CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Aransas Pass homeowner , Annie Roberts, was adding an addition to her home when the city of Aransas Pass stopped the work being done because permits for the job were not pulled.
Roberts had already paid the contractor, Manuel Alaniz of Five Star Services of Alice, nearly $9,000 in December 2020 to do the job.
"It feels awful for the single reason, I got the guy off the news. I didn't feel like I was gonna get taken," she said.
Turns out, Roberts wound up having to pay even more money for an engineer and architect, just so permits could get pulled. She also had to pay a different contractor just to put her home back together.
Roberts says she bought the lot next door about a year ago, with the intention of building a utility room and expanding the living room of her existing home. The total cost of the job was going to be a little more than $17,000.
On February 24, she paid Alaniz the first installment.
But in March, the city of Aransas Pass red tagged the work already done by Alaniz because the necessary permits had not been pulled.
The Troubleshooters spoke with Aransas Pass City Manager Gary Edwards by phone.
He told us the responsibility for pulling permits for work to be done at their home is ultimately up to the homeowner. The homeowner and contractor can however, agree that the total cost for the project can include the cost for permits, with an understanding on who will actually make sure permits are pulled.
The Troubleshooters spoke with Manuel Alaniz by phone.
He is adamant that he has never had a customer complaint about his work, and he insists Roberts was supposed to pull the necessary permits. He also sent us a text message he had sent Roberts saying he would pay for permits, but only after she paid him more money to do so.
The text message also explained that the nearly $9,000 she already paid him was for materials only.
It also showed Alaniz telling Roberts "you're the first job in Aransas Pass I have done, so I do not know the codes there."
Roberts claims she has had to pay approximately $2,400 more for an engineer, architect, and inspector before she could get a permit to have the side of her house, where Alaniz was working, closed up. The Texas Engineering Practice Act requires any addition to a home be designed by a Texas licensed professional engineer.
She told the Troubleshooters, she had to pay an additional $5,000 to another contractor to do the work.
Roberts has hired an attorney, accusing Alaniz of breach of contract, fraud, and misrepresentation.
A lawsuit has not yet been filed.
By phone, Alalniz told us "this is another example of a contractor being portrayed on the news in a bad light by a customer...99% of people want to assume the contractor is in the wrong... I've never done nobody wrong. I'm the one getting screwed here."