81ºF

State revokes license of contractor in 'Call Christina' investigation

Contractor used several business names

photo

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. – The Department of Business and Professional Regulation revoked Anthony F. Di Simone's CGC 22694 license after the Construction Industry Licensing Board found "multiple incidents of consumer harm as an aggravating factor."

Of the four final orders made available to Local 10 News, one involved James Pursell, of Pembroke Pines.

READ: Final order 1 | Final order 2 | Final order 3 | Final order 4

Di Simone was ordered to pay restitution to James Pursell in the amount of $7,794.20.

In an interview last month with Local 10 News, Pursell's wife, Paige, told Local 10 News Investigator Christina Vazquez that if Di Simone was watching her interview she would want to tell him, "Do not prey on other people."

Local 10 News viewer John Dominguez reached out to "Call Christina" about his experience with Di Simone.

Dominguez gave our cameras a tour of the two bathrooms he contracted with Di Simone to renovate in his Miami Beach home.

After giving Di Simone $7,000, Dominguez said, "He never got permits. The insurance sent me a letter stating that he didn't have insurance. That's how we knew there was a problem. And he just stopped taking my phone calls. He wouldn't call me back."

Like Pursell, Dominguez had to pay someone else to finish the job.

"I don't want it to happen to anybody else," Pursell said. "Check their paper work. Contact the Better Business Bureau. You need to do your homework with contractors so this won't happen to you. It's a shame."

WEB EXTRA: What to do before hiring a contractor

DBPR officials would not comment on the complaint Dominguez filed with the department.

In an email, Chelsea Eagle, a DBPR deputy director of communications representative, said, "Under Florida Statute Section 455.225 (10), the department cannot confirm or deny the existence of any complaints or investigations against licensed professionals until 10 days after probable cause has been found.

"Per your inquiry, generally speaking, DBPR forwards cases involving criminal matters to the local State Attorney's Office for potential prosecution. I would encourage you to reach out to their office regarding any intention to criminally prosecute the individual."

Local 10 News sent an inquiry to the state attorney's office on the matter Thursday. Vasquez spent weeks searching for Di Simone to get his take on the complaints filed against him. One Hollywood address he provided to customers directed her to a P.O. Box.

A Fort Lauderdale address on another document directed her to a business owner who said Di Simone used to rent space with him.

It also appears he has moved out of the Miami home listed as his home address.

Some of the complainants told the DBPR and Local 10 News that Di Simone worked with a man named Gregor (John) Kohn.

"This is the fellow who came to do the estimate for us and signed the contracts," said Pursell.

Vasquez met Kohn's daughter outside the Davie home that public records list in Kohn's name. She claimed she hadn't seen her father in a year and said she believes he moved to California.

Di Simone used several business names to include ADA Remodeling and ADE Construction.

That's when Local 10 stumbled upon yet another consumer victim -- the owners of American Design Engineering Construction.

Owners of the family-run business told Local 10 they have suffered serious consequences because Di Simone worked under a similar name; so much so that they have changed their logo to add the letter C to ADEC. They said too often customers are confusing the two companies.

That is precisely what happened to Paige, who said she accidentally contracted with Di Simone when she intended to contract with ADEC. The first time Di Simone's team didn't show up to the job site she called ADEC to follow-up, only then discovering she had hired another company.

Joel Espinal, of ADEC, told Local 10 News, "We have to pretty much make sure every single person out there knows that we are not this company and that we have not been involved in those scams."