THREE POINTS, Ariz. (KVOA) - It was supposed to be a home improvement project to bring a mother closer too her daughter, but turned into a nightmare.
Anne Brooks lives in Three Points. She spent almost all her life savings to add on to her home to get her mother in Mesa to move in with her.
A realtor recommended a man named Marco Tena to do the work so Brooks trusted him and hired him to do the job. That was back in February.
"Everything started off well, we got our septic done after a month and a half and then we got this much of the house done after $53,000 dollars was paid," Brooks told us in August pointing to her dug up yard with little work done.
After three months she said she realized Tena never paid for the needed permits, and that he didn't have a license with the Registrar of Contractors, which is legally required in Arizona to perform such work.
"Excuse after excuse and then the next week same thing more excuses then finally he said I don't have the money. I said what do you mean you don't have the money?" Brooks explained.
She made a report with the Pima County Sheriff's Office and called the News 4 Tucson Investigators. News 4 got a hold of Tena over the phone in August. He told us he intended to finish the project but was sick with Covid19. When we asked him about not having a license he hung up.
A few days later Brooks said Tena showed up to the house and did minimal work, for that reason the Sheriff's Office closed its investigation, but Brooks said he has never returned since.
"He hasn't been on the property since August," Brooks said.
Now her husband and a group of friends have taken it upon themselves to finish the job and have made incredible progress.
Brooks isn't alone, the News 4 Tucson Investigators spoke with another Three Points resident named Jennifer Curiel. She said she paid over $4,300 to Tena to repair damage to her roof after a storm.
"Kept giving excuses and never fully completed the work," she said.
What she was told would take a week dragged on for months, and she said Tena's crew caused further damage to her home.
"His workers backed up the truck and took out our gate. Inside the house they fell through and caused holes inside the ceiling that weren't there, he never fixed that," she explained.
And for Brooks things got even worse, after all the struggles and effort to get her mother to move in with her she passed away a couple weeks ago.
"Marco not only screwed me out of money, he screwed me out of time with my mother," Brooks said through tears.
Brooks said her husband and friends still plan on finishing the project. She encourages people to research someone before giving them money to work on your home.
You can verify if someone is licensed by visiting the ROC website here: https://roc.az.gov