PORT ORANGE, Fla. – Nearly one year after a Central Florida couple paid a local company to renovate their kitchen, they say the job is still not complete with thousands of dollars in materials yet to be delivered.
The contractor they hired, Chuck Ogden, pleaded no contest last week to performing unlicensed work in a different renovation job. He was also accused of failing to deliver materials on that project, court records show.
In an email to News 6, Ogden acknowledged that he has not completed work at the Port Orange home, claiming he will finish the job when the customers make their final payment.
Yet according to the written contract signed by the homeowners, final payment is not due until the job is done.
"I feel violated," said customer Gabriele Street. "Basically, I couldn't have felt worse if he came in and robbed us."
Couple hires unlicensed contractor
When Gabriele and Rick Street were planning their kitchen renovation last year, they found an advertisement for Ogden's company, East Coast Countertops.
"He rubbed us as a good guy," said Rick Street. "I checked him out. Obviously not good enough."
According to the couple's contract with Ogden, the $44,400 renovation job included the installation of new cabinets, countertops, floor tile and crown molding.
None of those tasks require the contractor to hold a state license, according to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
However, the contract also notes that the Street's project included "electrical and plumbing," tasks that must typically be done by a specialty contractor who holds a state certification or registration.
State records show Ogden does not hold licenses to do electrical or plumbing work, nor is he a licensed general contractor.
According to the Streets, the contractor agreed to install new ceiling can lights and electrical outlets to power lights above and below the cabinets.
The couple said the job also required the installation of new sink plumbing.
According to the state's professional licensing agency, contractors must have a license to install light fixtures, replace electrical outlets or perform plumbing work if the lines are connected to drinking water.
Ogden did not respond to questions submitted by email from News 6 asking who he intended to perform the electrical and plumbing work.
According to the Streets, Ogden never completed the plumbing part of the job.
However, they claim he subcontracted the electrical work to an acquaintance who did work on their kitchen.
"I asked (the subcontractor) if he was a licensed electrician as he was packing up," Rick Street told News 6. "He said no, he doesn't have a license."
Last week, in an unrelated matter, Ogden pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a license.
According to state investigators, the City of Daytona Beach Shores refused to give Ogden a permit to do a condominium renovation project because he did not have a required general contractor license.
As part of a plea deal, prosecutors asked a judge to withhold a conviction on Ogden's record if he pays a yet-to-be-determined amount of restitution to the victim.
Besides performing unlicensed work, state investigators claim Ogden refused to provide cabinets that had been paid for by the victim.
The Streets also claim Ogden also failed to deliver materials needed for their kitchen renovation.
Customers still waiting on materials after paying $43,000
The Streets paid Ogden $33,000 in September 2018 to begin the kitchen renovation work, according to cancelled checks the couple provided to News 6.
Less than two months later, they claim the contractor demanded more money.
"He came back and wanted another $9,000 so he could buy countertops," said Rick Street.
After paying the additional money, the couple said they agreed to give Ogden another $1,000 the following month.
By then, the Streets had paid most of the kitchen renovation costs outlined in the contract, leaving an upaid balance of about $1,400.
The customers are not required to pay the remaining balance until the job is complete, according to the contract.
"Final payment of all moneys due shall be made to East Coast Countertops by Customer on the date of completion," the contract states. "Payment by Customer is an admission that the project was completed to the Customer's satisfaction and in accordance with professional standards of workmanship."
According to the Streets, the work has not been completed, and certainly not to their satisfaction.
"We didn't have a working kitchen," said Gabriele Street. "We had no kitchen sink for months and months and months."
Besides failing to deliver and install the sink, the Streets claim Ogden still has not given them their $8,000 countertops.
The couple told News 6 they eventually had to pay another company to re-purchase the sink and countertops at an additional expense so they could use their kitchen.
"We just wanted it done," said Rick Street, who refuses pay Ogden the final $1,400. "I'm really angry."
In an email to News 6, Ogden claimed the Streets owe him much more: $5,300.
However, in response to an online complaint filed by the Streets on the Better Business Bureau website, Ogden claimed the couple only owed him $2,500.
News 6 asked Ogden how he calculated the $5,300 balance and why that figure more than doubled since he responded to the couple's online complaint three months earlier.
"It’s really complicated and I’d rather not go into details," Ogden wrote in an email to News 6. "Rick and I had many verbal conversations and agreements. When he’s ready to go to court I’ll have my attorney there."
Ogden then acknowledged he still has not finished the Streets' kitchen renovation.
"My last words are that I did 85% of his job and once I’m paid the balance I’ll finish the rest," Ogden told News 6.
The Streets deny there have been any verbal agreements outside of the initial written contract.
"He walked off with a lot of money," said Gabriele Street. "We just really thought he was a nice guy."