ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — On Tuesday, the Escambia County Contractor Board heard 10 more complaints against Matthew Banks of Banks Construction. According to the 10 victims, Banks has received $400,000 over a span of two years and never completed the work.
On November 20, 2020, Alice Bennett and Diana Rowland contracted Banks for Hurricane Sally repairs, a roof, siding and pool enclosure. The total cost of the work was $65,220. Bennett and Rowland paid a 50 percent deposit of $42,500. They also paid Banks $12,563 for the roof, despite they did not have drip-edge or gutters. In July 2021, the two met with Banks to change the scope of work, adding $100,000 to the contract. They said banks requested an additional deposit, so they paid $25,587, as well as a $20,000 draw on July 29, 2021.
On Oct. 22, 2021, Kerri Riggs contracted Banks for an alteration on her home. The total cost of the work was $45,640. She said she paid a 50 percent deposit of $22,820. Riggs said that Banks did tear out the flooring, but it quickly came to a halt when Banks’ installer encountered a problem. On Dec. 6, 2021, Riggs said she paid an additional $1,250 for the flooring project.
Charles Cadden contracted Banks on Oct. 21, 2021, for a second-story deck and pergola. The total cost of the work was $54,500. He said he paid a 50 percent deposit of $27,250. Cadden said work finally began on April 25, 2022, to begin breaking up the 400-square-foot concrete patio slab, but after the slab was removed, Banks never returned.
On Nov. 12, 2021, Colette Perry contracted Banks for a covered porch, office addition, laundry room conversion and built-in cabinetry. The total cost of the project was $79,600. She said she paid Banks a deposit of $39,800. Perry said Banks began the installation of the pocket door in Dec. 2021, but never completed the work. On June 1, 2022, Banks began the patio work, but after the media started reporting on the contractor, Perry said he never performed any additional work.
Bette Harriman contracted Banks on Dec. 1, 2021, for a replacement porch and renovated sunroom. The total work of the project was $36,940, and she paid a 50 percent deposit of $18,470. Harriman said Banks did not start work until April 20, 2022, when Banks demolished the front porch. No additional work was done until May 9, 2022, when Harriman said Banks came and demolished the sunroom walls. On May 15, 2022, Harriman said Banks installed temporary walls in the sunroom, but never completed any other work. She said Banks told her that he was regrouping his company and team and would let her know by June 13, 2022, when her project would resume.
On July 16, 2021, Eddie Fowler contracted Banks for a home renovation. The total cost of the work was $142,750, and Fowler paid a 50 percent deposit of $70,000. Fowler said he issued another payment to Banks for $30,000 on March 3, 2022, with none of the work being completed.
Lisa Rogers contracted banks on March 17, 2021, for a kitchen and bathroom remodel. The total cost of the project was $36,200, and Rogers paid a 50 percent deposit of $18,100. After many delays, Rogers said work finally began on Sept. 30, 2021, when an electrician arrived to do work, which Rogers said was never permitted. On Dec. 23, 2021, Rogers said demo work began in a bathroom. On Jan. 25, 2022, a plumber was onsite to move a shower and drain. Roger said that a plumber came out on March 23, 2022, and that is the last time anyone worked on her project.
On March 5, 2022, Jacobo and Lynn Cruz contracted Banks for an addition. The total cost of the work was $58,000 and the couple said they paid a 50 percent deposit of $29,000. In mid-March, the Cruzes said they needed insurance information from Banks to present to their HOA for approval of the project. They said they continued to ask for start dates for the project and needed information, but never heard anything further from Banks. They said Banks never performed any work on their project and never refunded any of their money.
Nikki Whitfield contracted with Banks on Feb. 4, 2022, for a kitchen remodel. The total cost for the project was $35,000 and Whitfield said she paid a 50 percent deposit of $17,500. She said she communicated numerous times with Banks over the next six months, but work never began.
Cruz contracted with Banks again on March 22, 2022, for siding repairs to his building. The total cost of the project was $38,580 and he paid a 50 percent deposit of $19,290. Cruz said no work was ever done and Banks never refunded a deposit.
Out of several of the complaints, Escambia County Staff found no records for permits being pulled by Banks.
On Aug. 10, Banks was arrested by Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a warrant issued by Pensacola Police Department. The original charge was larceny for failing to provide a refund to a client, but the charge was recently changed to fraud by the State Attorney’s Office.
Florida Statute 489.126(4)(b) says if a contractor does not pay a client a refund within 30 days of receiving a written demand letter from the owner, “it may be inferred that a contractor intended to deprive the owner of the right to the money owed.”
So far, both Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties have ordered Banks to pay $1 million in restitution to multiple clients, but he filed bankruptcy back in August. The counties have also permanently revoked Banks’ license.
The State Attorney’s Office told WKRG News 5 they are currently investigating, in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, the complaints against Banks and any other contractor they find in violation.
“The Department of Agriculture is really spearheading that investigation,” said Director of Public Relations for the State Attorney’s Office Frederick Longmire. “Our office is working in conjunction with them as complaints come in. Our office will look into any individual that necessitates an investigation.”