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Shoddy roof work raises red flags for Council Bluffs homeowner

Published: Nov. 15, 2021 at 10:29 PM CST
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - A 6 News Investigation goes into a roofer who left more damage than he fixed. The disabled homeowner didn’t recognize red flags that may have saved money and heartache.

In the middle of a roof replacement, a contractor left Danette Perez-Caballero far from high and dry.

“It came dripping on my bed right here and I was surprised because he said it was watertight and I woke up to this mess,” said Perez-Caballero.

After a text apology from the disappearing contractor, James Tackett promised he’s going to get the roof done.

“And he started asking for more money and I said I need paperwork to know what you’re doing, what this is costing me because you told me originally $6,500,” said Perez-Caballero.

That’s what Danette paid contractor James Tackett who she says went with her to city hall and instructed her as the homeowner to pull the permit. The Better Business Bureau sees that as a red flag.

“I think we discovered in this case that in Council Bluffs, the company was not licensed which is probably why they ask the consumer to pull the permit,” said Jim Hegarty, Better Business Bureau.

James Tackett is not only unlicensed but appears unknowledgeable about good roofing practices.

“We found that he covered up the roof vents which I didn’t know walking up there, I could have fell through the roof. He just went ahead and did the shoddiest work I’ve ever seen,” said Anthony Winslow.

Licensed contractor Anthony Winslow took photos of the work left by the first contractor.

Unfinished and uncovered tear off that produced leaks. Shingles folded and nailed over where a flat rubber roof should be installed.

Reliable Home Improvements repairs the roof at a reduced price but increases the homeowner’s peace of mind.

But Danette breaks down describing how she just moved from Washington D.C. to a quieter and trusting lifestyle in Iowa. Thanks to the help of a family friend and a qualified contractor, the ceiling leaks will be whipped away, and hopefully so will the tears.

The original roofer, James Tackett of North Platte, Nebraska, has a full voicemail, and our texts haven’t been answered. The Council Bluffs building official is investigating and could issue Tackett a civil penalty for doing work without a contractor’s license.

Lessons learned include checking with your local inspectors for permits and licenses. State registration isn’t always enough and the Better Business Bureau recommends paying no more than one-third upfront.

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