EDGEWATER, Fla. – The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office has opened a fraud investigation against a local pool builder after several customers complained that the contractor took their money without completing their pools.
James “Jimmy” Griffin, 40, is President of Aquatic Daze Custom Pools and Spas, a Port Orange-based company that has been operating since 2007.
Griffin, who holds an active state certification as a pool builder, has been accused of failing to complete several pool building projects with minimal on-site work.
A News 6 reporter stopped by Griffin looking for a comment on the story. When Griffin approached the reporter on the street, he denied being the contractor and drove off in his truck without talking about his pooling business.
Griffin also didn’t reply to a message from his parents, who live in a house in Port Orange that Griffin uses for his company’s mailing address.
“We saved and budgeted money to finally get our dream pool. It should be a Christmas pool,” said Mary Kay Steflik. “We signed the contract in August. And nothing happened. He kept making excuses.”
Steflik said she and her husband paid Griffin $ 21,000, but claims he just moved a buried cable, laid some concrete footers, and helped another worker lay the rebar.
“He didn’t even dig a hole or anything,” said Steflik. “He’s probably only come four or five times and worked maybe an hour or two. And the whole time he was texting his cell phone.”
Steflik said Griffin stopped visiting her home and answering her calls in December.
Another customer, James Rothholz, said he last heard from Griffin in November after paying the contractor more than $ 30,000 to build a garden pool.
“I consider myself a pretty good judge of character, but boy, I screwed it up on this case,” said Rothholz, who signed a deal with Aquatic Daze Pools in July.
According to Rothholz, Griffin dug the hole for the pool, installed rebar and hired a subcontractor to spray Gunite concrete.
Rothholz claims that the pool contractor disappeared before the plumbing installation began.
“He said, ‘I’ll be back tomorrow. I’ll work all day.’ But we never saw him, “said Rothholz. “I kept leaving text messages and he didn’t reply.”
Gunite’s subcontractor placed a lien on Rothholz after claiming Griffin paid him no more than $ 5,500 for the job.
Rothholz later commissioned another pool builder to complete the pool.
“We had to pay twice for this thing,” he said. “A job of $ 35,000 has grown to nearly $ 70,000.”
Rothholz has filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation in hopes that the state licensing agency will suspend or revoke Griffin’s certification.
He and Steflik have also filed complaints with law enforcement agencies.
Griffin is currently being prosecuted on an independent matter.
In December, Volusia County Sheriff’s MPs arrested Griffin and two other men after investigators said the agency’s helicopter captured video of them using grinders and paint to hide vehicle identification numbers on three stolen utility vehicles.
Griffin pleaded not guilty of theft, manipulation of evidence and possession of vehicles with changed chassis numbers.
At least two customers of Griffin’s pool business have filed suits in the Volusia County Court alleging the contractor failed to complete its work.
Steflik and Rothholz are also considering legal action.
“We thought we could trust him,” said Steflik. “We saw some of his work and just let ourselves be fooled, like so many other people.”
“If nothing else, I hope that his name comes out there and that people remember the name and not get involved in it like we do,” said Rothholz. “Take care of yourself. Be careful.”
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