A local roofing company and the Jacksonville police union are stepping up to help following an I-TEAM investigation that found a Navy veteran paid $8,300 for a new roof last year that has yet to be installed.
Fraternal Order of Police President Steve Zona said his organization and Southern Coast Roofing have teamed up to form a program called Housetops for Heroes, which builds roofs for veterans and first responders. He said they were so moved by Raymond Libby’s story, they had to do something about it.
So they did. Zona and Southern Coast Roofing owner Jay Ors came through in a big way by offering to replace Libby’s roof -- free of charge.
“I was watching News4Jax and saw this story,” Zona said. “It’s horrible that it happens to anybody, and then to know it happened to a veteran who is serving our country.”
Libby, whose home was damaged during Hurricane Irma, put down a deposit of $8,348.69 with Superior Roofing & Restoration in November, 2017. But so far, no work has been done and said he’s had zero luck getting in touch with the company since then.
“It’s a shame and they take advantage of not only people like me, but also elderly people,” Libby said.
The lack of return on his investment led Libby to contact the I-TEAM, who tracked down some of Southern Roofing & Restoration’s workers and confronted them at home. Roof restoration consultant Luis Figueroa had no interest in talking:
News4Jax: “Do you still work for Superior Roofing? A man named Mr. Libby says you owe them about $8,000. Did you take their money?”
Figueroa: “No, sir.”
Figueroa declined to answer follow-up questions.
Answers were also hard to come by at the home of Michael Beard, Figueroa’s business partner. He was not home when the I-TEAM went by, but later submitted a statement, saying his company has fallen behind.
“We are behind in our work and we are desperately trying to catch up. We have no intent of stealing anyone’s money. The cold weather and business after the hurricanes put us behind schedule. All of our customers will be contacted within the next 6 to 8 weeks when we are able to catch up.”
Beard said his company pulled a permit to do roofing work at Libby’s home. But a check with the city’s building inspection department found that was not the case. He did, however, pledge to hire new office managers and refund Libby’s deposit.
A search of the Better Business Bureau’s files found Superior Roofing & Restoration holds an F rating. According to the BBB, the roofing company has a track record of complaints from customers, who said they’ve paid for work that was never completed.
Since Libby’s story aired, the I-TEAM has received a wave of questions from viewers who want to avoid getting ripped off. Ors and other roofers told News4Jax that if a roof doesn’t cost more than $20,000, a reputable roofer should be able to front the costs and collect payment in full when the job is done.
But thanks to Housetops for Heroes, Libby doesn’t have to worry much longer. Ors and Zona said they hope to have Libby’s roof completed over the next several weeks – just in time to shelter his home from the fast-approaching hurricane season.
“Every company is here to make money, but sometimes when you’re making money, you have to give back,” said Ors. “ … Maybe this will bring some type of spirt and other people too will give back to the community.”
For Libby, who has gone from potentially being ripped off to being rewarded for his military service, the show of generosity is welcome.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “I served, but you guys are serving us, and it’s just a great feeling to know that people are out there like that.”