STUART, Fla. — The Martin County Sheriff's Office posted to social media Tuesday, informing the public that deputies had started receiving complaints about Pro Pool Builders, LLC, alleging misappropriation of funds and fraud.
Detectives are looking into the at least 8 complaints they have received from customers so far.
WPTV has contacted other law enforcement agencies in the area, learning so far that Port St. Lucie police have taken 12 complaints against the company and Stuart police also received one complaint.
Numerous customers who contacted WPTV said they paid for pools to be completed but have not received all the work they paid for, or they said the company no longer responds to their calls.
Angela and Barry O'Sullivan consider themselves victims of Pro Pool Builders and have filed complaints with law enforcement, the Florida Attorney General's Office and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
WPTV contacted the DBPR. A spokesperson said they cannot legally confirm the existence of any investigation but encouraged concerned customers to make a report through the DBPR website.
The O'Sullivans have barely lived a year in their new home in Ocean Breeze in Martin County. They had a plan to add a dream addition to their new home.
"As my husband's a disabled veteran, we wanted to build what was called a spool, more of a Jacuzzi, therapeutic," Angela O'Sullivan said.
Two of their neighbors have pools that were completed in the past by Pro Pool Builders, giving them no reservations in also hiring the company to do their pool.
They signed the dotted line on Nov. 16, 2021, and have since paid for more than 65% of the project — more than $38,000.
A specific completion date was not specified in the contract, but O'Sullivan said they were told a timeline.
"About four to five months, but that didn't seem like it was going to be a problem," O'Sullivan said.
But not even 10 days after signing their contract, a letter from Pro Pool Builder's management went to customers on Nov. 23. The letter stated:
"As most are aware we have been striving to maintain our commitments with timely construction of your pool project. We have been challenged over the past few months with significant weather delays, labor pool and material shortages. To overcome these issues we have hired an additional 3 crews and acquired more essential heavy equipment to handle construction projects. We are currently completing all the contracts signed in April and May of 2021. Despite all the construction delays, signing to swimming is running 7-8 months. The frustration with construction has been allayed with the quality of our pools. The wait is truly worth it. We sincerely appreciate our customers patience and understanding as these delays have been out of our control.
Our current rate limiting factor is concrete/ gunite shell installation. We and our customers have been at the mercy of continuous delays in shooting the pool shell after excavation. To prevent cave in and re excavation we have been forced to slow our dig list.
Good news! Pro Pool Builders has partnered and invested in a local concrete company. We are very excited about the merger and partnership which will translate into significant improvement in completion times. In the first quarter of the year we were at a 95% completion rate in 90 days after issued permit. We sincerely believe our time to completion will continue to improve with the acquisition and the quality of our pools will be the best in the business.”
O'Sullivan said none of these issues were disclosed to her at her signing. Work started for a couple of months.
"They haven't been here since Jan. 20," O'Sullivan said. "They dug this hole, made this mess. The fence is falling in. We're in an HOA. We have a responsibility to make sure this is done in a timely fashion. We intend to pursue this to the fullest extent of the law."
She also said she now can't get in touch with anyone at the company.
"We're not getting responded to," O'Sullivan said. "It's going to voicemail."
Pro Pool Builders has also not yet responded to WPTV's requests for comment.
O'Sullivan started a customer Facebook page to bring more frustrated customers together to seek solutions, finding customers across the Treasure Coast and in Palm Beach County who share similar frustrations.
"It's absolutely heartbreaking," O'Sullivan said.
WPTV is still pulling permit records, but so far has found that, in Port St. Lucie, Pro Pool Builders obtained permits to build 24 pools in the last nine months, but none have been listed as closed or completed.
Martin County shows at least 10 permits currently issued under Pro Pool Builders, dating back to August 2021.
Customers said they will be voicing their concerns to county leaders at an upcoming Martin County meeting.
Some of Pro Pool Builders' customers were also victims of Amore Pools, whose owners were arrested last year on charges related to scheming to defraud customers and taking millions of dollars. Some of those customers now worry they might have to start looking for a third company to finish their pools.