SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Contractors in Northwest Florida are under fire for taking money for projects and not completing them. Mitchem Construction, a Pensacola concrete contractor, is the latest in a series of contractors called by victims who say they paid thousands of dollars and saw no work.
WKRG News 5 reported on three other contractors, Banks Construction, LaCoste Construction and Schofield’s Home Services. Matthew Banks of Banks Construction was arrested back in early August. Marshall Lee Schofield of Schofield’s Home Services was arrested on August 11.
In December 2021, Sherian and Gary Good of Pace and Russell O’Dell of Milton had contracts with Mitchem Construction to complete concrete work. To date, no contractual works have been completed. Good paid $7,590 per contract and O’Dell paid $1,700 for a contract to widen his driveway.
For the Goods they were billed more than the full amount of the contract agreement, amounting to a total of $8,430, allegedly ignoring the military discount he was supposed to give Goode.
At this point, both parties have requested a chargeback from their credit card companies, and when O’Dell requested a chargeback from USAA, he said he received a same-day work schedule as his request from Mitchem Construction.
The Goods have since been required by their Home Owners Association to fix their driveway, which Mitchem Construction claims it botched to stop them being fined. This cost them another $9,000 in expenses.
On July 18, 2022, Gary Good emailed his HOA that they needed to hire another contractor to finish the driveway.
“I can’t believe anything Mitchum Construction is telling us,” Good wrote in the email. “If anyone mentions hiring a contractor for cement work, please tell them that this contractor is not reliable. He still hasn’t refunded us. We are taking legal action to see what options we have. I spoke with the sheriff’s office. We have had others come to us and say this contractor did the same thing to them. A disabled veteran called us and said he paid the contractor in December and now he’s in the same situation as us.”
On February 1, 2022, Goods sent an email to Michael Mitchum expressing his concerns.
“I am writing to you today to clarify the situation regarding the repair of our driveway,” Goode wrote in the email. “When we hired you to do the work on our driveway, we were under the impression that the driveway would be completed on time without causing disruption to our neighbors and ourselves.”
We understand that there are things that happen, such as COVID infections and unforeseen circumstances, that can delay projects. We share empathy and a sincere understanding of situations that can unexpectedly delay a project.
Unfortunately, our communication is distorted by unfulfilled expectations and promises. Our driveway has been broken up for over four weeks. Several times we were under the impression that a team was planned to appear to help the project progress. To our dismay, the only progress we experienced with our driveway repair was when the crew showed up to tear up the concrete.
Not to mention the misunderstanding that my credit card was charged twice by your company in the amount of $4216.80. Although this letter is not meant as a complaint, but rather to be transparent with how we feel and to hopefully commit to a proper timeline for completing our driveway.
WKRG News 5 reached out to Sherian Good and Addie Frahm, Good’s neighbor, to talk about their situation with Mitchem Construction.
Cherian Good said her credit card was charged once for a 25 percent down payment on $4,216.80 and then charged again for the same amount without authorization.
“He said it was a mistake and that he would refund her, but he never did,” Frahm said.
Cherian Goode said Mitchum would send a crew here and there, but they would never get the job done.
“They stay for about 10 minutes and then suddenly disappear,” Goode said.
Eight months later, after no work was done and the HOA served notices, Cherian Good said she had to hire another contractor. Frahm said they have hired another contractor to pick up other victims’ projects where Mitchum left off.
Taking matters into their own hands, Goodes and Frahm went to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office to file a complaint.
“They said there was nothing they could do,” Frahm said. “They said that once the contractor had put down the first sod, there was nothing they could do. They need to do something, Mitchum is charging credit cards illegally. He was to take 25 percent. He took half the money and billed it twice and did no work at all.
Frahm said he believes what Mitchem did to Goods was a crime against the elderly, Sherian Good being 79 years old.
“What he’s doing takes on a different color of fraud,” Frahm said.
Mitchem currently has 12 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau, all saying people paid him money for projects that were never completed.
Allegro Homes LLC filed a lawsuit against Mitchem Construction in Escambia County Circuit Court. The lawsuit says the damages exceed $30,000.
On July 28, 2021, Allegro Homes contracted with Mitchem Construction to construct a foundation and footer for a property at 5490 Cruzat Way, in Pensacola. Under the contract, Allegro Homes was required to pay an initial deposit of $8,391.36. The total contract price was $33,565.44. According to the lawsuit, Mitchem Construction failed to provide any work or materials for the project over the next week, despite repeated requests from Allegro Homes.
After receiving the deposit and promising to perform services, according to the lawsuit, Mitchem Construction required an additional deposit of $8,391.36 before work could begin. Allegro Homes paid the second deposit for a total of $16,782, but said Mitchem Construction did not provide any work that met project specifications or industry standards.
“Doesn’t it bother anybody that this guy gets up in the morning, goes out and knocks on doors, takes people’s money and just doesn’t do the job?” Frahm said. “I mean, anyone can be a victim.”
Sherian Good advises people to make sure they know who they are hiring before hiring a contractor.
“Never, ever, ever look at Mitchem Construction,” Goode said. “Do due diligence on everyone you come into contact with.”
Mitchem did not respond to WKRG News 5’s request for comment.
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