Denver woman says contractor abandoned project half-finished

Data pix.

DENVER -- A local woman is speaking out to the FOX31 Problem Solvers after she says a contractor bailed on the job and left her with a house that’s unlivable.

“There’s no electrical, there’s no plumbing, nothing. There’s no roofing. The water is coming through because there’s no roof,” Martha Saucedo said.

Saucedo and her children moved into her mother Martha’s home on Race Street two years ago. Martha suffered a stroke and needed help around the house. Saucedo hired a contractor to remodel the home and build an addition for more space. She said she was impressed with the price quote offered by the contractor, Keith Graves, with “Done Right the First Time.”

“He said the project would cost $68,000. Compared to other companies I contacted, I said, 'Wow, it’s the cheapest,'" Saucedo said.

Saucedo signed the contract Graves presented and wrote him a check for $34,000. The contract states that Saucedo must make the first payment of $34,000 due upon signing the agreement; the second payment of $17,000 would be due in one month and the final payment of $17,000 would be due upon completion of the project.

“He said, 'OK, this will be done in eight months,'" Saucedo said.

But it’s now been nearly two years and the work is not done. Saucedo ended up paying $51,000, but then said the work began to slow down.

“Then he said, 'I’m done with your project. I don’t want nothing else to do with it.' He said, 'I ran out of money and I’m walking away from it,'" Saucedo said.

The Problem Solvers discovered there is no company in Colorado called “Done Right the First Time." We went to the business address listed in the contract on Parker Road in Aurora, but when we checked the company directory, we found no business listed with that name.

We got a hold of Graves. He didn’t want to talk on camera but agreed to tell his side over the phone if it was not recorded. We asked him why he doesn’t have a current contractor’s license with the city of Denver.

FOX31: “How can you be operating and doing major renovations without a current license? That’s illegal.”

Graves said he had hired other licensed workers to the job. He said Saucedo has been hostile with him and he has no plans to pay her back because her money was put into the project – for the materials and labor. As for leaving the job, Graves pointed out there is clause in the contract he wrote that says, “The contractor has the ability to terminate this agreement 'at will.'"

For Saucedo, she’s out of money and still out of the house. She said she regrets not reading the fine print before getting involved.

“Before you pay a dollar, make sure you do some research. Find their information,” Saucedo said.

****Update: After this story aired, Aloha Builders LLC and Valor Roof and Solar met with Saucedo to offer their help in finishing her home. They have started a go fund me to raise money for supplies:  https://www.gofundme.com/marthasmarchmadness?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=fb_co_campmgmt_w&fbclid=IwAR2bNajK1xRpsUvJYFsU-l9mec-F2Owm90AcfWLMqGNtO9OqrwRN-VMDPws

If you're interested in helping, contact Eric Semingsen with Aloha Builders LLC at (808)-693-5890 or email him at eric@alohabuildersllc.com.

The Problem Solvers have these tips to keep in mind when hiring a contractor:

  • Check to make sure the contractor has a current license with the city. People who live in the city of Denver can verify a contractor’s license online. Contractors need to show their license to pick up building permits.
  • Search the Secretary of State’s website to ensure the business is legitimate.
  • Read over the entirety of the contract.
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