CLEVELAND — A Northeast Ohio man sits in jail after police say he took money to install a pool but didn’t do the work as promised. But there’s more to this story that News 5 Investigators found including past convictions, court rulings and even an Ohio Attorney General’s ban that didn’t stop the man.
“Measured it all up, marked it all out, took a lot of pictures… looked like he was prepared to do the job,” said Chad Wagner from Summit County. He was talking bout Allan Gulliford, who came over to his home last year promising to install a pool. “All we’re left with at the moment is a deck that leads to nowhere,” said Wagner.
He told us that’s because Gulliford and his Perfect In Ground Pool business out of Wickliffe initially took $5,000 from him, and then earlier this year, took another $20,000 for the overall $50,000 project.
“I started calling him for probably 3-4 weeks (after giving Gulliford that second installment of $20,000) and all of his phone lines were disconnected,” said Wagner. And today, there’s still no pool.
CONTRACTOR CONVICTED IN SIMILAR CASES
News 5 Investigators dug into Gulliford’s past. In Lorain County in October of 2018, he was sentenced for grand theft for not doing pool work after taking more than $40,000 from a different customer. He was then put on community control for three years.
Just a month after the Lorain County sentencing, Gulliford was sentenced to community control in Summit County for taking more than $3,000 from a 77-year-old to put in a new pool liner but never doing the work.
During both community controls, court records show Gulliford violated the terms. So, in Summit County in August of 2020, he got 6 months more of, you guessed it, community control.
Meantime, Gulliford got arrested for grand theft in Stark County, accused of taking nearly $16,000 this time.
“And yet, here this guy still is actively promoting and marketing Perfect In Ground Pools,” said Wagner.
SIGN STILL UP FOR BUSINESS IN QUESTION
We found while Gulliford’s office in Wickliffe is empty, there’s still a sign with a phone number in front of the business. So, anyone driving by could write down the number, or when we did a Google search, we found contact info listed as well.
“What do you think about all that?” we asked Wagner.
He sighed and said, “That was painful. The fact that this guy was still able to operate his business under Perfect In Ground Pools with a website, everything looking legitimate at that moment.”
OHIO AG EVEN HAD A BAN ON BUSINESS AND GULLIFORD
Chad told us the $25,000 he lost all happened after the Ohio Attorney General won a judgement against Gulliford in February of 2021 banning him from doing any pool-related business under any name on top of more than $80,000 in fines and restitution.
Believe it or not, there’s more. We uncovered two additional cases brought against Gulliford, one in Tuscarawas County and one in Geauga County, all while on community control. In fact, in Geauga County, after all these cases and the AG’s ban, Geauga County let Gulliford out on bond in January of this year just before Wagner said he gave Gulliford $20,000 for his project.
Court records show Gulliford failed a urine test for illegal drugs, and they finally booked him into the Geauga County Jail in March where he sits now.
How was all this allowed to happen? We asked for interview from Summit and Lorain Counties. Judges who failed to throw the book at Gulliford wouldn’t comment.
The Lorain County Prosecutor's Office sent us the statement below on Friday, along with a payment schedule for Allan Gulliford.
CONSUMER INFORMATION ON BUSINESS IS/WAS AVAILABLE
“We’ve had a pattern of complaint with this business,” said Ericka Dilworth, the Director of Operations for the Cleveland Better Business Bureau. The BBB has an "F" rating for Perfect In Ground Pool, a consumer alert on the business, and numerous similar complaints against Gulliford.
“These consumers even up to recent months have reached out to us to try to get their money back,” said Dilworth. “And that is going to be very difficult for these consumers.”
The big question here is: are the people in charge of our courts talking to each other? Had they done so, maybe people like Wagner wouldn’t be out thousands of dollars today.
“Do you feel like the system failed you?” we asked him.
“I do, absolutely,” replied Wagner. “Yeah, you really hope that the AG’s Office has these…can do something with these people. [Gulliford’s] got a very, very long track record.”
We reached out to Gulliford’s attorney, but he had no comment on Gulliford’s cases. Wagner’s case was just filed by Summit County and Gulliford faces charges on that now, too.
Consumers, before hiring any business, do your homework on the business and the person who owns it. You can ask your city what it knows about the contractor. Does he/she have permits? Insurance? Is he/she bonded? Also, if you can, put any down payments on a credit card where you might have more protection as opposed to a check or cash.