Contractor accused of swindling homeowners agrees to pay some money back

Victims tell the I-TEAM more than $80,000 taken

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville contractor accused of taking tens of thousands of dollars for work he never finished has agreed to pay some of that money back, the I-TEAM has learned.

A homeowner told News4Jax that she paid Sid Baskin, owner of BHI Construction, $62,000 to replace windows and remodel her Jacksonville home.

She has copies of the contracts he signed, along with three checks she wrote Baskin's company totaling $50,000. 

She said work began last year, but stopped abruptly after an electrician knocked on her door telling her he had not been paid in three weeks.

The I-TEAM discovered a Ponte Vedra Beach couple also paid Baskin to remodel their home in 2009, and they said he did not finish all of the work either.

According to court documents, the couple paid Baskin more than $150,000 and also signed a contract for the work. They were told he would need four months to complete the job, but it took two years and they said it had to be finished by another contractor.

They said they were "swindled" out of $49,742 in work never completed and expenses. 

Baskin was charged with forgery and grand theft after allegations that he personally cashed a $10,000 check that was written to a wood supplier, but he agreed in 2013 to pay restitution to the couple as part of a pre-trial diversion program.

According to court documents, while Baskin did repay the $10,000 in monthly installments, he still has not paid back another $20,039 owed to the couple. 

Since News4Jax aired the story about Baskin, the State Attorney's Office opened an investigation into the contractor, who, to avoid prosecution, agreed to return $12,500 he took from Setser as a down payment for windows he never provided.  

The Department of Business and Professional Regulations is now investigating Baskin, too, after News4Jax discovered Baskin's contractor's license is still in good standing despite what happened to Setser and the Ponte Vedra couple.

The I-TEAM also learned Baskin is being sued for $10,395 by the owner of The Chariot at Eastpark office building off St. Johns Bluff Road on the Southside of Jacksonville. According to court documents, Baskin entered into a rental agreement in July 2016 for 60 months, but failed to pay rent and other charges for the office space.

Setser is now suing Baskin, too, for the $42,000 she paid him for work that was never completed. 

In addition to owning BHI construction, Baskin also sells windows under the company name Custom Windows USA. 

Baskin's company is not affiliated in any way with another local business in Orange Park that uses the same initials.

Baskin declined to comment when the I-TEAM story ran in July.

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