3 On Your Side
3 On Your Side

'Most wanted' unlicensed contractor returns money

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(Source: 3TV) (Source: 3TV)

A San Tan homeowner says he's out of options and doesn't know what to do next.
Not only is he out of options, he's out a lot of money. That's because an unlicensed contractor took off with it.

Dave Hofman's kitchen is totally remodeled now, but getting it finished, he says, was stressful.

"We love it," he said. "It's great, and it's exactly what we wanted. It just would've been nice to just do it once."

Hofman said his the remodeling project started early last year when he hired a guy named Donald Libby, an unlicensed contractor.

"That's when I gave Donny a call, and that was in early March, and he came out and wonderful guy," Hofman said. "He seems really friendly, wants to be your best friend and he did the measurements and at that point, I gave him some checks."

Hofman said he gave Libby three separate checks totaling about $3,500, the full cost to update the kitchen counters and to put in a new sink.

"At the time, he said his son had just gotten out of the hospital, so we actually paid for the whole job up front to be helpful to him," Hofman said. 

But after handing over all that money, Hofman says Libby never came out to do any work.

"Just one excuse after another," he said.

After months of waiting, Hofman said he finally just asked for his money back.

Libby returned a small portion of the cash, but that was it.

"In August, he refunded me $800, but we're still out over $2,700, and he changes his number, says he moves, and he's not responsive," Hofman said.

Frustrated, Hofman went ahead and hired a new contractor, a licensed contractor, to finish his kitchen.   

"Got the granite and finished it in about a week and a half, so it looks great, but it would be nice to have our money back [from Libby]," Hofman said.
3 On Your Side got involved and discovered Libby has a habit of taking advantage of homeowners.

In fact, during our investigation, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors went ahead and put Libby on its list of Most Wanted Contractors.

"We've had multiple cases," Jeffery Fleetham, the agency's director, said. "There's three cases that we're currently working on, and we have several warrants that are out for his arrest as well." 

3 On Your Side managed to get Libby on the phone. We asked him why he walked off with Hofman's money and abandoned the remodeling project.

He didn't really have a good answer, but at our urging, he did make a decision.

He decided to return that $2,700. It's money Hofman says he would never have seen if it hadn't been for 3 On Your Side.

As for Libby, he still has arrest warrants out for taking money from other homeowners.

Fleetham said it's a common problem when people hire unlicensed contractors to do a job.

“We're going to take activity on it," he said. "We investigate them vigorously. We've increased our patrols; we're increasing activity on unlicensed activity, working with multiple authorities.”

When 3 On Your Side spoke with Libby again, he said he's trying to take care of those warrants and has hired an attorney.

In the meantime, he said he is trying to find another line of work.     

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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