WRAL Investigates

Local builder helps woman get new roof

Posted October 6, 2010 4:45 p.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2010 8:01 p.m. EDT

— Alison Myers finally has a new roof.

“It looks great,” she said. “Of what they've done already, it looks wonderful.”

Not too long ago, though, it looked as if Myers wouldn’t be getting her roof as soon as she wanted.

In April, a salesperson with Atlanta-based American Shingle made the rounds in Myers’ neighborhood.

His pitch to Myers: Let American Shingle put the roof on if it could get her insurance company to pay for it.

Myers agreed.

In June, she gave American Shingle the nearly $3,000 down-payment check from her insurance company.

The job was supposed to start in August, but instead of a new roof, she received a letter saying the company was "forced to close its doors" because of "significant financial hardship."

“(I was) completely angry about the whole thing,” Myers said.

Myers is one of more than a dozen people who complained to 5 on Your Side about American Shingle.

Combined, they paid the company more than $71,000 but never got the roofs for which they paid.

Better Business Bureaus across the country report hundreds of complaints. So does the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

In August, it got a court order to stop American Shingle from doing business in the state.

But it appears it's too late.

Last month, the company filed bankruptcy, which includes a legal notation saying that "there does not appear to be any property available (to the trustee) to pay creditors."

The filing also includes information that will outrage many customers. In the months leading up to the bankruptcy, the company’s chief executive officer, Carlton Dunko, collected tens of thousands of dollars in shareholder payments.

WRAL News learned Wednesday that the Secret Service is investigating Dunko and other company officers for possible criminal charges.

“It bothers me big-time to see anybody get took,” said Robert Williams, who owns Housetop Roofing.

After seeing a report on WRAL News in August, he wanted to help Myers.

“I just wanted to come out and just do a new roof for her,” Williams said.

He offered to do the job for free, but Myers is paying him the $1,700 her insurance company still owes.

“I wish I could do a lot more to a lot of other people the same way,” Williams said. “That's just the way I was raised. I was raised to be honest and to treat a person the way that you want to be treated.”

“It's wonderful,” Myers said. “It's very generous. I cannot believe that he would offer something like that to us, but there’s good people out there.”

This is another reminder of why it's so important to thoroughly check out a company before signing to do business and to not pay anymore than 10 percent of the total cost of the job as a down-payment.

Williams says he never takes a deposit at all unless the homeowner is getting a special-order item.