Contractor who allegedly swindled lawyer gets sued

David Yates Sep. 20, 2007, 8:12am

Evidently, an allegedly shady contractor took advantage of the wrong type of Hurricane Rita victim: a lawyer.

After Hurricane Rita tore "a few shingles" off of Richard and Arlene Turkels' home, the couple says they were forced out of necessity to hire Charles Moreau Enterprises, who the couple alleges did more harm than good to their property.

Believing they were overcharged and taken advantage of, Richard Turkel, an attorney, filed a deceptive trade practices lawsuit against Moreau with the Orange County District Court on Sept. 17.

According to the plaintiffs' original petition, the couple called Moreau to repair a "few shingles." After an estimate, Moreau told the Turkels the whole roof needed to be replaced and told the couple he could do the job for $4,000.

"Defendants assured plaintiffs that they were honest and would not take advantage of them because of the emergency nature of the situation," the suit said.

However, the couple claims Moreau kept upping his price as the job continued.

"On Dec. 7, 2005, defendants began work," the suit said. "They removed the shingles from the front side of the house, then stopped work and demanded another $850 to continue. Plaintiffs were forced to agree."

The suit goes on to say while the rehab crew was working they "carelessly" caused damage to the Turkels' expensive patio and car, costing the plaintiffs around $1,500 in damages.

Furthermore, the suit alleges the roof vents Moreau installed began rusting and caused the roof to leak. "Additionally, due to the negligence of Moreau and improper workmanship, the roof leaked�causing water and mold damage."

The couple is suing for deceptive trade practices damages, plus actual and compensatory damages.

The case has been assigned to Judge Pat Clark of the 128th Judicial District.

Case No. A070-463

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