SANTA ROSA, Calif. -- For several months, we have reported the problems encountered by dozens of Tubbs Fire victims who hired Chiaramonte Construction of Tulare County to rebuild their homes. The company promised to sell the supplies and do the work at Central Valley prices.
That work, however, has never been completed, and now many homeowners have filed suit. Attorney Richard Freeman represents a dozen of them.
"It is a moral disaster for people who lost absolutely everything. People who got at least a glimmer of hope that they would be able to rebuild their homes and get their lives together. And for him to not follow through on commitments was devastating to them."
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Freeman says Chiaramonte owes between $3 million and $4 million to fire victims who paid money. Some of them had no work done, at all.
Those who did, still report a multitude of problems. In Larkfield Estates, Andy Guy has been finishing the work himself. He's been dealing with issues ranging from, "...framing, trusses, damage to the septic system, and the overpayment we made to them."
Now, Chiaramonte Construction appears to be out of business. They did not respond to a knock on their door in Tulare County, this morning. Nor did they return ABC7's phone calls.
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In addition to the lawsuits, Chiaramonte faces a continuing investigation by the California State Contractors License Board, which is looking at criminal and possible federal charges.
"Chiaramonte absolutely took money as late as April, 2019, and gave them (the clients) nothing," said Freeman. "Morally despicable."
"The lack of integrity to do this to almost 100 people is almost unconscionable," said Carol McHale of Coffey Park. She had joined those many people suing Chiaramonte. Work on her home has hardly moved past the foundation stage. She has hired a new contractor.
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"When will this be over?" we asked.
"It will be finished when I see Chiaramonte in jail. That's when it will be finished."
The Sonoma County District Attorney's office says it has not, yet, filed charges. They're awaiting results of the still-continuing state investigation.
See more stories related to the North Bay Fires.
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