The Nevada State Contractors Board has gone to the press about an unlicensed pool contractor who it alleges has abandoned numerous residential pool projects in Nevada.
The NSCB named Justin Louis Galindo as the wrongdoer who, it said, often operates under the alias Jayson Luxx. “We’ve had multiple people come forward from Nevada who have experienced coming in contact with this gentleman,” said Jennifer Lewis, public information officer at the Nevada State Contractors Board. “Right now the board is trying to locate him.”
In its accusations, the NSCB describes a fairly consistent modus operandi: Galindo, who once worked as a salesman for a southern Nevada pool company, presents himself as a current representative for that legitimate organization, Lewis said. He proposes a bid for the project, but then mentions that he also is the owner of A&A Tops, a California-based construction business, and can do the job for a much lower costs, she added. Enticed by the lower offer, homeowners often take Galindo up on his bid and he begins construction.
His take for each project is about $60,000, she noted.
He’s been said to complete up to three-quarters of the work before walking away, after which residents report being left to deal with numerous financial headaches, including homeowners association fines, code violations and the additional cost of hiring a legitimate contractor to construct the pool properly — that is, if they can find someone to do it at all.
“We tend to decline those [cleanup] options because of liability,” said Dustin Watters, vice president of Watters Aquatech Pools and Spas in Las Vegas. “That’s the biggest challenge with coming in after someone. Even going back and trying to do your due diligence on the structure, plumbing, and hydraulics, you just never know what you’re getting yourself into.”
It is not yet known exactly how many residents claim to have been defrauded, or how much money they report Galindo taking from them. The NSCB also doesn’t know what other states he may be operating in, but says he has ties to California, New York and Texas.
The agency is issuing several tips to help local consumers protect themselves. To start, the agency recommends that homeowners always verify that a contractor is licensed by the Contractors Board.
“This ... may make them eligible for the Residential Recovery Fund, which awards up to $35,000 to homeowners of single-family residences who have been damaged by a licensed contractor,” Lewis said. “There is little recourse, outside of civil litigation, that homeowners who hire unlicensed contractors have access to.”
Lewis also recommends that homeowners obtain at least three bids; never pay in cash or pay for more than the work already performed; and ensure that contracts are detailed, in writing, and that any changes are agreed upon by both parties before action is taken on those changes.
“The Contractors Board has done a good job of educating the consumer, but you’re still going to get people who slip through the cracks,” Watters said. “And then they leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. …You feel for [the homeowners.]”
Watters tries to educate clients, which he believes is good for the industry. “That’s what it’s all about — making sure our industry isn’t hurt by those that are maliciously misleading people,” he said.
Galindo is described as 6 feet tall with a slender build, brown hair, brown eyes, and extensive tattoos on his chest and arms. The NSCB asks anyone who comes in contact with him to call its Criminal Investigations Division at (702) 486-1160. Unlicensed contracting activities should be reported to the NSCB Unlicensed Contractor Hotline: (702) 486-1160 or (775) 850-7838.