JEFFERSON CITY (WATE) – A woman in Jefferson City said no to a pool contractor, who requested that he be paid in full before the job was completed. It turned out that it was good that she held her own.
The plumber has a history with the police in southwest Florida. Tracee Fitzpatrick believed she had done her homework when she bought a fiber optic pool earlier this summer. She had no idea what was going to happen in the next six weeks.
Fitzpatrick should now be swimming in her new pool. In late June, the back yard of Fitzpatrick’s house was excavated and a large hole was dug when the 11 by 21 foot pool was lowered. It’s a fiberglass pool, the Opal model, sold by South Carolina’s Barrier Reef. A local dealer set it up.
“He wanted a $ 7,500 deposit before he did something, which we did,” she said.
Fitzpatrick said the contract then called for an additional $ 8,250, which she paid immediately after the pool delivered and setup began.
Lucas Hornstein, a Barrier Reef dealer, is a local pool operator. Fitzpatrick said Hornstein told her the job would last a maximum of 10 days in good weather. It wasn’t long before the pumps were installed, the sockets and filters plugged in, and the plumbing from the pool set up, when Luke Hornstein requested his final draw – payment in full.
“I only withheld $ 8,500. I was afraid to give him more. I said, “You have to exit the pool.” So it says on the remaining stock, the remaining payment. We didn’t need another tie, ”said Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick told Hornstein to keep the contract. Instead, he gave up.
Fitzpatrick Googled his name and came up with this police mug shot of Lucas Hornstein after his arrest in Florida. Work on the pool stopped weeks ago. Fitzpatrick exchanged several messages with Hornstein that contained graphical content.
A few weeks ago electrical subcontractors wanted $ 2,000.
“Then I meet people at my door, such as the electrics that were made. He wrote a bad check to the electrical company, ”she said.
A pool company disclaimer states that they are not responsible for the actions of their dealers.
“I think it is your responsibility to make sure you are bound, insured and have no criminal record,” said Fitzpatrick.
Hornstein wasn’t immediately available on the phone so WATE 6 On Your Side left a message. He later returned it with another message: “This is Lucas Hornstein. I received your message through Mrs. Fitzpatrick. I don’t have bad feelings about her or the decisions she made. I don’t really understand what happened. I wouldn’t mind trying to quit the job. I would be very happy to speak to you. “
Since that call, Hornstein has not returned any additional calls or spoken to Fitzpatrick. However, he has changed his company name from Smoky Mountain Pools to Sunny Pools and his claims show that he is still a Barrier Reef Pools dealer.
The South Carolina company said, “It is not common for its dealers to ask for full payment until the pool is ready.” While the company said it “does not conduct background police checks on its potential dealers, Hornstein’s bank and employment references have been satisfactory.”
Barrier Reef said it is “proud to offer a quality product through its dealer base” and has “terminated Mr. Hornstein as an approved dealer for the company”.
Now there is a new issue at Fitzpatrick. The pool has shifted due to erosion from recent rains.
“You can see the original burial hole that was too big for the pool. And now, when my pool was originally level, it’s now about an inch, ”she said.
The pool may need to be removed. Fitzpatrick said Barrier Reef supported them, but quitting the job would take time.
“I won’t have a pool until October,” she said.
Barrier Reef said it will do whatever it takes to see that Fitzpatrick is perfectly happy with their pool. She has also filed a civil lawsuit against Hornstein, which is expected to go to court later this month.