Local couple says contractor took their $15,000 down payment, did no physical work

A Pasco County couple paid a local contractor a $15,000 down payment to build out their boutique gym called F45 Training in Lutz.  Edward and Jennie Demas say their gym should be open by now, but the contractor they hired did none of the work promised and is refusing to give a refund. 

He says it should have been a 90-day build-out of F45 Fitness that he contracted out to Charles Bean, owner of Premier Remodeling and Restoration LLC.

“I was referred to him by a friend and reached out to him for a quote and he sounded very knowledgeable and knew what he was doing,” said Demas. “We paid the first deposit on September 1 of [$5,000].”

After more plans were discussed, a second payment of $10,000 was made October 2, 2017.  That payment completed the 15 percent down payment on the $95,000 job. Demas, a roofing contractor himself, admits his one mistake was not doing his own research on Bean and his company.

"I wrote him his first warning letter in the middle of November. ‘What is taking so long?’ There is no way we are going to meet the December deadline because we don’t even have a permit applied for," said Demas.

ABC Action News asked Bean about the claims the Demas’ made.

“I’ve been doing this for 28 years so I know how long it takes to do this job,” said Bean. “I know how to get it done and I know how to get it done fast.”

He said Demas pulled the plug on the job in mid-December.

"We never even set a date until we get into the controversy on how long it’s taking to get the plans done. Now that’s a bonafide complaint on his part," said Bean.

As for a full refund? Bean said that’s not happening. He said he paid $5,000 for the gym plans alone. When we asked to see proof of that, he refused to show us receipts.

The gym owner’s biggest complaint is that a permit was never applied for after three months of waiting. Demas said that’s why he pulled the contract with Bean in the end.  Florida law states a contractor who receives an initial payment of more than 10 percent of the contract price, must apply for a permit within 30 days of the payment. 

We asked Bean about the delay in applying for a permit:

"That’s the state's jurisdiction. If I violated something that has to do with my license then that’s their jurisdiction," said Bean.

We also found Bean is not registered as a contractor in Pasco County, meaning he should not have been doing work there in the first place. He says he would have taken care of that during the permitting process.

As of this report, Demas and Bean have not come to an agreement on a refund.

If you want to check on a contractor’s standing with the state, you can visit myfloridalicense.com. You can also file a formal complaint on that same site.

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