(3TV/CBS 5) - Several Valley residents say they put their trust into a licensed construction company and now they're regretting it after handing over thousands of dollars.

"They took all the stucco and foam off these exterior walls."

Ann Heil says her unfinished remodeling project has been a disaster.

"Right here, that's drywall (knocking) into the bedroom, so anybody could just bust through here and get into the house."

Last June, Heil hired a licensed company called American Home Construction to enclose her carport.

It's run by Jesse Jackson, a guy Heil says she unfortunately knows all too well.

"This is Jesse Jackson with American Home Construction," she said.

According to Heil, she paid Jackson and the company just over $5,000 back in June to get the carport enclosure started.

But after doing a small amount of work, she says Jesse Jackson abandoned the job and kept the money. And she's not the only one upset.

"This is an exam room, this is an exam room."

Marlene Hanzi is a Valley veterinarian.

She hired Jackson and American Home Construction to build a new vet office.

The cost, just around $35,000 and Heil says Jesse Jackson demanded half of the amount up front. 

"After getting a check for more than $17,000, Jesse Jackson, he didn't do much he did return one time and framed out a small area like this, but after this, he never came back."

With the job abandoned, Hanzi says she can't open and as a result, she's losing business.

"Gave him the deposit in August on August 9th and it was supposed to be a three-or four-week project. I was planning on opening by September 15th."

3 On Your Side got involved and discovered a half dozen people have filed similar complaints with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors regarding American Home Construction.

The total amount the homeowners say they're out is just over $200,000. As a result, the contracting agency immediately suspended American Home Construction's two licenses while it investigates.

So what kind of explanation does Jackson and American Home Construction have for taking money and walking off jobs? He ignored 3 On Your Side's emails and phone calls so we went to his Mesa home where two people who identified themselves as Jackson's parents said this about the allegations.

"Oh, that's ridiculous."

Harper: "Ridiculous?" (door shuts.)

After our visit, Jackson's attorney contacted 3 On Your Side telling us his client "... is not a fraud." And that Jackson is "... fully cooperating..." with the Registrar of Contractors' investigation. He also said that Jackson may have simply taken on too many projects, too fast.

But consumers like Hanzi and Heil say they're not buying it.

"I allocated so much money to do this business and it's really been a nightmare."

"It makes me feel ill every time I come out here or every time I drive into the driveway. It's like 'Wow, I can't believe I made such a mistake.'"

The silver lining here is that these victims stand a very good chance of getting their money back through the Registrar of Contractors' recovery fund. That's why we always say use a licensed company because if something like "this" happens, you have protection.

A statement from Jackson’s attorney can be read below.

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Statement from Jackson's Attorney
 


Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

3 On Your Side Investigative Producer

3 On Your Side' Investigative Reporter

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