Phoenix homeowner says fake contractor did poor work, walked away with $3K

A Phoenix man says he paid Mi Padre Landscaping $3,000 to do several modifications, including widening his gate entrance.
Updated: Jul. 12, 2022 at 5:45 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Mohan Deb loves the outdoors, but getting his kayak in and out of his backyard can be tricky. “Is it heavy?” On Your Side’s Gary Harper asked. “Not really heavy,” Mohan replied as he tried to lift the kayak. “But if I get too close to the poolside, I will fall in.”

To make things easier to get his kayak off and onto the property, Mohan says he wanted several modifications done, including widening his gate entrance. So, Mohan paid $3,000 to a company to do the work. For that money, Mohan says the company would remove a portion of a block wall and install pavers and wider RV-type gates on both sides of his home. “What was the name of the company you hired?” Harper asked. Mohan replied, “Mi Padre Landscaping.”

Mi Padre Landscaping is run by Escadon Candelario. He’s a fake contractor who goes by the nickname, Lalo. And according to Mohan, Lalo’s workmanship is horrible. “You hear that?” he said. The rattling noise was the new support column that Candelario put up to hold the wider gate, and it is detaching from the house.

As for the second gate, Mohan says Candelario started the job but never even finished. “Do you see that? It’s all open. Here, here, here, here. This is all out,” Mohan said as he pushed out wooden slats on the gate that were supposed to be locked into place with hardware.

In addition, Candelario was also supposed to take down a block wall and install pavers where landscape rock is. But again, none of that was done either. So out $3,000, Mohan took to social media for help. “So I posted on Facebook, and people said, you should contact Gary Harper. And I thought, Okay.”

So, On Your Side went to Candelario’s home for answers. After ringing the camera doorbell and knocking numerous times, no one ever came to the door. But, after leaving my business card, Candelario called me saying he knew Mohan was upset with him and that, “I was waiting for the smoke to clear. I’m not running from anything,” he told On Your Side. When asked if he would return some if not all of the $3,000, Candelario responded, “That’s a lot of money for me to return.”

Mohan says $3,000 is a lot of money to him, and he’s learned to always make sure the contractor you hire is licensed by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, also known as the ROC. “I’m telling the world and the community about these fake contractors. Always ask for a ROC license. I’m telling you all. Ask for a ROC license and ask for references for where they have worked,” Mohan said. Unfortunately, this viewer did not do those two things and is out $3,000.

However, since On Your Side’s involvement, Mohan says Candelario contacted him and says he is willing to return $1,500. Mohan says that amount would be fine, but if the money is not returned, he has filed a small claims court case and a complaint with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors.