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Homeowners' trash dumped, they say builders failed to pay bill

Posted: 11:15 PM, Dec 08, 2018
Updated: 2018-12-09 04:15:20Z

NORTH PORT, Fla. — Janet Carrillo found a big pile of trash in front of her unfinished home. She said Z’s Disposal which owns the dumpsters emptied them due to lack of payment from Harden Dukes Custom Homes.

So, she reached out to Z’s.

“Sure enough they told me that HD homes had told them there’s no money. Pick up the dumpsters. You’re not going to get paid,” she said.

Stephen Dukes has not responded to request for comment as of Saturday night.

Z’s disposal office is closed on weekends, but Carrillo said she paid $350 for them to return the dumpster. She and her husband will have to put all of the trash back inside the dumpster when it returns.

They weren’t the only ones who have had trash dumped out of dumpsters. In fact, they said they’re lucky compared to several other homeowners. One said the wind carried away trash and she had to collect it all before she got fined.

Carrillo said some of the trash dumped on her front lawn doesn’t even belong to her. But she said she has bigger issues to worry about than the pile of trash.

She paid HD $190,000 for an incomplete home. Between liens on the house because of unpaid subcontractors and loan interest rates increasing to up to $700 as of last month because of prolonged construction, Carrillo said she got fed up with paying and seeing no results.

A text from Dukes in September showed he promised Carrillo the home would be finished by the end of October if she continued paying. And as of Saturday, it’s still not done.

“I paid somebody to do this. I paid HD to finish my house,” she said. “When I tell you that’s super frustrating because that’s not the type of work that I do. I’m in social services. I don’t deal with this.”

But now she said she has to. The house is about 80 percent complete and Carrillo and her husband are now permitted as the owner-builders. That means they’ll oversee the last touches on their home including electricity and air conditioning installation.

But she said her troubles probably won’t stop once the home is done.

“There’s HD homeowners who have already moved in with the punch list that things are still wrong in their house and their still dealing with it. So even when I move into my house, it doesn’t guarantee that we’ll have sanity or peace of mind,” she said.

Despite the setbacks, Carrillo said she and her family plan to move into their home by the beginning of next year.