I-Team: Nailed - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

I-Team: Nailed

Posted: Updated:
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Homeowners beware. A local contractor is making the rounds, possibly in your neighborhood.  He's not licensed and residents say he owes thousands. Baker resident Tina Ellwood says she quickly became a victim after routine roof work turned into her personal nightmare.

"I don't know how he can look himself in the mirror knowing he stole my money,"

She says Orlando Johnson, 44, from Scotlandville took her money on September 26th, then took off.

Elwood says Johnson quoted her $8,700 for her entire roof, asking for $4,700 up front. She says she paid him with two checks, and then never saw him again. Her roof has since been finished by another contractor.

"He's probably been doing it a long time and I know he's still doing this and he needs to be stopped," she said.

Records show Johnson had not one, but two warrants out for his arrest for misapplication of payments. One was related to the Tina Elwood roofing deal issued on October 4th, and another for allegedly bailing on another roofing project which we're told he started back in June.

Elwood says when she called authorities in early October they were well aware of Johnson's history. In fact, a deputy brought a photograph of him to Elwood's house.

"If they had picked him up before September for that first warrant, he wouldn't have done it to me," she said.

Johnson finally turned himself in on October 20th, just a few days after 9 News began investigating the matter. This was four months after his original June warrant. He bonded out of jail the next day. Captain Anthony Ponton with the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office says his team responded as soon as possible.

"The address we had was his mother's address. Between the cooperation of his mother and attorney, they were trying to work out when he could turn himself in," he said

9 News asked Johnson to speak about the matter several times. After calling his four phone numbers and getting nowhere, we went to an address listed under his name. It's the same address listed on this warrant issued for him in June, where law enforcement had trouble finding him.

No answer there either. Johnson finally called us back but told us he did not want to speak about the cases. Johnson is no stranger to the Baton Rouge Better Business Bureau. They gave him an "F" rating for customer service, the worst possible rating.

Michael McDuff is the executive director of the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors and knows Orlando Johnson as well. He says Johnson has never been licensed, and it would be illegal to do any contract work or even advertise. Johnson advertised and allegedly operated with several business cards under the name Johnson Construction. 

"Pay attention before you do business with someone who claims to be a contractor. Verify they are licensed. Get three bids and check references," McDuff says.

Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow