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Tampa Bay homeowners surprised by roof repair bills

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HERNANDO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

For some Tampa Bay area consumers NBRC's offer of a new roof they didn't have to pay for seemed too good to be true...and they were right.

"These people need to be stopped," said homeowner Pamela Beynon. "I don't know what to do, I'm at a total loss."

Records show that Beynon's insurance company paid NBRC for a new roof to replace the storm-damaged one on her Pinellas Park home back in May and June.

But all she has to show for that $9,000 insurance claim three months later is a lot of excuses and a letter from NBRC's attorneys that places blame for the stalled installation on contractors, insurance companies and hard economic times.

"The only thing I can do is try to recoup some of the money and go out and hire my own contractor to do the roof," said Beynon. "It's the only choice I have."

Other consumers tell 8 On Your Side that contractors hired by NBRC did install roofs as promised, but NBRC has failed to pay those contractors and suppliers.

Even though their insurance companies paid NBRC for the work, those consumers are stuck owing as much as $12,000 to contractors and suppliers who went unpaid for their goods and services.

"I wish I would have known what we were getting into before I got into it," said Palm Harbor homeowner Greg Larson. "I don't understand how they're allowed to do business."

Larson's neighbor Joe Zigler also had a roof installed after signing a contract with NBRC and now has a $4500 lien from the company that supplied roofing materials because NBRC didn't pay that bill.

"Very upsetting, said Zigler. "We didn't do anything wrong, we haven't done a thing wrong."

NBRC's failure to pay contractors and suppliers is the reason behind a growing number of liens filed for insurance-related roof replacements in Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

The owner of Reliant roofing which also does business as TRW has filed two dozen of those liens totaling $191,000.  TRW's owner says NBRC failed to pay for dozens of roofs his companies installed that were supposed to be funded by insurance claims.

"The homeowner is the last resort," said TRW owner Tripp Cohagan. "This is what we have to do."

Cohagan says he is working with homeowners to minimize the impact on them while trying to collect the unpaid bills from NBRC. "We are pursuing other means to collect our revenue from the people who actually owe it to us," Cohagan said.

An 8 on Your Side investigation reveals that two of the people running NBRC--Carlton Dunke and Henry Martin Pureber--had a troubled past in 10 other states while operating another roofing company named American Shingle and Siding and are currently out on bond following their arrest for theft in Georgia in 2010.

Georgia prosecutors there have not filed formal charges against Dunke or Pureber but are still reviewing that case.

Attorneys for NBRC said company managers have no interest in answering any questions from Eight On Your Side and locating those managers has been difficult. NBRC has closed all of its offices In Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties.

Two years ago before it went bankrupt, American Shingle's business practices triggered a nationwide alert by the Better Business Bureau. Those practices involved collecting insurance money and failing to pay contractors or not performing the work at all.

"It sounds very familiar said Larsen. "It's the exact same thing that's happening to us. We did our part...they should pay the people who did the work for them."

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