Local contractor sentencedPublished 2:46pm Thursday, January 21, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Charles Lewis, who in November was facing charges of operating as an unlicensed builder stemming from a heated dispute with client Nancy Fantetti over a remodeling project of her Edwardsburg home, was sentenced last week in a Cass County courtroom.
Lewis pleaded “no contest” to the charges and was ordered to pay a $500 fine, complete 20 hours of community service and will be on probation for a total of five months.
He faces 50 days of jail time if he fails to adhere to any of those stipulations.
Back in November, Lewis told the Argus that he had done nothing wrong while working on Fantetti’s house, which included building an addition on to the structure.
He admitted that he did not hold a license in the state of Michigan, something Fantetti was aware of at the time she hired him.
“I had to go to jail,” Lewis said, having turned himself in following a warrant for his arrest.
“I have nothing to flee from,” he added. “I have done nothing wrong.”
Fantetti paid more than $68,000 for work done on her home by Lewis. When all was said and done, the money she’d saved especially for renovations for her home had resulted in a rooftop so lacking in ventilation, the beams were covered in mold, siding seemed to be falling off the house and there was evidence of uneven trim and unmatched coloring of exterior siding, as well as improperly operating and installed door locks.
Fantetti called the entire situation “a very hard, very expensive lesson.”
A lesson that might just save homeowners in the future.
As the weather warms, many homeowners may begin considering renovation projects to their own homes.
The National Association of Home Builders provides a wealth of information for homeowners at their Web site, www.nahb.org as well as a checklist when hiring a builder or contractor.