Veteran gets suspicious about home contractor after seeing Problem Solvers story

Problem Solvers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has investigated and disciplined a man the Problem Solvers first told you about last year. Now, the case provides lessons for other homeowners facing issues with contractors who perform bad work or don’t have licenses.

One of Stan Young’s former victims spoke to the Problem Solvers about his experience with Young, which occurred after the Problem Solvers’ original story aired. The Army veteran, who did not want to share his last name in order to protect his family, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the dead of winter a few years ago. Brendan moved his family south to a warmer climate so he would not have to relive the injury. They bought a home in Cordova, but knew it needed some work.

“We have a small child with medical disabilities. We needed a proper kitchen. The old one wasn’t cutting it,” he said.

In February, he went to the Home Show of the Mid-South and met Stan Young, eventually signing a contract for a kitchen remodel. Brendan paid the first installment: $9,000 for new cabinets. But he said weeks went by without any work materializing.

“They kept delaying it. Jim was supposed to come to my house for this, for that. He would never show up,” he said of Young’s sub-contractor, Jim Disalvo.

Late last year, the Problem Solvers uncovered a case of the pair doing shoddy work on a home struck by lightning and Jim Disalvo’s extensive background of criminal charges and fines for contracting without a license.

When Brendan got suspicious and started doing his own research, he found that story and connected with the other homeowner.  

“We became close friends since then, talked numerous times. Everything I said, this is exactly what Jim said, Stan said,” Brendan said. “It’s basically like a show they put on the two of them.”

He followed his new friend’s lead; he filed a lawsuit in Shelby County and a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

“We need the public to tell us, contact us and file complaints with us,” said Kevin Walters with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

In Shelby County, you need a home improvement license to do work for more than $3,000 and in the state of Tennessee, you need a contractors license for work more than $25,000.

You can verify those licenses online, before signing a contract.

“Verify.tn.gov has up-to-the-minute license information on over 380,000 professionals in Tennessee that we license,” Walters said.

But if you’re past that point like Brendan and ready to file a complaint, you’ll need documentation of the incident, including contracts, invoices, photos, videos and text messages if you have them.

“We open an investigation, we talk to you, talk to the person you say treated you unfairly.  Based on that information we either move forward with potential disciplinary action or not,” Walters said.

The Problem Solvers wanted to give Young a chance to respond to the latest allegations but before we could ask, he threatened us and slammed the door.

“Don’t come on my driveway. I’ll shoot you,” Young said.

In both cases against Young, the board for licensing contractors did move forward with disciplinary action.

In the consent order for Brendan’s case, Young waived his right to a hearing, admitting he contracted without a license, agreeing to a $500 fine and signing the document.

“Saying and pretending you have a license when you in fact don’t, is a violation of state law,” Walters said.

“I’m shocked the fine was so small but the fact he admitted he did this is one thing,” Brendan said.

We asked Walters about the fine amount and if he could explain how the board reached that conclusion.

Walters said the penalties are based on state code and judgments from similar past cases. Reporting is important because “the disciplinary history is taken into consideration when assessing additional civil penalties in the future.”

That’s extra important for this veteran, because he said Young targeted his vulnerability.

“They distinctly knew our situation as a whole, my wife, my children’s medical issues, mine,” Brendan said. “Hopefully he doesn’t do more business and no one gives him any business. He doesn’t deserve any business.”

If you have a problem you need solved with the help of WREG’s Problem Solvers, email Stacy at stacy.jacobson@wreg.com.

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