Pool builder admits mistakes as more allegations pile up - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Pool builder admits mistakes as more allegations pile up

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

SOUTH MS (WDAM) - Jason Howard, formerly with Pinebelt Pool Company, admits he's made some mistakes in the past.

It was those mistakes which led to his arrest last year on three charges of home repair fraud dealing with swimming pools. But since then he says he's been trying to turn his life around.

"The past is the past and I've suffered from it for over a year now and I've been feeling really bad over the last year," said Howard. 

Since his arrest there's more allegations of Howard still doing the same thing, ripping people off, something Howard says isn't true.

"I don't think that I'm still making the same mistakes, it's just being my name is bad, it's out there and it's bad, it's just going to continue being like this," said Howard.

Howard says he's no longer in the pool business and was doing a few jobs as favors, but it's those favors he says put him in over his head.

"It really aggravates me, it just makes me mad," said Betty Lyon.

In May, Lyon says she wrote Howard a check for $900 to begin work in converting her pool from chemical to salt water.

"He was going to be there the next day. Well he was not there for two or three weeks. I kept calling him and calling him," said Lyon.

Finally Lyon says someone came out and drained the pool and Howard asked for another $300 , which she paid, but says Howard never returned. 

"He kept promising he would, he would, he's going to be there tomorrow or next week and he as not done anything else," said Lyon.

Lyon finally got $300 back, and plans to file suit against Howard for the rest.

Amber Cone was one of the people who initially pressed charges against Howard last year when she says she paid him about $13,000 to install her pool and was promised about a 3 week completion period.

"But this is how he left us," said Cone, holding up a photo of an unfinished pool, "He's not been back here since the pool was left like this."

Cone says she got excuse after excuse.

"It was always, 'Oh we'll be there tomorrow, we'll be there tomorrow, we'll be there. We'll finish it I promise, promise we'll have it done by your kid's birthday party' and he never did."

Cone says she hasn't gotten any of her money back and eventually had to pay an additional $10,000 for someone else to complete the job, but because of the work Howard did prior, she's still having problems.

"We have a leak, can't find it. The concrete how it's falling. My walls are not what I was told my walls were going to be. I just got, I think, cheap plywood," said Cone.

"The way he's doing these other folks, mine is just a drop in the bucket compared to what he owes other folks," said Buddy Miller, who didn't have a pool installed, but says he did excavation work this summer for Howard at the home of Willy Jordan, who says his pool was left unfinished as well. Miller says he still hasn't been paid the nearly $600 he's owed.

"We agreed on a price and this was witnessed by two persons there," said Miller.

Howard admits he hasn't paid Miller and says there's a reason why.

"There's no where in my contract for me to pay him," said Howard.

Miller says that's because it was a verbal agreement.

"You know I took a man for his word, on an agreement we had, a verbal agreement and he hasn't come through," said Miller.

Howard says he wants to make things rights and would like to complete the job at the Jordan's who say he took more than $10,000. Money Howard says is accounted for in materials.

"The only thing I can do now is look towards the future and try to do the best I can, but I deeply apologize to anybody that I ever hurt," said Howard.

As far as the criminal charges against him, Howard is scheduled to appear in court in Oct. to face them.

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