Local pool builder faces criminal charges

CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. — A Cabarrus County woman says her dream has always been to have a pool.

Laurie Harris told Channel 9 she hired John Gibson’s company, Johnwaylon Aquatics, to build that pool.

Harris says she paid him the full amount of $38,000 upfront and that he dug a hole for the pool, but that was it.

“He was just going on and on about every excuse,” she said.

Harris says she turned to another pool company to finish the job, which meant spending more money.

“We don’t have money just to give to somebody,” she said. “I don’t want anybody else to be in the situation that my husband and I are in. We’re out $38,000. That was our savings.”

“I thought I was out here alone. I found out that there was others,” Harris said.

Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke found out about others as well.

A man told him his father, who lives in Charlotte, hired Gibson. He says his father paid $30,000, but that the builder “never completed the job.” He ended up filing a police report.

A woman in Catawba County says she paid Gibson $27,000, but he only did about $7,000 worth of work, which was done wrong. She says she reported Gibson to the sheriff’s office there.

Gibson is facing charges in Cabarrus County and Catawba County, including obtaining property by false pretense, a felony.

Gibson and Action 9 exchanged texts before his arrest. He said he held up his end of the deal in these cases, but wet weather interfered and that the customers told him to “not to return to any of these properties.” When asked about possible criminal charges, Gibson said “all charges are falsified.”

Gibson has several court dates coming up over the next month and a half.

If you are thinking of buying a pool as we head toward summer:

1. Do your homework — research the company, read reviews, see if you can talk to customers, etc.

2. Try not to pay more upfront than you are required. Obviously, the contractor needs money to get started and buy materials but try not to give 100% of the contract price at the start. The more custom the job, the more you should expect to pay upfront because the contractor won’t be able to use the same materials for other projects.

3. Make sure you get a written contract. It should at least answer these SEVEN questions:

- When will the work start?

- When will the work be done?

- What if it is not done by the finish date?

- What happens if the contractor discovers a problem digging in your yard?

- How will a contractor get to the site? After all, they will likely need heavy equipment.

- Will the contractor pay for or replace damaged shrubs or grass?

- What is the warranty on the materials and the work? Don’t forget the platform around the pool, special features such as a diving board or waterfall, and any fencing.

(VIDEO: Contractor rip you off? The pot of money you may not know about)