Contractor Confessions: Builder reports roof job gone bad

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s usually the homeowner who calls Target 8 to report problems with builders. But this time, it was the general contractor himself who tipped us off.

Roger Kingma wanted Target 8 to expose what he called an “epidemic of bad (sub)contractors in Grand Rapids,” by calling out two men he had paid to replace a woman’s roof in Grand Rapids.

“They were supposed to have it done in two days,” said Kingma, who owns Custom Upgrades LLC in Wyoming. “After seven days they walked off the job site, left the house half-exposed. Did not cover it.”

Kingma said the shingles they did manage to install were the wrong ones. When he realized the two men had disappeared and rain was in the forecast, Kingma got the roof tarped off.

But it wasn’t enough to withstand the three plus inches of rain Grand Rapids got on Aug. 28.

“I mean this was all saturated when I came in,” Genaya Whitford told Target 8, pointing to the carpet in her southeast Grand Rapids home.

She returned from a few days out of town to find a rain-soaked interior.

“When I came home you could hear the 'squish, squish' as I was walking on it. Everything was soaked,” she said.

From wet carpets to water-stained wood floors, walls and ceilings, Whitford was shocked.

“I walked in the kitchen and there’s a puddle … Opened up my back bedroom back there, and the ceiling done fell in there,” Whitford.

Whitford understands that Kingma blames the subcontractors, but she holds Kingma responsible.

“I took up work with Roger, not with the subcontractors or people under him or whatever,” she said. “I paid Roger, I hired Roger, I paid Custom Upgrades. I mean true enough the other guys may be at fault, but that’s not my issue.”

Target 8 is not identifying the two men Kingma hired at this point because we’ve been unable to find documentation of wrongdoing on their part. Kingma paid the men in cash, failed to have them sign a contract specifically for the roof job, and failed to pull the proper construction permits.

The owner of Custom Upgrades has had trouble finding good help before. 

Based on six complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau of Western Michigan, four within the last year, the BBB told Target 8 that Kingma “sells customers on home renovation projects and then hires subcontractors to take care of the actual work.”

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