Builder accused of stealing thousands from customers
A builder’s license has been suspended in Indian River County after several customers spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, and their homes were never completed.
“It’s supposed to be a house,” Yolanda Allen-Bell told WFLX.
Allen-Bell has one thing in common with a group of other Indian River County residents who spoke with WFLX earlier this week.
"We realized, 'Oh my God, this guy is a criminal,'" Katrina Cummings said.
"It was just lies from the beginning," Bruce McCullers said.
"We lost, as of this point, $110,000," Kristin Lees said.
Each of these hopeful homeowners told WFLX that in 2020 they first hired Vero Beach-based Slater Construction, owned by Dillon Slater.
"It was $103,000 upfront," McCullers said.
"We gave him $195,000 cash," Cummings said.
Joseph and Katrina Cummings had two contracts with Slater.
They told WPTV bad communication turned into silence and their homes were never completed.
"We'd like to get the money back, but first we want to stop him from doing this to other innocent victims," Katrina Cummings said.
"I just need the money," Allen-Bell said.
When Allen-Bell spoke with WFLX, she was standing in a lot where she was planning to build a home for her mother.
When Slater stopped responding to her, she took him to court.
"We went to trial and Dillon did not show up, and Judge Croom wrote me a judgment for $39,000," Allen-Bell said. "My family wants answers. Where is the $39,000, where did it go? Because this is the lot, nothing here."
That judgment found Slater to be in "breach of contract." He still hasn't paid Allen-Bell.
The Indian River County Sheriff's office tells Contact 5 that they're investigating several complaints filed against Slater. According to online records, the county has suspended his license, meaning he cannot open new projects in the county.
Contact 5 visited Slater's home, and he wasn't there. However, our news crew noticed that a detective had left her card for Slater.
The customers that WFLX spoke with are hoping the investigation leads to criminal charges because they’re worried this will keep happening to more people.
"I'm very angry, very angry. It's not about the money now," McCullers said. "I want justice and Dillon, if you see this brother, it's gonna come. Don't you worry."
According to Florida licensing records, Slater also has a license for a company called Coastal Pools. There are no records of complaints about that company at this time.
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