In April 2006, we signed a pool contract with Karl Keene, and work began a couple of weeks later. As a former building contractor, I checked out Karl's other projects, and asked the requisite questions about his crews and equipment, but Karl pretty much lied to us about everything.
Long story short, I wound up firing Karl and his alleged company about 5 months later, and finished the pool myself.
Would I hire Karl Keene/Presidential Pools again?
Well, the short answer would have to be no.
But with proper precautions and understanding, the answer shifts to a qualified MAYBE.
In 2006, Karl was just starting his Presidential Pools business. I truly believe Karl has a good heart, but lacks business experience, and doesn't have good organizational skills. He does have a winning personality, but like many other construction salesman, tries to take too much on at once and confuses successful good salesmanship with simply lying to people.
It's not the same thing, and the landscape is littered with pool companies, aluminum siding, and other fly-by-night startups that bear mute witness to the problem. (I told him this, back in 2006!)
There's no future in lying to people and cheating them. It catches up with the perpetrator, every single time. And now Karl has earned a name for himself on the complaint boards. He's probably sitting around right now, trying to figure out how to change his name. But he should be trying to figure out how to fix his reputation with the damage he's caused to people.
I was madder than hell at Karl and his lack of integrity, but I didn't sue him because he didn't have anything to attach if I won the lawsuit. He even sent me a poison pen letter at the end, threatening me, and in return, I offered to "blow his effing head off, if he ever stepped foot on my property again!" Lol...so this was not a minor detail disagreement !
But I liked his crew of Richard, Mario, Armando and the elderly father (Mumo?) that worked right along with them. They were clean, neat, no peeing in sight of the house, and I never had anything stolen (except with Karl's weasel pool electronics contractor). They didn't swear (in English, anyway) and were always friendly so I could leave the kids outside and it was a real family-friendly atmosphere, when everyone showed up to work. During the 2006 World Soccer Cup finals, I even invited them inside, put down some towels on the furniture (cement-covered clothes), and fed them while they watched the big screen games!
But we had a VERY complicated pool design with a drop-beam edge on the front, and tiered steps going up a hill on the sides, with a beautiful 2 ton keystone rock slab (real, not fake) waterfall in the middle and spa at the top -- all built into a slight hill in our backyard.
And not only did the water line stay level within 1/8" all around the pool circumference, but the rock work was placed with matching swirls so that it looks sort of like the Grand Canyon at sunset.. It reminds me of floating down the Colorado River in Arizona.
A truly GORGEOUS job, once it was done.
True, the parts that didn't work caused me a real headache and a lot of $$ to fix, and his (worthless) concrete stamping subcontractor screwed up my new patio and brick work in the back of the house, but this kind of stuff simply happens in construction, and that's why those "huge profits" that contractors seem to make, aren't so huge when the contractor has integrity to fix problems and does the right thing.
Zars pools seems to have a reputation for taking care of customers after the last check is written, and while a good reputation seems "optional" to new construction businesses, it's a lot harder to live a nice life, when people are chasing you.
Just ask Karl.
San Marcos, Tx.
P.S. If you really want to get hold of Karl, I might still be able to find him. I had a private investigator follow him for a while, so I know more than most people probably do. Let me know if I can be of help, but don't expect to find him sitting on a pile of money that you can attach. He co-mingles funds and reporting him to the IRS is usually the best "revenge" for someone like this, but it's highly unlikely that you'll recover cash, imo.Who knows, maybe Karl will wake up before it's too late to ever use his family's good name again.
San Marcos, Texas
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