Roofing woes: hurricane victim says roofing contractor botched job

David Veazey

A Port Arthur couple is seeking a refund for roof repairs from a convicted felon with a history of theft who is currently on probation in Jasper County for a financial crime reportedly related to stealing from former clients of an RV company he managed.

Norma Diaz and Rolando Caballero of Port Arthur say David A. Veazey of Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists deceived them when bidding on a job at their home, claiming to have decades of experience in the roofing business – which they and others say he does not, offering a full warranty on the repairs – which he has not honored, and using a contract from another company for which he once worked and whose business name he failed to completely remove from the document – even though he obviously tried.

Roofing remorse

After Hurricane Harvey ripped shingles off the Caballero-Diaz home on Touraine Avenue in Port Arthur, the couple called Coastal Roofing Specialists of Lumberton for a quote. They had heard of the company, which is BBB accredited, previously a BBB Torch Award nominee and a winner of a “People’s Choice” award in Lumberton.

“I had to evacuate due to a medical issue,” described Norma Diaz. “My husband, Rolando, stayed home with the dogs. He piled up sandbags around the house, and he said he couldn’t open the door for two-and-a-half days. We didn’t get a lot of water inside, but later, after it leaked in the garage and the sheetrock came down on Rolando’s ’67 Chevelle, we realized that the shingles on the roof had come up in some places.”

So, they called Coastal Roofing Specialists, and David Veazey showed up at their home to give them a quote on the job. On the “Proposal” form, dated Jan. 3, 2018, and signed by the Coastal Roofing representative David Veazey, he quoted the couple $10,975. The work would be done in 6 to 8 weeks, weather permitting, and 50 percent of the cost was due on signing with the other half due upon completion of the job. Though Veazey was supposed to be representing Coastal Roofing, the company that received the call about the job in the first place, he later approached the couple with an offer from what he called his company, Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists, on Jan. 29. Using a copy of the same “Proposal” form, Veazey apparently replaced Coastal Roofing Specialists’ name and logo with “G.T.R.S.” and that company’s address, along with his cell phone number, handwritten on the top left of the form. He quoted them $10,950 – a mere $25 less than he quoted them for Coastal. He said he could start work right away, so they would not have to wait the few weeks they would if they had gone with Coastal, with whom he had parted ways on January 19.

Veazey defends his actions, saying he did not start his business until late January, after he left Coastal Roofing, though he admits he already had the website. He said as an independent contractor working for Coastal, he had every right to start his own business and denied using Coastal’s proposal form. When confronted with the information that Coastal’s name was still on the form in at least two places, he said there had been a printing error. He stood firm in his position that he had done nothing wrong while at Coastal Roofing.

“He was stealing our leads,” Coastal Roofing Specialists owner Jerry Sonnier told The Examiner. “He worked for me for about 9 weeks, and, from what he told me and from what I saw, he had no prior experience in roofing.”

But, Norma and Rolando did not know that when they hired him. They say he said he had a roofing license, which they later found out is not a requirement – and does not actually even exist – for roofing contractors in Texas. Veazey denies saying he had a license. Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists, the company Veazey says he owns, actually touts on its website and social media that it has 30 years experience – or sometimes claims 40 years experience (though it does not specify that the experience is in roofing, but that could be considered a reasonable assumption for a roofing company).

So, they hired him. They gave half down in February when he started the work and half after the job was done in March. Everything seemed fine at first – until it started to rain.

“A few days after the completion of the roof it began to rain,” Norma said. “The rear first-floor bedroom had rainwater flowing down the paneled wall onto the window and down the rest of the wall. It was also leaking water from the ceiling sheetrock onto the bed. A crew worker came out after the rain subsided and informed me that the area where the upstairs met with the first floor roof had not been caulked with silicone.”

The crew worker promptly fixed the problem – or so they thought. But, a short time passed and it began to rain again.

