CLEVELAND — A local contractor who left massive home renovations unfinished after he allegedly bilked Northeast Ohio homeowners out of thousands of dollars, is now getting sued by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, according to a release from Yost’s office.
Thomas Cutura, of North Royalton, is accused of performing bad work and failing to deliver on his promised services or refunds after accepting large down payments from customers. 5 on Your Side Investigator Joe Pagonakis first reported about the complaints against him in November 2018.
Homeowners who hired Cutura for his services claimed delay after delay, excuse after excuse for repairs and projects never completed.
“This guy changes his company name like he changes his underwear – and for the same reason,” Yost said in a statement. “His business practices and reputation stink.”
The lawsuit stems from 11 unresolved complaints submitted to Yost's Consumer Protection Section. Consumers blame Cutura for financial losses of $154,800. The filing seeks to recover money that Cutura took for unfinished work, as well as court costs. It also orders him to not run a business in Ohio until those debts are paid.
Consumers who hired Cutura claim he used stall tactics and ignored their phone calls.
Larry Orenich, who paid Cutura’s company named Assurance Roofing and Remodeling at the time more than $150,000, said only the foundation on his backyard was poured.
"This project took our entire life savings." said Orenich.
During his work, Cutura used numerous names for his business including Assurance Roofing and More, Avon Cabinets Direct, Avon Wholesale Cabinets, Cabinets Direct, Mid Ohio Cabinets, Midwest Cabinets and Ohio Capital Cabinets. He has also used aliases, such as Thomas Southard and Thomas Cutura Vavro, according to the AG's office.
The AG's office advises consumers to take the following steps before hiring a contractor for home improvement services:
- Check any existing complaints against the contractor
- Make sure your contact includes notice of your right to cancel a door-to-door sale. Contractors generally can't start working until the three-day "cooling off" period.
- Get written estimates before making a final decision
- Check with the Ohio Secretary of State to confirm the business is registered properly.
- All contracts should include any verbal promises made