PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A paving company is under the microscope by state regulators, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and county officials following an 8 On Your Side investigation that exposed shady business, a lack of proper business licenses and insurance.
The business, Central Asphalt LLC, is accused of laying thin asphalt after customers paid in cash. Customers on Fox Ridge Boulevard in Wesley Chapel said grass started to grow through their new driveways within days.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, and county officials want to speak to the company about why they do not have an occupational business license, but the sheriff’s office points to a loophole in the county’s ordinance.
In Hillsborough County, for example, businesses must have a contractor’s license in order to pave with asphalt, but in Pasco County, that type of license is only required for concrete. In Hillsborough County, law enforcement uses their ordinance to arrest unlicensed contractors.
8 On Your Side took the sheriff’s office concerns to Pasco County government.
“We’re gonna take a look at what other counties are doing,” said Doug Tobin, Pasco County spokesman. “You mentioned Hillsborough County. And we’ve asked to see their particular ordinance on this, and we’re going to see if we need to tighten up our area in Pasco County when it comes to these contractors.
This all started after three homeowners complained about the quality of paving jobs on their driveways. The homeowners said a worker knocked on their doors, offering great deals on asphalt, especially if they agreed to pay cash.
“The very next day, there was already grass growing through the rocks,” said Victoria Lynn, who paid $2,500 for her gravel driveway to be paved.
Lynn said days later, the crew showed up again, offering to widen her new driveway. She said the worker told her they had extra asphalt from a nearby job and would extend her driveway for an extra $1,000.
She said the asphalt was laid over a grassy area, and the soil beneath was not prepped properly. She has not yet paid for that portion, she said, because of the poor quality, and workers have not yet been back to fix the mess they left behind.
Company owner Keith Burton said he runs a company in Ohio, but travels to Florida every year, for the past 20 years, to work. He said the work on Fox Ridge is normal, but acknowledged some problems and vowed to take care of it for the customers.
Burton said he would send out crews to spray the weeds with weed killer.
Two other homeowners complain about the quality of their jobs and said weeds are growing through the new asphalt driveways they paid thousands of dollars to get.
Doug Tobin, spokesman for Pasco County, recommends consumers check out contractors before hiring them and confirm they have the proper license and insurance, as well as references.
“It really is buyer beware.” Tobin said. “Homeowners must do their homework.”
Tobin also cautions homeowners against paying in cash. He warns that homeowners who hire unlicensed contractors who do not obtain the proper permits, could be held liable if something goes wrong on their property.
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