CLE inspector made mistake in electrical case

Posted at 6:52 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 10:55:20-05

A Cleveland woman said she wants to hold city inspectors accountable after mistakes were made with electrical problems in her home. She contacted the 5 On Your Side Investigators for help.

“I trusted that the city would back me up if all else failed. That has not happened,” said Charlene who did not want her last name used.  She showed us around her home and there were some questionable, if not, dangerous electrical issues.  She told us the electrician left her home filled with unfinished work.  “It was  like a game for him to take advantage of people who are striving to become homeowners,” said Charlene.

But there’s more.  Charlene told us one city inspector signed off on the work saying it was done. She said she never saw him at the home. “He’s never been to my home and I don’t know why he approved and said that the work was complete.”

In the basement alone, the electrical box is wide open, wires exposed and, add to that, the older home has water collecting on the floor. Not a safe mix. “It’s not fair that I suffer and my family suffers.”

After complaining to the city about the first inspector, another inspector came out to Charlene’s home. “She said that this is unsafe and if I were you don’t let any children or animals down (into the basement),” said Charlene.

We talked with Cleveland Building and Housing Director Ron O’Leary.  He explained that the first inspector did visit the house but he made a mistake signing off on the work being done. “What he actually should have done was sign on a rough-in inspection where the work is partially done and it’s not completed,” said O’Leary. He told us the inspector was new at the time.

O’Leary told us that if a contractor stops his work, he or she needs to make sure the home or business is left in a safe condition. We sent O’Leary pictures of what’s in Charlene’s home now.  “I did see the photos you sent today. And based on that I’m going to ask the supervisor to go back and check again,” said O’Leary.

There is still a bond issue that needs to be looked at in this case.  We’ve been assured more investigation is on the way for the second complaint Charlene has filed.  However, when it comes to the non-finished work, the city said that Charlene needs to work with the contractor on that.  

Charlene said she put down $2,000 for the work.  O’Leary said the contractor claimed there’s a dispute over payment.

We’ll stay on top of this.


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