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Contractor says he fell on hard times, couldn't refund money for remodel

They paid money for work that was not done
Posted: 6:25 PM, Aug 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-15 06:34:33Z

The Espaillat family says they paid $15,000 of the $20,000 contract upfront to remodel their kitchen.

Laura Espaillat claims Upscale Kitchen and Bath stopped work on her Lutz home after a week. Stephen and Regina Toller say they too lost money to the same company.

Documents show the Tollers paid $11,000 of their $22,000 contract but no work was ever done on their kitchen. Monday the owner, Royce Amsden, refunded the couple’s money in the form of two checks.  Turns out the checks were worthless and one of them bounced.

Royce Amsden turned down our request for an on-camera interview.  But after our calls, he went back to work on the Espaillats' home and installed cabinets. Amsden also gave the Tollers a $500 cashier’s check. He still owes them $10,500.

Six Upscale Kitchen and Bath customers have contacted us regarding monies paid and unfinished work. Amsden told us his business fell onto hard times and he had to shut the doors.

In at least two cases we confirmed that he had another company take over the contracts to complete some of the work. In an email, Amsden told us: “I haven’t had a paycheck in 6 months. I have spent every dollar I have and maxed every credit card I have to keep this thing afloat. This contractor taking over is the only way to get these contracts fulfilled."

Several families say they are still waiting. Meanwhile, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is looking into at least one of the cases.