SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — Contractors across Northwest Florida are coming under fire for taking money for projects and not completing them. Mitchem Construction, a concrete contractor out of Pensacola, is the latest in a line of contractors being called out by victims that say they have paid thousands of dollars and did not see any work done.
WKRG News 5 has reported on three other contractors, Banks Construction, LaCoste Construction and Schofield’s Home Services. Matthew Banks of Banks Construction was arrested back in early August. Marshall Lee Schofield of Schofield’s Home Services was arrested on Aug. 11.
In December 2021, both Sherian and Gary Good of Pace, and Russell O’Dell, of Milton, had contracts with Mitchem Construction to complete concrete work. As of today, no contract work has been completed. Good paid $7,590 per contracted and O’Dell paid $1,700 for a contract to extend his driveway.
For the Goods, they were charged more than the full amount of the contract agreement, totaling $8,430, allegedly ignoring the military discount he was supposed to provide Good.
Both parties, at this time, have requested a charge back from their credit card companies, and when O’Dell requested a charge back from USAA, he said he received a schedule of job the same day, as his request from the Mitchem Construction.
The Goods have since been required by their Homeowners Association to get their driveway repaired that Mitchem Construction allegedly messed up, to stop them from being fined. This has cost them another $9,000 in expenses.
On July 18, 2022, Gary Good sent an email to his HOA saying they had to hire another contractor to finish the driveway.
“Cannot believe anything Mitchum Construction tells us,” Good wrote in the email. “If anyone mentions hiring contractor for cement work, please tell them that this contractor is not reliable. He is still not giving us our money back. We are pursuing legal action to see what options we have. Have spoken with the sheriffs office. We had others come to us and said this contractor has done the same thing to them. Had a disabled veteran call us and said he paid the contractor in December and now in the same situation as us.”
On Feb. 1, 2022, the Goods sent an email to Michael Mitchem, expressing their concerns.
“I am writing to you today to establish clarity to the situation concerning repairs to our driveway,” Good wrote in the email. “When we contracted you to do the work on our driveway, we were left with the impression that the driveway would be completed within a timely timeframe without bringing disruption to our neighbors and ourselves.”
We understand that there are things that occur such as COVID infections and unforeseen circumstances that may delay projects. We share empathy and sincere understanding of the situations that may unexpectedly delay a project.Gary Good
Unfortunately, our communication has been skewed by unmet expectations and promises. Our driveway has been torn-up for over four weeks. We were under the impression multiple times that a crew was scheduled to show up to further the progress of the project. To our dismay, the only progress we have experienced with our driveway repair was the time the crew showed up to tear up the concrete.
Not to mention, the misunderstanding of my credit card being charged twice by your company in the amount of $4,216.80. Although this letter is not intended as a complaint but more so to have transparency with how we are feeling and to hopefully have you commit to a proper schedule to complete our driveway.”Gary Good
WKRG News 5 reached out to Sherian Good and Addie Frahm, the Good’s neighbor, to talk about their situation with Mitchem Construction.
Sherian Good said her credit card was charged once for the 25 percent down payment at $4,216.80 and then charged again for the same amount without permission.
“He said it was a mistake and that he would credit her back, but he never did,” said Frahm.
Sherian Good said Mitchem would send out a crew here and there, but they would never do any work.
“They would stand around for 10 minutes and then suddenly disappear,” said Good.
Eight months later after no work was done, and the HOA sending notices, Sherian Good said she had to hire another contractor. Frahm said they hired another contractor that has been picking up other victims’ projects where Mitchem left off.
Taking matters into their own hands, the Goods and Frahm went to the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office to file a complaint.
“They said they couldn’t do anything,” said Frahm. “They said that as long as the contractor has broken ground, there is nothing they could do. They have to do something, Mitchem charged the credit cards illegally. He was supposed to take 25 percent. He took half the money and charged it twice and did no work at all.”
Frahm said she believes what Mitchem has done to the Goods is a crime against the elderly, with Sherian Good being 79 years old.
“What he is doing takes on a different color of fraud,” said Frahm.
Currently, Mitchem has 12 complaints filed on the Better Business Bureau, all saying that people paid him money for projects that were never completed.
Allegro Homes LLC has filed a lawsuit against Mitchem Construction in the Circuit Court of Escambia County. The lawsuit says damages exceed the sum of $30,000.
On July 28, 2021, Allegro Homes entered into a contract with Mitchem Construction for the construction of a foundation and footers for property at 5490 Cruzat Way, in Pensacola. Per the contract, Allegro Homes was required to pay an initial deposit of $8,391.36. The total price of the contract was $33,565.44. According to the lawsuit, Mitchem Construction failed to provide any work or materials to the project the following week, despite repeated requests from Allegro Homes.
After receiving the deposit and promising to perform services, according to the lawsuit, Mitchem Construction demanded an additional deposit of $8,391.36 before starting the work. Allegro Homes paid the second deposit, for a total of $16,782, but they said Mitchem Construction has not furnished any work that meets the specifications of the project or by industry standards.
“Doesn’t it bother anyone that this man gets up in the morning, goes out and knocks on doors, takes peoples’ money and just doesn’t do the work?” said Frahm. “I mean, anybody could be a victim.”
Sherian Good advises people to make sure they know who they are hiring before hiring a contractor.
“Never, ever, ever look at Mitchem Construction,” said Good. “Check out everybody thoroughly that you do come into contact with.”
Mitchem did not respond to WKRG News 5’s request for comment.