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Property owner: Roofer leaves job unfinished
by Evan White
Rochester, N.Y. -- After putting out an advertisement on Craigslist and getting a slew of bids, none seemed more attractive than the one from James A. Morris of Blue Line House Repairs, said Julie Hicks.
The roofer drove his Chevy Astro van to the Hicks' office and provided a detailed assessment of what he planned to do to fix the holes in the roof of their rental property, Hicks said.
"We needed it done right away," she said.
In late March, a contract was signed and Hicks paid Morris $5,000 of the $9,500 agreed upon for the job.
Then, the problems began to mount. It took him two weeks to start the work after saying the city wouldn't let him put a dumpster near the newly updated curbs, said Hicks.
Once the work began, it was extraordinarily slow.
"He kept saying he was there and he was doing work, and we would drive by and there would be nobody there," Hicks said. "He'd say he just missed us."
Last Friday, Hicks said Morris stopped returning calls and text messages. Neither she nor her husband had asked where Morris' office was. All they had were his phone numbers and email, and they had seen his lettered van.
The roof of their Melville Street home is in shambles. Tattered tarp loosely clings to the rooftop; meanwhile, shreds of shingles litter the ground.
"Part of the tarp blew off again, and he had to go back and tape it down," said Hicks of her husband.
Rain is dripping through holes in the roof into two of the rooms on the right side of the duplex. That apartment is unoccupied, but was to be rented. On the other side, there is a woman who lives with her daughter.
Water damage destroyed a bed of the child staying in that apartment, said Hicks.
"I'm devastated about how this whole thing has been," Hicks said.
13WHAM News called, emailed and texted Morris repeatedly Wednesday. There was no response.
"When you talk about a major purchase as a roof, you want to make sure you've done your homework," said Peggy Penders of the Better Business Bureau.
She added the BBB has no information on record on James S. Morris or Blue Line House Repairs. 13WHAM News contacted the Monroe County District Attorney's office, as well as those in Wayne County and Ontario County regarding Morris. None of the three offices had any record of Morris.