COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A builder accused for years of ripping people off is upping the ante, allegedly using the name of a legitimate building business to get jobs.
TARGET 13 first told you about Fiore Garippo in February of 2011. He was accused by many clients of doing shoddy or unfinished work, and working without the proper license and permits.
TARGET 13 has learned that Garippo is now accused of telling people that he works for Eastern Colorado Builders even though a lawyer for the now-defunct business says Garippo is "not affiliated with ECB in any way."
The owner of the company contacted the Southern Colorado Better Business Bureau to report the problem after she said Garippo ignored a cease and desist letter.
"She wanted to protect the reputation of her company, even though at this time she's no longer in operation," said Blair Reeves, chief operations officer for the BBB. "She also wanted to protect consumers."
Garippo was once working with a contractor from Eastern Colorado Builders, and talks were in the works for him to buy the rights to the business name. According to the company's attorney, Garippo never signed a contract or paid any money.
Dennis Levasseur said he met Garippo at a home and garden show, where he was using the Eastern Colorado Builders name. Levasseur checked the BBB website, saw the business had an A- rating, and hired Garippo to do some concrete work. He paid Garippo half the amount for the job up front, and said Garippo continued to ask him for more money. Levasseur said he paid $6,500 in total.
"He started never showing up. (Saying), ‘I'll be there tomorrow, the job will be done in two weeks'" said Levasseur. "Just didn't happen. It was constant phone tag, and then he just quit answering his phone."
Levasseur attempted to file a small claims suit against Eastern Colorado Builders, but soon learned Garippo wasn't authorized to use the company's name.
"I always like to trust people," said Levasseur. "He had so many stories, so many excuses, so many personal reflections. And I felt sorry for him. He promised and promised and promised. And I believed him."
Levasseur said he even paid one of Garippo's workers and a material company that Garippo had stiffed.
TARGET 13 attempted to contact Garippo, but neither one of his cell phones were working.
He had a lot to say last year when we interviewed him about the fact he was working without the proper license, and doing work that he failed to get the proper permits to complete.
"It was kind of a neglect," Garippo told TARGET 13. "I get very busy."
In addition to researching companies and contractors, the BBB recommends to only pay someone working on your home one-third the cost of the job up front.
"That's for supplies," said Reeves. "Pay one-third when they've completed the job and the last third after inspection. And that means inspection with the city, like with Pikes Peak Regional Building, or your personal inspection."