Complaint Review: Fontan Architecture - New York New York
Fontan Architecture Jorge Fontan Architect will take your money and you'll never hear from him again. Avoid. New York New York
We hired Jorge Fontan Architect after coming across his blog, which appeared to be informative. When we reached out to him, he immediately called us to discuss the process, the costs involved, and his ideas for the project. We were impressed by his responsiveness and apparent knowledge.
Unfortunately, we learned soon after paying him that while Jorge Fontan is a master salesman, he failed to deliver on his promises, refused to provide updates regarding the project, appeared to not know himself what the status was of our project within the relevant NYC agencies, didn't respond to our attempts to reach him, didn't respond to NYC government agency requests about the project, and generally dropped the ball.
We hired Jorge Fontan two years ago for a project involving the renovation of a townhouse in Brooklyn. After two years, we have little to show for it other than some very basic schematic diagrams that couldn't have taken more than a couple of hours max to prepare.
Jorge Fontan's lack of attention to our project began well before the Covid pandemic. We would send him an email asking about the status of the drawings and there would be no response for weeks. We didn't know whether he was actively ignoring us, overwhelmed with other work, or didn't receive our emails. At least at that point he had an assistant (her name was Scarlett) who we felt could relay our concens to Jorge. But it wasn't reassuring that we would send mulitple emails to Scarlett, on which Jorge was copied, that Jorge didn't actually respond to. Still, we kept trying to push the project forward.
Then Covid hit, and Jorge Fontan essentially fell off the map. On the rare times we would be able to connect, he would blame the NYC city agencies for the delay. For instance, in May 2020, he said he had been trying to contact the Dept of City Planning, but couldn't get a hold of them. In June 2020, he said he finally was able to connect with City Planning, but that they needed 9 months to move forward with the project. Looking back (details below), we have no idea if Jorge actually met with City Planning, or just made up a 9-month delay to get himself out from underwater. In October 2020, Jorge gave us the same story -- he was still "waiting on a response from City Planning." Finally, in February 2021, Jorge said to us that City Planning "said our application was straight forward and they have not raised any objections." We don't believe this supposed conversation actually happened. Instead, we think Jorge just made this up to justify his own delay.
In March 2021, we finally got ahold of Jorge Fontan on the phone. He made several alarming statements to us, including (1) that he has been struggling to not go out of business, (2) he laid off all of him employees, (3) he's overwhelmed because many of his clients are asking for work at the same time. Frankly, it didn't make sense to us--- if his clients are giving him so much work, why couldn't he keep paying his bills? Also, he (of course) blamed part of the delay on City Planning, saying that the planner hasn't gotten back to him. He said he had another project with City Planning that took a year and a half for their review.
At this point, we couldn't help but doubt Jorge Fontan's veracity. We thought it was even more suspicious given that we had asked Jorge for simple updates about the City Planning process and he totally ignored our emails for two months.
Finally, in May 2021, I reached out to City Planning myself. The very friendly (and accessible) staff there told me that they had never received a "Pre Application Statement" for our project and City Planning staff spoke to Jorge Fontan about what needed to happen as far back as September 2020, but just never heard back. He basically ignored communications from the Department of City Planning for months and let the project stall!! At this point, I have no idea whether Jorge Fontan is incompetent, or if he just flat out lied to us. The "Pre application statement" is the very first document to file with City Planning and Jorge Fontan never did it, but falsely represented to us for a year that he was waiting City Planning to take action on his application. He falsely told us he couldn't get in contact with City Planning, but all it took for me to track down someone was to send an email.
Finally, in June 2021, I sent Fontan Architecture an email detailing out a number of issues with Jorge Fontan's work. Among them:
-despite his representations that he was waiting on City Planning to respond to his application for over a year, it appeared he never even submitted the pre-application paperwork
-he seemed to provide timelines that he had no intention of meeting, or ignored our requests altogether
-For instance, in December 2020, he promised updated drawings in a "few weeks," but nine months later, we still didn't get them
-he promised to have a call with mechanical and structural engineers in March 2021, but six months later we don't think he ever followed through
In June 2021, I asked Jorge Fontan to confirm he was committed to the project, and if so, to provide some dates that he would try to meet for the promised deliverables. True to form, he ignored my email and my several follow up emails.
I finally called Jorge Fontan at his number, (212) 321 - 0194. He refused to speak with me anymore, and directed me to his attorney.
Unfortunately, I am now stuck with either having to file a lawsuit against Fontan Architecture, or trying to negotiate a settlement with his insurance company. It has now been over two months, and it appears we are just completely out of the money we gave Jorge Fontan. His lawyer (Elizabeth Demler at Pillinger Milller Tarallo) admitted to me that Jorge Fontan has "liquidity" issues. Who knows what this means, but it wouldn't surprise me if Jorge Fontan has squandered the money that was supposed to be used to pay engineers, filing fees, expeditors, and other vendors, and is now bankrupt. Jorge Fontan simply doesn't honor his commitments. Please avoid at all costs!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/13/2021 12:54 PM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/report/fontan-architecture/new-york-jorge-architect-take-1511863. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content
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