Growing complaints about Hillsborough roofing contractor investigated by Eight on Your Side

Tampa homeowner Jacillia Sylvestre doesn’t need a new roof and can’t afford one.

But that didn’t stop Neal Scoppettuolo, owner of Summitwood Works LLC, from selling her one under a government-sanctioned finance program called PACE that helps homeowners who need energy-efficient home improvements.

Now Sylvestre is worried about losing the house where she raised her kids.

“I’m scared,” Sylvestre said.

Her son is furious that Scoppettuolo sold his mother a roof, since she is a Haitian immigrant who understands Creole better than English.

He says she didn’t understand the terms of the deal that would have put the roof debt on her tax bill.

“In Creole, I told my mom like, ‘don’t sign anything whatever you do, don’t sign anything,’” Jeff Sylvestre said. “If you go outside and you look up on that roof, there’s no damage on that roof.”

Sylvestre’s roof deal began with a mailer Scoppetuolo’s company sent to her home that looked like an official Hillsborough County notice that warned “you are receiving this notice because major roof concerns were visually noted this week.”

It goes on to say, “your roof is missing shingles and is damaged.”

There is no indication that Scoppettuolo or any of his staff ever inspected Sylvestre’s roof before sending that notice or thousands of similar ones to homeowners in Hillsborough and Pasco counties.

In Pasco, Tax Collector Mike Fasano became so incensed over the misleading mailers that he essentially forced Summitwood Works to stop selling roofs through the PACE program in Pasco.

Fasano was also distressed to find out that an 8 On Your Side investigation uncovered two convicted con artists working for Scoppettuolo as sales and marketing consultants.

Those men, Carlton Dunko and Frank Pureber, are now serving probation for organized fraud after a previous roofing scam they operated under NBRC Construction that cost 100 homeowners in six Tampa Bay area counties at least $631,000.

Dunko and his wife Stacy, who was also convicted of fraud, now live with Scoppettuolo in a luxury home in Cheval while paying restitution to their former roofing fraud victims at the rate of $500 a month.

Scoppetuolo insists that Dunko and Pureber have nothing to do with his roofing business, but focus on other energy improvements such as A/C and solar.

We found Pureber selling A/C units to other homeowners in Hillsborough under the PACE program while working for Scoppettuolo.

Pureber, Dunko and Scoppettuolo have avoided news interviews and refuse to answer any of our questions about their business practices.

Brian Davis is another Tampa customer of Summitwood who feels duped in a PACE roofing deal that Scoppettuolo personally sold him.

“He [Scoppettuolo] said, ‘we can get you a new roof for probably around $8000.”

Davis later found out the actual cost, including the cost of PACE financing, was more than twice that cost.

“$20,000 with 20 years to pay,” Davis said.

Davis and Sylvestre have both notified Scoppettuolo of their desire to tear up their roofing contracts.

Sylvestre has hired a lawyer and Davis says Scoppettuolo has voluntarily agreed to negate his deal.

In addition to complains about misleading advertising and high pressure sales tactics, 8 On Your Side has also discovered that Scoppetuolo’s company hasn’t paid its shingle supplier in at least 17 cases in Pasco, Hillsborough and Collier counties, leaving homeowners on the hook for thousands of dollars in liens, even after those homeowners paid Scoppettuolo’s company for the work.

In one case in Collier, an elderly man was facing a lien of more than $13,000 for a roofing job that Scoppettuolo’s company never even started, much less completed. The shingle company dropped that lien after 8 On Your Side pointed out the problem.

Our investigation of sketchy business practices under the auspices of the government-sanctioned PACE program has now caught the attention of Florida Senator Bill Nelson, who says he is working with Senator Marco Rubio to enhance truth-in-lending disclosure requirements for PACE customers.

“I have recently, because of the problems that you noted, written to them [Consumer Finance Protection Bureau] and sought their opinion of starting legislation to give those protections,” Nelson said. “To stop of the skulduggery that’s going on.”

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