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OUTSTANDING REPORT - ABC11 Troubleshooter Diane Wilson Builders Caught on Tape
Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Unlicensed Contractors Caught on Tape
Unlicensed contractors accused of taking thousands of dollars from unwitting homeowners and we caught how they do it on tape! These contractors are breaking the law and are leaving their customers in the lurch. Darlene Burton is left with a big mess after she hired Jimmy Yellock of Universal Trades Construction to build an addition to her home. She tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "Everything he did was wrong, everything he did except the wall in the bathroom has to be redone."

Unlicensed Contractors Caught on Tape

WTVD By Diane Wilson

- Unlicensed contractors accused of taking thousands of dollars from unwitting homeowners and we caught how they do it on tape! These contractors are breaking the law and are leaving their customers in the lurch.

View Video News Report
Darlene Burton is left with a big mess after she hired Jimmy Yellock of Universal Trades Construction to build an addition to her home. She tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "Everything he did was wrong, everything he did except the wall in the bathroom has to be redone." The is the contract she says signed with Yellock is for $65,000. She says she's already paid Yellow $48,000 of that contract. But the contract she says she found in the permit box outside her home is for just $29,500. Why the difference? Darlene thinks she knows. Yellock's not a licensed contractor. And, for any work over $30,000, you have to be. Darlene says Yellock e-mailed her his license number, but it's not a license number for general contracting it's a privilege license number with Durham that allows him to do business in the city. This license has nothing to do with general contracting and that's not the only problem. Darlene says her signature is forged on the $29,500 contract, and Yellock is now facing a forgery charge. She says, "He's stolen my dream and $48,000 is not easy to come by. "

Carrie Lee is also trying to pick up the pieces after she says she's been ripped off. She hired Apex Contraction in May of 2006 to add an addition onto her home. The owner of Apex Construction, Michael Luchansky. Carrie tells Troubleshooter Diane Wilson, "I asked him, how long will a job like this take? He said, approximately, with the weather and everything, give or take 90 days. No more than 90 days, we should be able to have everything done." But a year later, Carrie's addition's not finished, even though she says paid Luchansky more than $30,000 thousand dollars on contracts for $38,500. Carrie says Luchansky is not finishing the project instead she says, "He's a con artist really, because he can talk a very big game."

Both Luchansky and Yellock are not licensed as a general contractor in the state of North Carolina do any work over $30,000. They are breaking the law with the contracts they signed with Carrie Lee and Darlene Burton.

ABC 11 wanted to show you first hand how they operate. We invited Yellock and Luchansky to a decoy house to meet with an ABC 11 undercover producer. We asked both for estimates on a major home makeover. Jimmy Yellock told our undercover producer he's licensed and ready to do the work. He said he just finished up a job like the one we wanted him to do in Cary. The truth, Yellock does not have his general contracting license.

If you think you've been ripped off, call the Troubleshooter Hotline:
688-HELP (4357)
Troubleshooter Diane Wilson confronted Yellock and wanted to find out why he's doing work for more than $30,000 when he's not licensed to do so. She caught up with Yellock outside of the Durham County Courthouse when he faced a judge on the forgery charge related to Darlene Burton's case. Here's how the confrontation went down. Troubleshooter Diane Wilson asked Yellock, "How can you operate as a licensed contractor without being a licensed contractor? You keep on saying you have a license?" Yellock's Attorney said, "Excuse me I'm his attorney, I said no thank you have a good day." Troubleshooter Diane Wilson then asked, "Can you tell us how he's operating as a licensed contractor when he doesn't have a license?" Yellock's Attorney replied, "Can you tell me why you all don't follow a real story?" Troubleshooter Diane Wilson then replied, "This is a real story he has $48,000 of someone's money, he has $48,000 dollars, he's breaking the law operating as a licensed contractor and he's not a licensed contractor." Yellock's attorney nor Yellock would answer any questions. They just put up in umbrella to hide their faces from the ABC 11 camera and walked away. Two weeks after Jimmy Yellock came to our decoy house Yellock emailed our undercover producer and said for the first time he's not licensed to do any work over $30,000.

We also invited Michael Luchansky, the contractor who worked on Carrie Lee's house to our decoy house to give our undercover producer an estimate on a major home makeover. He has now changed his company's name from Apex Construction to Triangle Remodeling. He was quick to tell our undercover producer, "You know I am a family man, I've got kids, you know I take this very seriously." He went on to say, "I don't cut any corners on anything and it makes for a really nice looking job." He assured us he was licensed. He said to our undercover producer, "I'm licensed. I take care of all the permits. I do all the drawing for you, have all the inspections made at the required time." On his first visit, he couldn't give us an estimate. But a week later he came back to our decoy house and he was armed with references, samples, and pictures of past work. As for an estimate he said $35,000 would be a good number. Remember, he's not licensed to do any work over $30,000. Our undercover producer asked for his license number. Luchansky said, "What I do is on proposal part of it, it's a packet, nice and neat like this it has all everything all in it at one time and it's posted with the permit."

Caught on tape apparently offering to break the law, it's time to confront Luchansky. Troubleshooter Diane Wilson asks, "Can we talk to you about your business?" Luchansky replies, "In reference to what?" Troubleshooter Diane Wilson says, "You're acting as a licensed contractor, and you're not licensed." Luchansky says, "I'm not acting as a licensed contractor." Luchansky goes to say, "I'm licensed up to $30,000 dollars." Troubleshooter Diane Wilson replies, "There isn't one, we checked with the contractor's board, there is no license." Luchansky then states, "$30,000 and under is what I'm licensed for." Troubleshooter Diane Wilson responds, "Ok look here, you've done work for Carrie Lee. You signed a contract with her for $38,500, that's more than $30,000 and you're not licensed to do that kind of work. You just said you're only licensed to do up to $30,000 worth of work, here's a contract for $38,500 worth of work." Luchansky replies, "Ok thank you mam." Troubleshooter Diane Wilson then asks, "So you have nothing to say how you're ripping people off? You have more than $30,000 of Carrie Lee's money." Luchansky says, "I'm not ripping anyone off." Troubleshooter Diane Wilson then asks, "You signed this contract in May of 2006, have you finished it? Luchansky says, "She's gotten well more than she's paid." Troubleshooter Diane Wilson then says, "Have you finished it?" Luchansky says, "It's in process, right now" Michael Luchansky called Troubleshooter Diane Wilson the next day and promised to stop telling people he's licensed. He also promised to take care of Carrie Lee by either finishing the job or refunding some of her money.

But this isn't the first time Luchansky's been caught posing as a licensed contractor. In 2000, the state contractor's board filed suit against him, and as part of a 2001 default judgment against him, a judge ordered him to stop until he's properly licensed. Which, as of today, he's not.

As for Jimmy Yellock, he's back in court on the forgery charges next month.

So how can you find out if your contractor's licensed? Simple. Get their general contractor's license number and check it out on-line. Click here for the link to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractor's.

There are plenty of good licensed general contractors out there. Do your research so you get the most for your money!

View Video News Report


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