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N4T Investigators: Tucson pool builder now unlicensed after multiple customer complaints

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Pool Problems

 For more than two months, the News 4 Tucson Investigators have been looking into customer complaints against Tucson-based Imperial Pools and Design LLC and its owner Patrick Crone.  

TUCSON (KVOA) - For more than two months, the News 4 Tucson Investigators have been looking into customer complaints against Tucson-based Imperial Pools and Design LLC and its owner Patrick Crone.  

Crone is now completely unlicensed after losing his general contractors license a few weeks ago on top of having his KA-6 Dual Pool Contractors license revoked just a few weeks earlier as the result of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors investigating a consolidation of six customer complaints in 2020.  

Crone now has 18 open cases against his KA-6 Dual Pool license with 10 disciplined cases, his GC license has three open cases and one disciplined case.  

The ROC told the N4T Investigators that out of the State’s more than 43,000 licensed contractors only around 5 percent ever receive just one complaint. 

More than a month ago Crone told the N4T Investigators he was selling his company and would finish all jobs in two to three weeks and that “nobody is walking away with any money.” 

However, the N4T Investigators have found more than eight customers who still do not have a completed pool. Many are not even close. 

Daniel Hernandez hired Imperial Pools and Design to build his pool - a gift for his wife that never came to be. He said the entire process has been a nightmare and he regrets ever hiring Crone. 

“Terrible - he [Patrick Crone] is one of the most unsavory people I have ever met,” Hernandez said. "He is a person that doesn’t care about his customers."

Hernandez said Crone recently promised him a quick turnaround on his pool that never happened. 

“He came out for a brief moment and told me it was going to be done [in] a week, that was a month ago,” he explained. 

Claudia Figueroa spent more than $26,000 and only has a collapsing hole in her backyard to show for it, she was expecting her pool to be completed by September. 

“During the monsoon season it collapsed here first, so it was only a little piece, I sent them pictures and they didn’t come and do anything about it," Figueroa said. "He [Patrick Crone] said it was not their fault."

Kathy and Randolf Luttery were also left with only a collapsing mess in their backyard. After spending around $41,000, Kathy said before doing any work for what they already paid for Crone wanted more money. 

“In order to do anymore work on our house, he wanted another $10,000, which I would not give him,” Kathy said. 

Cody Faller has been waiting for nearly two years for his pool to be completed after spending almost $100,000. He said he has been having to spend more money trying to get someone else to finish the pool and keeps coming across “faulty” work already done.  

“It’s a shame when what you’re trying to get is a pool and you just want it done right, you want to get what you paid for and then you’re dragged into threats and all sorts of volatility with this guy,” Faller said. 

Julie and Tom O’Leary said they paid for around $47,000 of work that has not been completed on their pool.  

“We feel like he [Patrick Crone] stole money from us," Tom said. "We gave him money to do a job he didn’t do it and in my book that’s theft."

Julie said it has been nearly impossible to get other contractors to take on the work to finish the pool because they cannot offer any warranties for the job and don't know what may be wrong with the work already done.

“You have a lot of contractors who are weary of coming in and finishing the job because they don’t know what he’s done, what’s going on under the ground here under these pavers,” Julie said. 

She blames the ROC for failing to act sooner while investigating the first several complaints last year. The N4T Investigators took her concerns to the ROC. Its director Jeff Fleetham said in a Zoom interview that it has a complex legal process that cannot be rushed. 

“The revocation or suspension of someone’s license is removing their ability to do business," Fleetham said. "It’s taking someone’s right away to do business so it’s not something we take cavalierly. It’s a serious process.”

The N4T Investigators asked the ROC, now that both of Crone’s licenses are revoked and he is unable to legally finish the pools, what should the customers with unfinished work do?

The ROC sent us the following statement: 

Home and property owners who contracted with Imperial Pools and Design LLC but did not receive the services and materials they paid for can file a licensed complaint with AZ ROC at www.roc.az.gov. 

Under certain conditions, homeowners may also be eligible to apply to the Registrar's Residential Contractors' Recovery Fund and depending on the cost of damages receive up to $30,000 to have the work corrected or completed. Each residential contracting license is covered for up to $200,000.00 to a maximum of $30,000.00 per residential property owner, on a pro rata basis upon filing a complete claim. 

Before homeowners can file an administrative Recovery Fund claim however, they would need to first have their complaint case investigated and discipline issued against the license. As we explained in previous responses, though the license is already in revoked status, additional complaints may still result in a legal decision to “revoke” the license.  

Outside of AZ ROC’s administrative process, home and property owners also have the option of pursuing civil litigation against the company, but AZ ROC would not be involved in that process. 

On Oct. 19, the N4T Investigators reached out to Patrick Crone asking why he said “all jobs will be completed in 2-3 weeks” more than a month ago, but has not finished so many customers’ jobs and what his plan is now without his licenses. He has yet to respond.  

There is a Facebook group for former customers of Patrick Crone that have faced issues. The group now has 45 members. One of Crone’s customers shared a text message from Crone, after his licenses were revoked, appearing to show him trying to solicit to contract without a license by offering to sign on as a consultant for their pool build. 

The N4T Investigators sent the message to the ROC. The ROC said it is an active investigation and unable to comment but sent us the following statement for what generally would happen when someone solicits to do work without a license: 

“AZ ROC investigates unlicensed complaints of contracting and/or advertising without a license, both of which are class 1 misdemeanors in the State of Arizona. After an unlicensed complaint is investigated, if there is enough evidence to support the allegation of contracting and/or advertising without a license, the Agency typically packages the investigation and submits it to the appropriate county attorney's office for prosecution review.” 

Several customers informed us they called the Pima County Sheriff’s Department to report the issues they are having. The N4T Investigators reached out to PCSD and received the following response: 

“We have received complaints regarding this company and we are investigating. If someone has information about a possible crime, or they believe they are victims of a crime, they should contact local law enforcement.” - Deputy James Allerton, Public Information Officer 

Imperial Pools and Design has not been a Better Business Bureau accredited business for months and its rating has been suspended. In September, the N4T Investigators informed the BBB that the website for Imperial Pools and Design still has a “BBB Accredited Business” logo on display. The BBB said, “a company cannot use the 'BBB Accredited Business' logo on their website unless they are Accredited. Thank you for letting us know that the company continues to utilize our logo on their website. We consider this trademark infringement and will reach out to the company to request that the logo be removed. 

As of the writing of this article, the website still has the logo on display. The company website also still lists it has a KA-6 Dual Pool Contractors license and displays the license number, even though the license is revoked.  

We will continue following this story.

If you have a tip you would like us to investigate email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.    

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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