Troubleshooters: Customer-contractor dispute unsettled

Posted at 5:30 PM, Jun 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-22 15:48:47-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Contractor issues.
This time, the customers have filed theft charges against the contractor.
And a disabled veteran, who's also a senior, may have more serious charges, according to an attorney.

The contractor insists that he is not a thief.

Patsy Garvia insists that instead of buying a new home and moving, she and her husband decided to add on to thier home on Shephard Street, where they've lived for 20 years.

In February, they hired Juan Garduno of Your Vision Construction.

If that name sounds familiar, Garduno was also the contractor in a different, and still unresolved, Troubleshooters story from January 2022.

The Garcia's job called for a 24 x 24 room addition, a bathroom, and a bigger kitchen, among other items listed in the contract.

"What convinced you to hire Juan Garduno?" the Troubleshooters asked Garcia.

"He was working for my sister and had started off really good over there. And so she said, 'hey this contractor can do work over here to do your addition,'" Garcia said.

Garcia showed us her bank receipts showing they've already paid Garduno $50,000.00 in 3 installments from February thru March.

Total cost for the job ? $80,000.00.

According to the contract, the job would be complete by April 20th. But when the Troubleshooters visited June 1st, it was not close to being complete.

So, we asked Garcia, "Why did you call us about this? Because he never contacted the city to get any type of permit. After I continuously asked him to get permits. It's in the contract. It's in the contract. He's responsible for the permits. The contractor is responsible for permits. And he, the contractor, is responsible for hiring the engineer to draw up blueprints. To date, there's been no blueprints and no permits been issued for this house."

Garduno told us the problem was that he had to hire a different engineer.

The city's Development Services Department told the Troubleshooters Juan Garduno is not registered with them and that they have no record of him ever pulling permits from their department.

Furthermore, their records show that they inspected Garduno's work at the Garcia's home in May and red-tagged it, meaning no more work could be done on it without the proper permits and blueprints for the work being provided.

We asked Garduno about that.

"Development Services told me yesterday that they don't have any record of you ever. Not just for these jobs but ever pulling any permits from them," the Troubleshooters said.

"Yeah, 'cause I was doing more fencing. More fencing and small stuff," Garduno fired back.

Garduno initially agreed to an on-camera interview with us, then declined.
But he did agree to an interview by phone, where he answered our questions.

Jim Stewart showed us the room he hired Garduno to convert into a dog kennel in November 20-22 at a cost of $7500.00. Stewart already paid Garduno $4500.

By phone, Garduno admitted to us the real reason the job didn't get done.

"My workers didn't want to go that far. So that's why everything went down,"' Garduno admitted.

Stewart also told the Troubleshooters the Demand Letter he sent Garduno via certified mail. But no one ever signed for it. Stewart further claimed Jim Wells County Precinct 5 Constable Gerald Arismendez tried serving Garduno a court order. Arismendez would not confirm or deny that to the Troubleshooters. And Garduno denies it ever happened.
But Stewart's situation is somewhat different from the Garcia's since he's a senior and a disabled veteran.

Robert Heil is an attorney who handles civil and criminal cases. He says the law protects seniors in cases like this.

"The senior citizen community, which is very valuable in our society, is also protected. So sometimes there's crimes against seniors. Anyone who is over 65 will have a greater degree of protection."

Garduno told us he intends to give Stewart a refund. "Yes, a refund for sure. Be sometime next week. I'll give him a call." But he added that it wouldn't be for the full amount.

The Garcia's are taking their case a step further. They've not only fired Garduno from their job, but The Troubleshooters have also confirmed with Corpus Christi Police that the Garcias have filed a report accusing Garduno of theft. And since it's for more than $30,000, that could make it a third-degree felony.

Heil recommends anyone who feels they're victims in cases like this, take all your paperwork and present it to CCPD right away. But he also cautions that there's no guarantee they'll take your case or even pass it along to the DA's office. If they did pass it along, the DA's office would then hopefully present it to the grand jury. The grand jury determines whether it's strong enough for trial.

Heil further suggests hiring a stable contractor. One with assets; otherwise, even tho the judge may rule in your favor, you'll get nothing because the contractor has nothing.