Unlicensed contractor destroys home and finances
NEW YORK (WABC) -- Helene Escava has had her own home for nearly a year, so why has she been living in a hotel room?
It is all because of Frank Rodriquez of Bonanza Contracting. Helene hired him to turn her newly purchased Queens property into her dream house. In November 2009, she signed a contract to have a gut renovation on all floors. The work estimated to take a year and cost $380,000.
Seven months beyond the completion date and $400,000 later, Helene stands in the middle of what she calls, hell.
"This doesn't look like part of construction, it looks like destruction," said Escava.
She says the contractor kept coming to her saying the work could not continue unless more money was given. Not knowing anything about construction, she kept signing over more and more money.
Eyewitness News finally caught up with the elusive contractor in Staten Island, but he refused to answer any questions without a lawyer present.
"I'm emotionally distraught from it. It has taken a physical toll on me. Financially, emotionally, Frank has destroyed me," Escava said.
But Frank hopes to slip away, perhaps to find another vulnerable homeowner to charm.
The Department of Consumer Affairs confirms that Bonanza Contracting has no license.
Helene Escava admits she should have checked but she made a classic mistake by trusting the builder's word, rather than checking herself.
She's now out $400,000 and waits to see if the district attorney will investigate.
If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
investigations, jim hoffer
- Third grader killed in accident, truck driver charged
- AccuWeather: Warmer stretch arrives
- Live: Eyewitness News on 7online streamed live!
- iWitness Photos and Videos
- Car dealer charged after selling Sandy-damaged vehicles
- NJ Transit train disabled inside Hudson River tunnel
- Surveillance released in shooting of 9-year-old boy
- Man stabbed on 2 train in Bronx
- Prosecutors likely to reduce charges in SUV assault
- Video: Two US astronauts set to spacewalk to fix ISS
- GWB repair work this weekend
- Father in Army reunites with son in kindergarten class
- Photos: Deadly fire in the Bronx
- Target data breach: 7 Things to know
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos