CLEVELAND — Yet another local person has stepped forward telling News 5 Investigators he was taken for tens-of-thousands of dollars when his pool project was never completed. And it doesn’t stop with him as we take a closer look at Aqua Pros, LLC.
We'll have more on this story tonight during News 5 at 6.
“We are here on case 22C82 State versus Jason B. Modic,” said Geauga County Judge David Ondrey recently in his courtroom. Modic, from Berea, was appearing for for the first time in a case against him there.
“You are charged with a fourth-degree felony for theft from a person in a protected class,” said Ondrey.
To understand more about Modic, let’s rewind a bit.
“Originally, the promise was it would be installed in four days,” said Brian Glazen from Solon. He said that promise was never filled after he hired Modic and his Aqua Pros, LLC company in 2020 for a big pool project.
“Had his own excavation machine and he was personally digging the hole which, ultimately, was the beginning of huge problems,” said Glazen.
He told us the pool shell never fit into the hole that Modic dug and that Modic just stopped showing up. Court records show Glazen said he lost more than $70,000 just from Modic’s mistakes.
“A new company came in and had to perform all the tasks. In fact, they had to undo everything that Jason did,” said Glazen.
“Jason’s favorite word is ‘We’re super close! We’re gonna be there. We’re super close,’” said Linda LaMarca from Broadview Heights. She told us Modic was never close to finishing her pool that she paid him nearly $10,000 up front to start.
“I’ve been lied to too many times,” she said.
LaMarca showed us her pool project all started with Allan Gulliford before she hired Modic to step in. You might remember Gulliford was the focus of our first pool contractor reports and was convicted of felonies in several cases from different counties after taking people’s pool deposits and not doing the work.
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“I haven’t seen (Gulliford) since the day I signed the contract back in 2020,” said LaMarca.
“When you gave him $15,000?” we asked.
“When I gave him $15,000,” she replied.
Fast forward to Modic in Geauga County court. Ondrey asked if Modic has been convicted of any misdemeanors.
“I don’t think so, but I’m not sure,” said Modic.
He’s not sure, but we checked court records and found in November 2019 in Geauga County he pleaded guilty to petty theft and was told to pay restitution of more than $7,000.
“Have you ever failed to appear for court in prior manners?” said Ondrey.
“No,” Modic said in court.
Well, court records show he’s had problems responding to some civil cases. In October 2020 in Cuyahoga County, Modic “failed to plead or otherwise respond” and was ordered to pay more than $15,000. And in March of this year in Portage County, in another civil case, Modic “failed to answer or otherwise respond” and there’s a default judgment against him for more than $162,000.
“We’re beginning to take a look at those type of fraudulent and deceptive practices,” said Ohio House Representative Gail Pavliga from Portage County. She told us she is now drafting legislation help crack down on convicted contractors.
“We need to go after more strict penalties for such people who would engage in unfair, deceptive consumer acts,” said Rep. Pavliga.
Bigger fines and more prison time on top of the current laws are what will be in the bill. And you might recall how News 5 Investigators pointed in Gulliford’s cases that courts have problems communicating. Pavliga said info-sharing will be part of her bill as well.
“With the Attorney General’s Office and putting these temporary and permanent injunctions, those will be sent out and will be able to cross reference those type of cases,” she said.
“People ask me why am I even doing this. I just tell them because I’m tired of people getting screwed,” LaMarca said about why she’s coming forward with her story.
In the meantime, Glazen has sued Modic.
“The fact that he’s still out there burns,” Glazen told us.
And despite past misdemeanor convictions, major judgments against Modic, and more lawsuits we found filed against him yet this year, Ondrey has allowed Modic to be out of jail while awaiting trial.
News 5 Investigators reached out to Modic’s attorney plus the judge and the prosecutor. We’ve heard nothing back.