“On July 3, 2018, at approximately 10:30 p.m., it was and had been raining heavily,” said Norma. “I turned in bed to notice that I had a waterfall of rainwater going down my wall and spreading on the ceiling sheetrock. I then heard Rolando hollering and I went to his room to find that his room also had rainwater running down the paneled wall onto the window and down towards the floor. The rainwater was also again on the ceiling sheetrock falling onto his bed.”

When she contacted David Veazey, he told her that he was on vacation but would send someone over. On July 5, Veazey called her to say a man was on his way. She told him she would be home in 10 to 15 minutes. She says he told her that he would send his worker to check out “the other two houses” with the same issues she was having and then send him back over. When he finally got there, the news was not good.

“He informed us that the silicone that he had placed in the valley was only a ‘temporary fix’ and that the roof had been improperly constructed,” she explained. “The valleys of the roof had not had the flashing installed and the decking was also wet.”

On July 10, she contacted Veazey about the needed repairs because he had not come by the house to inspect the damage.

“His response was, ‘The roof was built to code,’” said Norma. “The material may have been up to code, but the construction was faulty. He also informed me that he would come by the following day, which he failed to show up.”

He was a “no-show” again on July 23 and July 24, she described. He then told her that he had come by July 27 while she was away from home and had fixed the problem. He hadn’t.

“I asked my neighbors if they had seen anyone at my home between 3:15 and 4 p.m. and three neighbors advised, ‘No.’”

In addition, she said, though the signed agreement clearly states he would, Veazey reportdedly did not acquire a city permit to do the work on her roof. She said she spoke to Cheryl Salton at the city of Port Arthur who she says told Norma that Veazey has never pulled a permit for work in Port Arthur, including at her home.

Wrong number

When Norma and Rolando started having issues with the roof constructed though Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists, they initially called Coastal Roofing Specialists by mistake because Veazey had failed to remove his former employer’s name from the proposal form. Item 14 of the G.T.R.S. contract between Veazey and Rolando Caballero reads, “Coastal Roofing Specialists will honor a (5) year warranty….and will provide the required roofing permit…” Below that, the contract reads, “Coastal Roofing Specialists is locally owned and operated and is an accredited business of the Southeast Texas Better Business Bureau and a member of the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas.”

Clearly, Veazey forgot to take the references to Coastal Roofing Specialists off of the Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists proposal/contract form that he and Rolando signed.

When Norma called and spoke to Coastal owner Sonnier, he let her know it was Veazey and company who were responsible for her warranty since Golden Triangle Roofing actually did the job.

Sonnier said Veazey worked for him from Nov. 10, 2017, until Jan. 19, 2018, the day he found out Veazey had his own roofing business in addition to working for Coastal.

“My son told me to check out the website for Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists, so I went online to take a look,” Sonnier recalled. “I didn’t notice anything at first, but then I saw David’s phone number on the bottom left of the screen. That’s when I realized he was possibly stealing my leads and that he had his own company, which was a huge conflict of interest.”

Sonnier said he called his family and staff to the office and then asked Veazey to come back to the office from a job he was bidding. When he arrived and saw everyone at the office, he asked what it was all about. According to Sonnier, that’s when he turned the computer screen to face Veazey and asked him, “What is this?”

“He casually said, ‘That’s my company. So, what?’ Like he hadn’t done anything wrong,” Sonnier recalled. “I told him, ‘David, you can’t work for me if you have your own company.’”

So, Sonnier let him go. But, according to Sonnier, Veazey didn’t just go away.

“He lives nearby, so sometimes he drives by the office really slowly and puts up his middle finger at the ladies in the office or me,” Sonnier described. “Now, he’s suing me because he says I owe him money from the jobs he bid.”

Sonnier is due in small claims court on the matter this week. He says he doesn’t owe Veazey anything and has already paid him a substantial sum for the two months or so of work.

“David was given $6,560 in draws toward the sold jobs,” said Sonnier. The draws would have come out of the commissions he would have earned if had remained employed with Coastal Roofing.

Veazey says Sonnier owes him $25,000 in commission for the jobs he bid.

“I worked 60 hours a week there when I started,” Veazey said.

