BLOOMFIELD, Mich (WJBK) - Jeff Petrucci spent 25 years making Bloomfield Construction into a $5 million per year business with an A+ rating in the Better Business Bureau. He was pretty sure that he'd seen it all - until earlier this year.
That's when he started fielding calls from customers he didn't recognize and suppliers asking him about jobs that he wasn't familiar with.
They all told him they were working with Bloomfield Construction.
So Jeff Googled his own business and was surprised to see that there was a company out there with a similar name: Bloomfield Construction/Renovation.
The site says the company that Jeff never heard of "has been a leader in the industry home renovations & Remodeling throughout the Oakland County area since 2001." It also says the owner is Joseph Dewayne.
Jeff picked up the phone and called the copycat contractor.
"I said 'hey this is my company, what are you doing, how long you been in business?' And we kinda got into an argument," he said.
It didn't end with the phone call. The argument continued in text messages and ended with Joe saying he would 'see him in court'. That's exactly what Jeff did - he took him to court to get him to change his name. But Joe and his attorney didn't show up.
The judge sided with Jeff and ordered Joe to stop doing business as Bloomfield Construction and Renovations, Inc. He was also barred from doing business under any trade name containing a combination of the words 'Bloomfield' and 'construction'.
Nevertheless, Joe didn't stop. He does things his way - we caught him wearing a Bloomfield Construction shirt, and the website is still up. We started digging and found some things out about Joe.
His real name is Joseph Dewayne Carson and he is a contractor - an unlicensed one. How good is he? Darrel hired him last year - and he's not a happy customer.
"The windows, he put in upside down," Darrel said. It didn't stop there.
Darrel gave him $12,000 last year to work on a house. It doesn't look good and it went on for weeks.
"He did work on a roof that was not stable," he said. "He didn't show up on time. He missed many days and when he did show up, it was always late."
Darrel said it came to a halt when Joe told him that he didn't like his attitude.
"He said afterwards that we should meet like men so we could go over the bill so he could prove the work that he's done, so I offered to meet him immediately but he never showed up," Darrel said.
Darrel contacted the police but didn't follow up because his wife was scared of Joe. Wonder why.
As it turns out, Joe is a lifelong criminal. According to the Michigan State Police, he was arrested in 1986 for breaking and entering. That was just the beginning.
1990 - arrested for running from the police
1992 - arrested for possession of narcotics
1994 - convicted of retail fraud and two counts of assault and battery. This was the same year he was also classified as a habitual offender.
2003 - sentenced to 20 years for two counts of receiving stolen property. He was released in 2008
2008 - arrested for possession of narcotics, breaking and entering, and assault.
He also owes $61,000 in taxes to the IRS.
With that record, he couldn't get a contractor's license, let a lone a driver's license - which is expired and has multiple suspensions.
What happens when we called the number on the site? Joe agrees to meet a 'customer' for an estimate but he never shows up. He keeps coming up with excuses when it's time to meet. The good news is that the fifth time was the time. He showed up with a partner and both were wearing shirts that say Bloomfield Construction.
Rob: "What's the name of your company, Bloomfield Construction?"
Joe: "What is this about?"
Rob: "I'm trying to find out a little about your business. Can you fill me in?"
Joe: "You see I'm doing construction. What's the problem?"
Rob: "I want to know what's the name of your company?"
Joe: "Google it."
Rob: "Google it? Well I did. It says here you're Bloomfield Construction and Renovation and you've been in business since 2001."
Joe: "Yes, sir."
Rob: "And that's your builder's license number there?"
Joe "That's a special trade license, what does it say right there, Rob?"
Rob: "Special Contractor SID."
Joe: "Can you read?"
Rob: "Yeah I can read. It says 'always imitated but never duplicated'."
Joe: "That's right."
Rob: "Who's imitating you?"
Joe: "A lot of people. You probably is right now."
The guy who was told by a judge to stop imitating people just accused FOX 2's Rob Wolchek of imitating him. Their conversation continued.
Rob: "You can't get a contractor's license. This is you. Look, you're a crook."
Joe "A crook?"
Joe acts like that's news to him. Maybe he forgot about all of those arrests we mentioned earlier. So Rob reminded him.
That just made Joe mad - and mean.
Joe: "Learn the law before you come chasing people down."
Rob: "I know the law. You don't have a contractor's license."
Joe: "I'm a special trades. It's right there."
Joe: "Get out of my face with your bulls***."
Rob: "I'm not in your face. Listen, you don't have a contractor's license."
Joe: "So what!?"
Rob: "And you're imitating Bloomfield Construction."
Joe: "I'm not imitating...listen.'
Rob: "And you were supposed to go to court over this."
Joe: "Listen. You're going to get sued because I have an attorney."
Rob: "Well you didn't even show up to court! Why didn't you show up to court?"
Joe: "I was at a funeral."
Rob: "I thought you had a funeral last week?"
He canceled one of our appointments with that excuse. Now he's using it for his court date last month.
Rob: "Why are you trying to take business from this guy, Jeff?"
Joe: "I'm not trying to take nothing from Jeff!"
Rob "Why don't you just use a different name?"
Joe: "I can name my company anything I want."
Rob: "No you can't."
Joe: "We'll see what the judge has to say about that!"
Rob: "The judge already said something about it! You were supposed to be in court."
So we're back where we started. Now Joe is resorting to false accusations and insults.
"Get a real suit. You work on the news everyday. You run around in a seersucker suit. Go buy you a nice suit, Rob," he said before turning to insult my producer. "You look horrible. You're miserable."
Rob: "Why are you throwing out insults when you're in the wrong?"
"I'm not wrong," Joe said.
He wrong - about being wrong. Now, he's in the Hhhhhhhhall of Shame!"
Joe said Darrel could have taken him to court and said that he left the job because Darrel didn't want to pay the final installment. His site says it's been in business since 2001 but his incorporation papers were filed in January of 2017. The state says Joe doesn't have a license to do any kind of residential construction.