In December of 2007, we contracted Juan Rudek to be the general contractor on our large home remodeling project. At that time he asked for and was given 30% of the budget or about $74,000. We thought that was high, but he said he was going to need it to get the small amount of work upstairs done quicky and to then get started right away on the large main project. Our architect thought it would be alright.
While doing the work upstairs we incurred approx. $7,400 of change order charges which we also paid him. So, He was paid over $81,000.
The upstairs was supposed to take 8 weeks; it took 16 weeks. He delayed and delayed and delayed. The project was supposed to be finished by June 1st. By June 1st the downstairs had not even begun.
At the beginning of July we began to ask him for a break down of how the money had been spent; no response, other than "I'll get that to you". He didn't . We met each week, and asked each week with always the same answer.
We were ready to begin the foundation work the end of April; digging finally began 11 weeks later on Tues.July 22nd.
On Thursday July 24,2008, Juan called us to say there was some problem with the soil and we needed to meet the next morning. We were there, he wasn't. We spoke to the concrete worker who was a family member of the family-owned concrete company. He told us that there was a little unsuitable soil that he had found around the foundation, but it was in the pile of dirt in the back of the property, and he had not found any more. He also mentioned something about additional concrete which at the time, We didn't understand.
Juan finally arrived 30 minutes later and when we told him what we had just been told, he said"really!" and that was that. We heard nothing more for several days.
On Thursday July 31st, we read an email from Juan with charges for over $9,000 for the removal of contaminated soil and for additional concrete! Included in that $9,000 was 13% for Juan.
We resolved the concrete issue (those charges were dropped), but the unsuitable soil issue remained. Juan also told us that the soil that remained on our property was not suitable for backfill and it would be about $7500 to haul that away. We suggested having the soil tested and Juan advised against it.
We went ahead and had a professional lab test the soil and the tests came back clean. There was nothing unsuitable about our soil at all.
In the meantime, we pointed out to Juan that, not only was the soil clean, but no change order had been submitted or approved by us prior to this soil being taken from our property.In fact, we didn't know anything about contaminated soil being removed from our property until we received the email with the $9200 in charges. And becasue our contract clearly states that all change orders must be in writing and approved PRIOR to the work being done, we were not liable for these charges.
In addition, the invoice for the trucking charges that was finally shown to us days later, was from a company that was also owned by the concrete company-the same people claiming the soil was unsuitable to begin with.
There continued to be discussions and delays. We contacted an attorney, experts in the construction field and the actual dump sites. We wrote Juan a letter stating our position and advising him that the continued delays were in violation of his contract.
In the meantime, we had massive rains, and the overdig hole collapsed encroaching on our neighbors property, causing our city officials to get involved.
On September 23rd, 8 weeks after the digging had begun and 5 weeks after the foundation work should have been completed,we requested arbitration. Juan said"fine", but never did anything about it.
Per Juan's request, on September 30th, we had a meeting with Juan, the owner of the concrete company, our arquitect, and ourselves. The concrete owner wanted to be paid for the trucking charges before he would finish the job. We told Juan that if he had told the concrete owner that he would pay him, then he should pay him, but we weren't going to pay for those suspect and inappropriate charges. With that, Juan walked off the job.
The concrete owner insisted that we pay $4600 or else he wouldn't finish pouring the concrete and backfilling the job.With the city officials and our neighbors on our backs, we reluctantly paid the additional $4600.
At the time Juan walked off the job, only 15% of the job had been completed. In addition, he was responsible for the $4600 we had to pay the concrete owner, and the expenses involved in restoring our neighbors property. In all, he walked away owing us over $30,000!
We have to finish the project, but are having great difficulty without that money, plus our construction loan is due to mature in 8 weeks.
Oh, and did I mention that Juan submitted a falsifed, notarized sworn statement?
Juan or his attorney have not responded to our letters; how can we get our money back from him?