NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WECT) - More than 14 months after Hurricane Florence, Melissa Almodovar and her family are still living in travel trailers behind their Ogden home despite spending thousands of dollars on repairs.
“It’s very stressful. I have children, so seeing them having to live in trailers behind my house too, and I have a grandson that lives with me, a four-year-old grandson. It’s heartbreaking,” the single mom said.
Almodovar says some of the delay can be attributed to being unable to find a contractor due to the high demand the industry has seen following the storm — but not all of it.
The storm caused significant damage to her home’s roof, which she says resulted in extensive water damage to nearly every square foot of her home.
So her first move, she said, was to find a roofing company, and after having to wait for several months due to demand, she hired Above All Roofing, LLC, a company based out of Carolina Beach.
At first, she said everything seemed to be in order.
“When they came out it was all done in one day. They came out, they did everything, they told me that an inspection crew is going to come back and pick up all the excess materials and everything that they left in my driveway and do a clean up around the house for any of the debris and stuff that was left,” she said.
That didn’t happen.
“After they left, I did not see them again.”
A short time later, she said, there was a significant rain event and the new roof began to leak.
That’s when the real trouble with the company began, she said, because despite her new roof having a five-year warranty, she has been unable to get the company to return to her home to make repairs or even return her calls.
Above All Roofing, LLC is owned by Michael Boyanski and was incorporated in 2017.
According to North Carolina Secretary of State business records, the LLC was administratively dissolved in October of this year after failing to submit an annual report.
The company’s phone number — listed on advertisements published in October with promotions valid through Nov. 30 — has been disconnected.
WECT’s attempts to reach the company have been unsuccessful as well, with not only the main phone number disconnected and website “expired,” but all phone numbers listed on public documents related to the company or provided by other clients have been disconnected or have voicemail boxes that are not accepting messages.
WECT was able to reach Boyanski’s wife, who said she would forward a request for comment to the business owner, but as of the publishing of this article, no response has been received.
When told the nature of the complaints against the company, she commented there “has been another hurricane since then.”
She also declined to provide a working phone number for the business, though she claimed one exists.
Almodovar isn’t the only consumer reporting issues with Above All Roofing.
WECT obtained copies of seven individual complaints filed with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
Many of those complaints were filed before Hurricane Florence, but reported similar issues.
The company settled with one complainant, and responded to two other complaints — in one case by disputing the facts and claiming the issue was with a different roofing company, and in the other by claiming that the complaint was made by a competitor.
According to documents provided to WECT by the Attorney General’s Office, the other complaints have not been answered, though a spokesperson said the company had indicated it was preparing to respond to one filed earlier this year.
In the cases where Above All Roofing did not respond, the state says it regrets the office was unable to help resolve the dispute and directs the complainant to small claims or civil court.
Complaints have also been filed with the Better Business Bureau.
That agency itself has had issues with Above All Roofing, claiming the business was advertising to be accredited with the agency, when in fact it was not.
Above All Roofing’s website also claims the company is part of the Institute for Business & Home Safety’s FORTIFIED roofing program, which the institute denies.
“We are aware of the allegations against Above All Roofing and their unauthorized attempts to associate with the FORTIFIED Home program,” a spokesperson said by email. “Our records indicate no employees from Above All Roofing have ever completed the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety FORTIFIED Roofer training course. We hold all participants in the FORTIFIED program – both Roofers and Evaluators to a high standard and expect them to perform work professionally and diligently. We take complaints against affiliates and unauthorized association with the program seriously.”
Consumer agencies aren’t the only places customers have raised issue with the company.
Both civil- and small-claims court cases have been brought against Above All and Boyanski.
In one finalized this summer, the judge ruled the company had engaged in “unfair, unethical, and unscrupulous conduct,” and “made representations which it knew to be false” and “were deliberately made for the purpose of deceiving Plaintiffs.”
In that case, the court held both the company and Boyanski personally liable for $144,067 in damages.
Above All Roofing responded to the initial complaint by denying any wrongdoing, and even counter-sued the homeowners, but eventually failed to comply with the court’s order for discovery, and the attorneys representing the company asked to be removed from the case because the attorneys alleged Boyanski and others were being uncooperative.
Other, small-claims cases have been closed with the company paying between $1,500 and $6,500 to the complainants.
Almodovar says she is considering taking the company to court herself but has been hesitant because of the financial strain it would put on her and her family.
“I have made several attempts and I’ve done my due diligence as a customer to get a hold of them and I don’t want to have to go to legal proceedings or things like that, because like I said, I’m a single mom. I can’t afford a lawyer,” she said. “I really can’t. But I also need a roof on my house that works, that’s not going to leak and end up causing more damage than I’ve already had.”
Because the roof continues to leak, she said she has been unable to install things like drywall, flooring and insulation, because those materials are damaged as soon as another rainstorm moves through.
“I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place with a roof that leaks,” she said. “I’m trying to finish my house, but I can’t, because now every time it rains more damage is occurring.”
Other customers who contacted WECT but didn’t want to be named reported similar issues.
WECT ran a story on Above All Roofing in February 2019, when the company donated roofing services to a couple. Reporters were unaware of the above documents at the time. The company also sponsored hurricane recovery content on WECT, but staff have not been able to contact them since.
For Almodovar, her idea of a solution is simple.
“I don’t harbor ill will, I just want them to stand by their work,” she said.