Homeowner out $30K for a new roof after company closes; how he might recover half

One year after WINK’s first interview with Tom Chalut of Bonita Springs, he sits in the same spot with the same problem.

“I’m stuck with the big bills and no money,” Chalut said.

He hired Campbell Roofing and Sheet Metal of Cape Coral in 2018 to re-roof his home after Hurricane Irma. The company, now out of business, took just over $30,000 and never did any work.

A WINK News investigation last year found Joshua Campbell is accused by clients of taking hundreds of thousands of dollars, never delivering a finished roof.

“I ended up taking out a 401(k) loan to pay a different company to do my roof because the roof still needed fixing,” Chalut said.

Chalut says he could really use $15,000, which is the maximum payout if he’s approved for money from Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund.

But to apply, he either needs a court judgment or a final order from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation awarding restitution.

What is a Final Order?

After a complaint is filed with the DBPR, or the state licensing board, it goes through a process. Chalut’s waited nearly a year for a hearing and any sort of action from the DBPR.

“I can’t do anything without this final order from the DBPR,” Chalut said, “I’m very frustrated it’s taking a long time I’m not sure why.”

Adding to the confusion and frustration, Joshua Campbell willingly forfeited his license last October helping to finalize more than 30 other complaints.

If Chalut receives the final order he expects, he will start a separate application for the homeowner’s recovery fund.

The DBPR said Chalut’s complaint will be heard in mid-October.

Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund

The recovery fund is a last-ditch effort for people to recover money from a deal gone wrong with a licensed contractor. The home must be a primary residence, and the owner contracting for the improvement must reside, or will reside, 6 months or more each calendar year upon completion of the improvement.

In addition to needing a final order or court judgment awarding restitution, consumers must submit an asset search with the application.

Two former Campbell clients have been approved for $15,000 each from the fund.

The Office of the Attorney General is still investigating Campbell, who has, in the past, told us he blames his troubles on employees who stole from him. Campbell did not provide an updated comment.

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