It’s a first: A contractor has been arrested for doing pool work without a pool service and repair license in the state of Connecticut.
“This is important for the industry because it supports properly licensed people working on pools, and it sends the message that the state takes these laws seriously,” said Lawrence Caniglia, executive director of the Northeast Spa & Pool Association.
Joseph Verardi Jr., owner of JV Landscaping in Bristol, Conn., undertook coping and tile repair work on a residential pool in Bristol. While the landscaper had a home improvement contractor license, he does not possess the limited pool maintenance and repair contractor license, SP-1.
In summer 2015, homeowner Samantha Mendolia wanted to renovate her 37-year-old gunite pool. The tile and coping needed replacing, and a new pool finish applied.
Her service technician, Ray Rescildo, owner of Certified Pool & Spa in Plymouth, Conn., alerted a colleague that the renovation job was coming up for bids. So Rob Romano, general manager of Dave Cooke Plaster Co. in South Windsor, Conn., made a bid. Verardi, the homeowner’s landscaper, also made a bid, and at some point said he had experience with this kind of work, Mendolia said in an email exchange between her and Verardi. The homeowner wanted to be nice to the guy who’d been working for her, she said, so she awarded the tile and coping work to Verardi. Romano was retained to apply the pool finish.
Verardi started the renovation job in June 2015. While on the property going about their service and pool finish work, Rescildo and Romano observed incorrect renovation procedures, such as the paver overhanging the pool foundation by 4- to 6 inches. The homeowner was notified and spoke with Verardi, who walked off the job, Mendolia said. She fired the landscaper and turned over the entire renovation to Romano.
Mendolia also took civil action, contacting the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, which issues the SP-1 contractor license, and handles disputes between consumers and businesses. After the DCP confirmed that he did not have a license, Mendolia also filed a complaint with the local Small Claims Court, asking for $4,500 in damages from Verardi. The case was dismissed, so the homeonwer decided to pursue it as a criminal case. She contacted the Bristol Police Department, which researched the matter and arrested Verardi, charging him with “performing craftsman work without a license,” a class B misdemeanor. He posted $5,000 bond and was released.
Verardi has pleaded not guilty, and a pretrial hearing was set for Sept. 26 (after press time).
The case could go to trial, or the defendant could make a plea deal at the pretrial hearing, said Lt. Richard Guerrera of the Bristol Police Department. He estimates the case can take up to a year.
Verardi’s attorney, Alfred Morrocco Jr., did not reply to a request for comment.