3OYS Update: Unlicensed landscaper vanishes with $13K

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By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

Kim Youngerman and her husband are Cave Creek residents who say they were recently ripped off by an unlicensed contractor named John Blaney.

Frustrated, they confronted Blaney and captured it all on cell phone video.

“We gave you $13,000," Youngerman told him.

“I’m a human being,” Blaney responded.

“But, we paid you $13,000!” Youngerman said.

Blaney can't seem to stay out of trouble. The Youngermans told 3 On Your Side that they hired John Blaney back in January after falling for his sales pitch.

Youngerman claims Blaney told her, "‘I haven't worked in a long time and if you just give me a chance, I'll do great work for you. I'll work like a dog from sun up until sun down." 

She goes on to say that Blaney was supposed to put in landscaping in the backyard of her new Cave Creek home. At a total cost of $17,000, the project was pricey, but Youngerman said Blaney came off as a nice guy.

"We were willing to give him a chance,” she told 3 On Your Side.

Youngerman said she handed over $2,500 to get the job started. Blaney soon wanted more, so Youngerman gave him another $2,000, then another $1,000, then another $2,000.

Before she knew it, Youngerman said she gave John Blaney a whopping $13,000 -- almost the entire project.

So, exactly what has Blaney done for $13,000? Not much. Youngerman said he put in some small plants and dug some shallow trenches. That's about it.

Getting suspicious, Youngerman decided to look into Blaney's past. She said she went to the Internet and typed in Blaney's name.

"The first thing I saw was the 3 On Your Side story that you did,” Youngerman told Harper. “When I watched it, I literally got sick to my stomach." 

In a report from last summer, an Anthem couple told 3 On Your Side how Blaney took $10,000 to landscape their backyard. He vanished with their money without doing anything.

Sound familiar? Youngerman recalled a similar confrontation with Blaney.

Youngerman said she asked him, "‘I just want to know, are you scamming us? Are you scamming us? I mean you're taking our money and you're running away with it.'" She said Blaney responded, "'No, no. I wouldn't do that.'" 

3 On Your Side looked into Blaney's background and discovered he had been renting out a Moon Valley home.

However, the landlord told 3 On Your Side that she had just kicked him out.

No one seems to know where Blaney is, and he failed to return 3 On Your Side's phone calls. However, he did show up unannounced recently at Youngerman’s house. Blaney attempted to collect some of those landscaping tools that he doesn't quite know how to use and that's when the Youngermans caught their confrontation on camera.

“We paid you for all the materials," the Youngermans told Blaney. We paid you $13,000.”

“You have,” Blaney responded. “That’s right.”

“So I want the materials here, right in this space tomorrow by 5 p.m,” Youngerman said.

Blaney never did drop off materials or do any work. Youngerman told Gary Harper that she remains angry, disgusted and frustrated. 

"You want to believe that somebody has some shred of decency, but I do not believe that John Blaney has a shred of decency,” Youngerman said.

Blaney's whereabouts are unknown, but the Arizona Registrar of Contractors confirmed that they are aware of Blaney and are investigating numerous complaints against him.

3 On Your Side cautions viewers to always confirm that contractors are licensed with the state before handing over any money. When the Arizona Registrar of Contractors concludes their investigation against Blaney, 3 On Your Side will air a follow-up.