Tulare company under fire for Tubbs Fire rebuilds

TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- A South Valley construction company is feeling the heat tonight.

Complaints are mounting against Tulare's Chiaramonte Construction and Plumbing, related to their efforts to rebuild in areas hit hardest by the Tubbs Fire a year and a half ago.

One year ago, a Chiaramonte employee approached ABC30 with a possible story to cover.

The Tulare-based company said they would be opening a new location in Petaluma to rebuild homes destroyed by the 2017 Tubbs Fire.

While many families were being taken advantage of, the employee said, Chiaramonte would help them build their dream homes at an affordable price.

But now, a Sonoma County Supervisor says the company has failed to finish homes, or even start them, for at least 40 families in his district.

After losing their home in the fire, this family signed a contract with Chiaramonte 16 months ago.

After some major delays, they were told they'd be able to move into their Coffey Park home in May, but it's still months away from completion.

They say they've paid the company $134,000 dollars in insurance money, but Chiaramonte is demanding another $140,000 to finish the house, which also has liens against it from subcontractors and suppliers who have not been paid by Chiaramonte.

Court records show two people sued the company for fraud on Friday in Sonoma County Superior Court.

On the company's Better Business Bureau page, another woman who describes herself as a victim of the North Bay fires says she cancelled her rebuilding contract with Chiaramonte last fall, but the company would not refund her deposit and sent her a bill she disputes.

The company has an A+ rating with BBB, but is not BBB accredited.

A check of its license shows it is current and active.

The Tulare location was open on Friday.

An ABC30 reporter said he had some questions for owner Sal Chiaramonte.

An employee said they'd pass along the reporter's contact information, but probably wouldn't be commenting for our story.
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