ONLY ON ABC7NEWS.COM: More North Bay Fire victims file complaints against contractor

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- From the house of their dreams to burn-scape, then a vacant lot-- and now, the fear that this may be as far as they get.

"The promise was they would get us back into our home," said Tom Lanning with his wife, Shelly, and daughter, Emily.

On Thursday, the Lannings became at least the ninth customers to file complaints with the State Contractor's Licensing Board against Chiaramonte Construction,

A Central Valley company that clients say has taken their money and not delivered-- for the Lannings, that's $76,000 paid in January with nothing to show for it.

"I don't think I'll see the money," said Tom.

"We're not going to get it back," said Shelly.

"Makes me wonder if I can afford to rebuild at this point," added Tom.

Chiaramonte Construction has told ABC7 News that they do have plenty of funds.

"We're not some fly-by-night company and did not go up as ambulance chasers to take these people," said Pam Chiaramonte, who works with her husband, Sal.

Chiaramonte Construction came to Sonoma County promising it would build better and for less money by using Central Valley labor and material. Pam still insists that it is working.

"We are finishing on budget and working on our homes diligently."

Impatient customers disagree. Eric Edenfield canceled the contract and changed his locks after countless delays and problems in a home that remains unfinished.

On Thursday Edenfield showed us a $14,000 bill from a flooring subcontractor who he says Chiaramonte should have already paid.

"The guy on the phone said he didn't know who else to call. My heart bleeds for the guy. I think people should be paid for their work."

Issues with subcontractors appear to be happening frequently. More than one subcontractor has told ABC7 that Chiaramonte owes them money-- almost half a million dollars in one case.

And there's another wrinkle. Chiaramonte still owns the construction permits of contracted properties, even after clients have fired them.

"We paid for it but he has to release it," said Shelley.

"Has he," we asked.

"No," Shelley responded.

Chiaramonte Construction asks for patience.

"The more we get harassed and the more we are asked and bugged and questioned and followed the more difficult it is to do our job," said Pam. "The people we are building for will get their homes done properly."

"I don't believe they came up with the intent to rip people off," said Tom. "But I think they bit off more than they can chew."

Sonoma County said, that it is expediting the transfer of those permits back to property owners. Santa Rosa is working to do the same. It hopes to announce a plan by the end of Thursday.

Chiaramonte Construction has 28 construction permits in Santa Rosa alone.
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