Local contractor complaints, criminal record crosses state lines

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MONTAGUE, Mich. -- A West Michigan contractor profiled multiple times by the FOX 17 Problem Solvers allegedly has a trail of complaints in South Carolina. We've also learned that the Michigan Attorney General's Office is suing James Foguth on behalf of at least two customers.

Foguth owns True Value Builders based in Wyoming.

"Jim Foguth turned something that I was really excited about into just a nightmare," Sue Levy said.

Levy is another disgruntled customer that the Problem Solvers caught up with. Now that she and her husband are retired, they said they wanted to fix up their Montague home. So they hired True Value Builders in August 2016 to install a new roof and new windows.

"We had a problem with the credit issue. They had applied for credit in my name, that I was unaware of, and pulled a $20,000 draw off a $30,000 line of credit," she explained.

Levy said Greensky Credit returned the money. After paying Foguth half upfront, she said he dragged his feet on the project and didn't start on the roof until November. She said that was just before the weather turned.

"And that's when the leaking began," Levy recalled.

She said improper installations were done from one end of the home to the other. Levy said there was water damage, and it even filled a wall.

"It was like a balloon filled with water," she recalled.

After much back and forth with True Value Builders and an inspection, the Levy's hired a new, reputable contractor in late February to finish and repair the work. The couple said it paid the new contractor $28,000 dollars.

"And that's when I started finding out that the permits weren't pulled, [and] the roofer was a subcontractor that wasn't licensed," she said.

The Problem Solvers did more digging on James Foguth and True Value Builders. Foguth ran a similar business in South Carolina in the 1990s.

According to court records, judgments against Foguth show other people and companies have had problems. That includes a window company that won more than $100,000 after Foguth allegedly breached a contract.

South Carolina records also show multiple fraud charges, with a conviction in the late 1990s.

Back here in Michigan, the Problem Solvers learned the state Attorney General's office is fighting Foguth on at least two customers' behalf.

"He's still got his license. He's still advertising," Levy said.

All of the people the Problem Solvers interviewed want James Foguth stopped for his alleged actions.

Levy said, "The only way to protect yourself is with documentation."

The Problem Solvers reached out to James Foguth for an interview again. He said via email to 'get your facts straight' and 'contact my attorney'. We've reached out several times to his attorney, Paul Van Gessel, for nearly two months. Van Gessel has not returned our call.

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4 comments

  • Old Bob

    Guys like this hurt all contractor. I have a job I need done. I could do it myself, but I much rather hire someone to do it. But, I sure don’t want to be taken advantage of. I will probably do the job myself rather than take a chance. I am sure a lot of people are thinking this way

  • Sue Overholt

    I knew this guy was shady. When job was supposed to be started and no show after no show. My husband got mad and Jim and his son showed up on Christmas Eve to do some of the job. What a joke. His son had pajamas on and no socks in winter. Gave the poor kid socks. The son obviously didn’t know what he was doing while working on our windows. My husband had to help them. After that, every day was wondering if someone was gonna show to finish the job. One time, sent away workers that were supposed to come in my house to work on windows but these guys were not coming in my house. They had no tools on them!!! By the way, he did our roof and have had many troubles!

  • grumps

    Go after his contracting license in the state of Michigan..I did this with a contractor who ditched on me and he was fined $5000 by the state and had to pay me back the $12,000 that I was awarded in a judgement against him..lo and behold, he started driving long haul trucks and made all payments to me and paid the fine in order to get his license back..if this guy wants to continue to work in Michigan, that license is worth gold to him..go get it!!