By using Coastal’s proposal form, Veazey is representing Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists is BBB accredited with the logo in the top left corner of the form. BBB Dispute Resolution Director Jay Sheppard and BBB President and CEO Liz Fredrichs confirmed that Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists is not BBB accredited.

“He applied for accreditation and was denied for failure to meet the BBB standards for trust,” Fredrichs explained. “He can’t be accredited with an unresolved complaint.”

The BBB closed a complaint against Veazey related to the work on Touraine on Aug. 29, and it remains unresolved.

The BBB lists Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists’ opening date is reported as January 2018. The Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists website, which is not a secure website, puts Veazey front and center, stating, “David has been building close relationships with customers for over 30 years…” Veazey says the 30 years experience is in sales, not roofing. He said he plans to change social media posts to remove the decades of experience or to make it clear that the experience is in sales, not roofing.

Veazey says that in spite of the issues he has had at Norma and Rolando’s home, other clients would vouch for his work.

“I could give you a list of people that I’ve done work for who will tell you I do good work,” Veazey asserted.

It appears that Veazey is also flying a banner with a depiction of a blue ribbon reading “Reader’s Choice,” but no record of the business receiving such an award could be found. Veazey said “many businesses” use blue ribbons on banners and other ads as “a marketing technique.”

A questionable past

Before he approached Coastal Roofing for a job in November 2017, Veazey had been involved in a number of enterprises and some questionable dealings.

According to jail records, Veazey was arrested in Jasper County on Dec. 21, 2015, for property theft between $2,500 and $30,000. He was later alternatively charged with misapplication of fiduciary property related to an investigation into his dealings at Premier Coach Company in Jasper, a company clients thought Veazey owned that he later said he managed.

Premier Coach Company was under investigation by the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office after they received a report that a man selling a travel trailer through the business in 2015 had never received his money for the sale, and the man who purchased the travel trailer never received the title for the travel trailer. Veazey says he was the manager of the business, not the owner. He named the owner as Michelle Rhodes, his ex-wife; however, she was never criminally charged.

Veazey also has a prior arrest from 2017 for burglary of a habitation, the charge for which was later changed to misdemeanor theft between $750 and $2,500. A criminal database search reveals he received 102 days in jail for the crime and was ordered to pay restitution.

Veazey said the theft charge stemmed from a misunderstanding in which he was trying to help a friend sell a trailer, similar to but separate from the incident at Premier Coach.

His arrest reports list multiple addresses for Veazey over the years. He has used addresses in DeRidder, Louisiana, and Brookeland, Texas. At the same Brookeland address, the website Houzz lists Veazey & Co. as an architectural and building design firm.

Safe Roofs Over Texas

Norma and Rolando are among many Port Arthur residents impacted by Hurricane Harvey who are still working on their homes and dealing daily with contractors from inside and outside Southeast Texas. The Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT) announced the launch of its Safe Roofs Over Texas initiative on Aug. 28 to raise awareness among home and business owners about roofing scams that take place after bad storms and how they can protect themselves against fraud. Texas does not require individuals to acquire a license before providing roofing services to customers.

“Fraudulent roofers often look like the real thing and the lack of licensing requirements make it more difficult for residents to verify a roofer’s credibility or track them down and hold them accountable after a potential failure to deliver agreed-upon services,” said Sarah Burns, Executive Director of RCAT. Calling for legislative action, she continued, “Enough is enough. For too long, storm-chasing fraudsters have victimized Texans. Our industry is asking for reform to protect our customers and their property.”

For more information on the initiative, visit the Safe Roofs Over Texas website.

Since they are already out $1000’s, says Norma, she and her husband plan to try to get their money back. After Veazey failed to show up several times and failed to make the repairs when asked, they no longer want him anywhere near their home. They also want to warn others not to make the same mistake they did.

“I strongly urge that in the future, persons not request that Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists perform any construction work on their homes and that the homeowners that are also having issues with the construction by Golden Triangle Roofing Specialists also speak up about the issues of their homes,” cautions Norma Diaz.

Call the BBB or visit website for the Better Business Bureau Serving Southeast Texas to report contractor complaints or if you have been the victim of fraud.