This article was originally published on March, 25, 2024 in ProRemodeler. Written by Caroline Broderick.

An Ohio contractor faces a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General over clients’ alleged loss of $1 million—a “pretty major case in Ohio consumer transaction,” says Attorney General David Yost.

Yost alleges that the contractor, Jeffrey Crawford Jr. of Cleveland Custom Homes in Avon, violated the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act and Home Construction Service Suppliers Act by failing to deliver, failing to pay subcontractors, and failing to include necessary information in contracts, to name a few, for custom building and remodeling projects.

“This is one of the more egregious homebuilding cases we have. We see cases about adding a deck, paving a driveway, putting a new roof on. It’s rare that we see these kinds of numbers,” said Yost.

One client took matters into his own hands.

Mohamed Muntaser claims he lost $500,000 to Crawford, who he entrusted to build his custom home. So, Muntaser went to retrieve his lost funds himself—at Crawford’s home.

“He hasn’t done any work on my house since July. He hasn’t picked up a phone call in three weeks so I just wanted an answer,” Muntaser told officers, seen on body cam footage obtained by 19 News.

Crawford might consider himself lucky. For other contractors, angry client visits can end in tragedy.

AG Yost’s site explains that other clients “allegedly suffered significant financial losses … leaving some homes in worse condition than when he started working on them.”

For subcontractors, several claim they’re due tens of thousands, upwards of $65,000. 

And in order to receive additional funds from the bank, Crawford signed an affidavit confirming subcontractors had been paid.

“He signed lien waivers, acting like he is our representative to receive money from the bank. The banks gave him the money based on that. There is no recourse from the bank,” said subcontracted plumber Don Seeley.

Crawford allegedly charged an excessive down payment, not in accordance with the Home Construction Service Suppliers Act. The Act outlines that if the total payment is greater than $25,000, a down payment cannot exceed 10%. For Crawford, Yost claims he asked for “significantly more than that statutory limit.”

This isn’t the first time for Crawford either. Last year, a cabinet supplier, Tom Caruso, sued Crawford and won for his owed $106,000. Caruso told 19 News that the first red flag about Crawford was slow payments.