Sound of Silence: North Bay Fire victims say contractor not building houses after taking deposits

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- There is a random musicality to the sounds of hammers and reconstruction in the Sonoma County Firestorm zone.

But for some 37 other homeowners, reconstruction has led to silence, inactivity, and an investigation by the California State Licensing Board. It's become maddening for Lynette Kronick, who still has an empty lot where her home once stood.

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"They promised they could build a house for $245 a square foot."

"Did they make good?" we asked.

"There is no house here."

In Coffey Park, Eric Edenfield has some construction finished, but not enough to move in.

"I can't walk away. We cannot do anything for ourselves. We are in limbo land."

Both blame Chiaramonte Construction, a Central Valley builder that took deposits from approximately 70 burned homeowners. Now, they feel burned more than once.

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"On this particular block there are four of us," said Edenfield.

Edenfield punch list of problems continues to grow.

"This window has failed code. The French doors are all in wrong. I had two inches of water here after the rains. I am now my own contractor."

He has spent close to $250,000. This is what he has to show for it.

That's more than Lynette Kronick, who has nothing but paper and problems.

"These are the plans," she said, spreading them on the dusty hood of her car."

Lynette signed an agreement and her mortgage company paid Chiaramonte $126,000 for work on her rebuilt home. But, nothing has happened. Recently, Chiaramonte promised a partial refund minus some expenditures, "Which I already paid," Lynette said.

The company sent Lynette a photocopy of the check, but she has yet to receive it.

"Shouldn't that check have arrived by now? I hope they didn't send that picture to placate me."

RELATED: Coffey Park residents eager to get the park back as the community continues rebuilding from North Bay Fires

Clients tell us Chiaramonte promised fast builds for reasonable prices. Now, the best they can say about the company might be that it promised too much and got into trouble.

Bob Martz works for Chiaramonte. We found him on site today. "I know we got issues. But doesn't everybody?"

"What kind of issues?"

"I can't really say."

Tuesday afternoon, the company's Pam Chiaramonte answered out phone call.

"The media is ruining our reputation," she said. "We are building. We are manning our jobs every day. We are continuing to work hard on these projects. Every job and customer is unique."

We asked why there are so many unhappy customers and unfinished projects.

"There have been challenges," said Chiaramonte. "There has been a learning curve. There has been wet weather. That has set many jobs back."

The company's initial model, she said, had been to import less expensive workers from Central California.

"But construction has picked up," said Chiaramonte.

Pam Chiarmonte said she is willing to sit down on camera and explain everything tomorrow.

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