Salvatore Tavolacci to talk to us when his company was being kicked out of Charlotte County. He's never said anything about all the troubles, until now.
When we sat down and asked Tavolacci if he was still in the AC business, he said, "Listen to me, I am glad to be out of the AC business. OK? I've had nothing but heartache. I've lost a lot of things in my life because of that business."
Salvatore Tavolacci told us that Service Star, the company that brought him and some of his customers heartache, is no more. He blames it on going into business with the wrong crowd.
"My employees, they stole, they robbed, from me OK-- and then they went ahead and sold my customer database," he told us.
We asked him about getting kicked out of Charlotte County and about being investigated by the state's Attorney General's Office.
"Well, I would say most of the people talking about it-- have active investigations are looking into other things. They're not looking into me. They're looking into some of the other parties. That's all I can comment on that. You'll find out in the future," Sal explained.
So what about his future in the AC business? Tavolacci says he's out, but our investigation revealed though Service Star is no more, two more air conditioning companies have opened since under Tavolacci's name.
The first, Air Experts, was sold and is now run by Antonio Miralles and his brother Richard Miralles out of the same building where Tavolacci now works.
The Second, Expert Air Services, Inc. was started under his wife's name.
"That's not-- she's-- We're out of the business. That will never go anywhere," said Sal.
We told you Thursday that state investigators with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services arrested Antonio Miralles for operating a telemarketing room for his air conditioning company without a license, which is a third degree felony in Florida.
Tavolacci says investigators only came knocking because he shares the same building as Miralles. He says Miralles is on the up-and-up and that investigators are in the wrong.
"Listen to me, listen to me. These people [state investigators] are supposed to be professions, OK? They are supposed to do research, OK? I'm not supposed to do their jobs for them, OK? They're supposed to do their job for themselves. But they can't do that accurately. Maybe they shouldn't be in their positions. What do you think?" questioned Tavolacci.
"I think you're trying to blame other people," replied WINK News Call for Action reporter Ryan Kruger.
"Listen to me," responded Tavolacci. "If you're trying to turn this around and blame other people, OK? You go along and think what you want. OK? You might think I'm crazy, because I'm trying to tell everyone what is really going on? But you'll see for yourself, OK? This isn't over OK? Trust me."
Tavolacci says now he's only in the repo business. It's his father's repo business because as a convicted felon, Tavolacci can't get a repo license.