Local contractor complaints, criminal record crosses state lines

Posted at 6:24 PM, Mar 23, 2017

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.