Complaints mount against unlicensed contractor

Alex Ferguson facing multiple state investigations

By Mike DeForest - Investigative Reporter

GROVELAND, Fla. - An unlicensed contractor continues to solicit construction jobs in Central Florida despite being the subject of multiple state investigations, former customers tell News 6.

Alexander David Ferguson does not hold any licenses or certifications to work as a contractor in Florida, records from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation show.

Yet, as recently as December, Ferguson reportedly accepted thousands of dollars for a major construction project at a Central Florida home.

"The gentleman represented himself as a licensed and insured contractor," Kelly Livorsi said. "And it's not true."

Livorsi and her husband posted an advertisement on the website Craigslist seeking a contractor who could build a large detached garage on their rural Lake County property.

[WEB EXTRA: Search for a contractor license]

The proposed structure included a hurricane shelter sturdy enough to withstand high winds and outfitted with bathroom plumbing and electrical wiring connected to a generator.

"He told us he was able to get concrete cheaper than everybody else," said Doug Livorsi, who hired Ferguson for the job in part because of the contractor's competitive bid and apparent familiarity with the work that needed to be done.

"(Ferguson) had an answer for everything. He does know the construction business," Kelly Livorsi said.

In a signed contract the Livorsis provided to News 6, Ferguson is identified as the contractor who would be responsible for obtaining all required construction permits.

Under Florida law, only licensed or certified contractors are authorized to pull building permits unless the property owner obtains them.

The couple said they paid Ferguson a $4,885 deposit at the time they signed the contract.

Four days later, Ferguson stopped by the home and asked their adult son for an additional $9,770 to purchase materials, according to the homeowners.

[WEB EXTRA: Search for unlicensed activity complaints]

"My sister was in the middle of a surgery and (Ferguson) needed it to be able to get the cement," said Kelly Livorsi, who instructed her son to give the contractor another check.

When the concrete failed to arrive on the day it was to be delivered, the Livorsis said they unsuccessfully tried to contact Ferguson through phone calls and text messages.

"He has just fallen off the face of the earth," Kelly Livorsi said.

Suspecting a problem, the couple said they began doing online research into Ferguson.

That's when they discovered a News 6 report published last year outlining similar complaints against the contractor.

In 2015, police in Aurora, Colorado investigated allegations that a man who identified himself as Alex Ferguson had taken money from customers who hired him through Craigslist, but had failed to do the work.

The Aurora Police Department obtained an active municipal arrest warrant for Ferguson but it is only enforceable in Colorado, according to an agency spokesperson.

"I actually cleared that warrant up," Ferguson told News 6 by email.  "It had nothing to pertain about taking anyone's money.  It was over a few paint buckets but has since been done and resolved."

Police in Colorado did not immediately respond to a phone call from News 6 seeking to verify Ferguson's claim about the warrant.

At least six people have filed complaints with Florida's Department of Business and Professional Regulation since 2017 alleging that Ferguson has participated in unlicensed contracting work. 

Two of those state investigations are still open.  Two other complaints have resulted in fines totaling $6,564 while the remaining two cases were closed due to insufficient evidence for prosecution, state records show.  

The state licensing agency issued two cease and desist notices to Ferguson last year, including one prompted by a complaint from a Lake County resident.

"I just couldn't believe I got taken like that," said Marty Fuchs, who claims he paid Ferguson a $2,300 down payment for a full roof replacement at his home in 2017.

"He came across very genuine," Fuchs said. "He understood my predicament being a single parent and, at the time, unemployed."

Fuchs also filed a complaint with the Lake County Sheriff's Office, which investigated the allegations and forwarded the findings to the state attorney's office for possible criminal prosecution.   

That case remains open and active, according to authorities.

Ferguson, who has not been charged with any crimes in Florida related to his construction work, told News 6 by email there was "nothing new" with his business.

"I am not doing roofs, not anything of that nature that requires permits," Ferguson wrote.

Last year, Ferguson denied defrauding his prior customers. 

"I don't have a side to the story," Ferguson told News 6 in October.

Before Ferguson reportedly stopped returning the Livorsis phone calls, the couple said the unlicensed contractor and another man did some minor work preparing the construction site.

Ferguson also paid a licensed contractor to do some plumbing work for their garage, and a few building supplies were delivered by an outside company.

But no other work was done on their garage, according to the homeowners.

"I don't think our state is doing enough to protect us," said Doug Livorsi who, upon learning of Ferguson's past, sent a text message to the contractor instructing him to stay off their property.

Livorsi now worries that text message inadvertently made it more difficult to him to prove Ferguson walked off the job.

"We're not getting our money back. We know that. But we want to save somebody else from it," said Kelly Livorsi, who contacted News 6 in hopes of warning other homeowners about their experience with Ferguson.

"He's still out there.  And he's still going to keep doing it to other people," she said.

Copyright 2019 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.