A Houston-area builder is reported to have abandoned several pools and received especially tough media coverage when it surfaced that one of the installations was meant for a special needs child.
Jaymon Comeaux, 5, suffers several disabilities, including blindness, an inability to walk, and cerebral palsy, from being shaken as an infant. Linda and Richard Comeaux, the great aunt and uncle who adopted Jaymon, reached out to Bellar Pools of Houston to build an inground pool because swimming helps keep the youngster’s legs from atrophying, Linda Comeaux said.
“I called Bellar because my granddaughter’s friend’s mom had used them before, but hers was a renovation,” said Comeaux of Cypress, Texas. Bellar Pools quoted a small pool at a discounted price of approximately $37,000. Comeaux later was told that it should have been quoted at $53,000 to $60,000.
After the pool was dug and gunite shot, problems began. The plumbing was never put in, Comeaux said, and crews started cutting into the gunite to place the plumbing. Shortly after, she said, her calls were not returned by company owner Jay Bellar, his son Jared, or listed co-owner Lisa Hileman. Eventually, Comeaux said, an employee confirmed the company had closed.
Soon after, the company’s website went down and the Bellar family disappeared from Facebook and other social media websites. Online, Bellar Pools is not faring well. On Yelp, the firm has a one-star rating out of five, based on consumer reviews. The Better Business Bureau has given Bellar Pools an F- rating and reports it has received 10 complaints in the past year.
The Harris County District Attorney has received complaints, but would not say if it is conducting an investigation. According to local news accounts, the DA’s office said it had received eight complaints.
When a news crew for the local NBC affiliate went to Jay Bellar’s home, it had been cleared out. At press time no one had been able to locate Bellar or Hileman.
Besides the Comeauxs, the local news station discussed another homeowner who also said his pool was abandoned. Comeaux said she knew of six or seven others. “From what I understand, they’ve been robbing Peter to pay Paul,” she said.
A former employee said this comes fairly soon after Bellar and Hileman had to close another company. Tracy Michalak said she met the pair in 2008, when they all worked for another pool builder. Bellar and Hileman left in 2011 to form Redman Pools with another professional, said Michalak, who served as its regional lead manager. Redman closed its doors in early 2013, Michalak said, after which Bellar and Hileman opened Bellar Pools. Michalak worked there until September 2014, when she left because of nonpayment, she said.
Some of Bellar Pools’ subcontractors have placed liens on homes to collect payment. Michalak related one story of a customer who had to pay $40,000 just in liens.
For the Comeaux family, this story has a happy ending. Several Houston-based pool builders stepped in to offer their help.
Comeaux chose Austin-based PSN Top Builder Cody Pools because it offered to finish the pool for free. The company is even adding a pool lift, which hadn’t been in the original plans.
Mike Church, president/CEO of Cody Pools, said that his employees contacted him with the story and “I replied, ‘I want to finish the pool and take care of it.’”
For her part, Comeaux is extremely grateful, “I can’t even tell you how good they are, considering what I came from to them. It’s heaven,” she said.
Since her appearance on Channel 2 news, people have offered her money and support, Comeaux said.
Because Bellar Pools’ phone number no longer works, the owners could not be reached for comment.