JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Tampa-based pool contractor was ordered Tuesday to pay more than $155,000 in restitution for abandoning his projects and causing financial harm to his clients.
The license holder for Staycation Pools & Spas, Jordan Hidalgo, said he was never notified of the Construction Trades and Qualifying Board hearing.
He called the guilty ruling “upsetting” and told News4JAX he was not personally served at his address.
Tuesday’s agenda indicated Hidalgo was served for three separate complaints filed against him involving local homeowners. The City of Jacksonville has not returned our requests for confirmation that Hidalgo was officially served at the time of publication.
Under Florida state law, a project is considered to be abandoned after 90 days.
The construction board unanimously found Hidalgo guilty of violating Florida law for abandoning projects without proper notice in all three cases. He’s ordered to pay restitution to his client before he can pull any more permits in Duval County.
Ryan Moore with First Coast Consumer Law said it’s not likely customers of Staycation Pools will see that restitution paid out.
“My understanding is that the board is going to be the one to get the money from the company and once that money is received, if it is received, then the individual claimants can go to the board to receive their share of the money,” Moore said.
If you want your money back, Moore said your best bet is to file an individual lawsuit.
“If you wanted to bring an individual claim, at that point we can use that as evidence to put in front of the judge and say ‘Look, he’s been found of abandoning job, he’s been found of committing these acts.’ That gives a judge further evidence to look at and say, ‘Ok I realize that this person is engaged in wrongdoing,’” Moore said.
Casey Toussaint, a customer of Staycation Pools & Spas, said she understands she more than likely won’t see the money she paid to the company again.
“It is a little validating to see that my complaints are being heard and people are taking me seriously and trying to hold them accountable. What is disappointing is that I’m not going to get $95,000 back,” Toussaint said.
After hearing so many complaints, Duval County Senior Permit and License Inspector Ray Hawkins said Hidalgo is on administrative lock and can’t open any new permits in the county. He has also recommended the board suspend Hidalgo indefinitely from pulling permits locally.
The Construction Trades Qualifying Board will forward Hidalgo’s cases to the state and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
If you have a complaint you want to file against a contractor – you can do so by dialing 630-CITY.