Union comes to aid of senior in alleged shingle shakedown

Donald, 88, who was allegedly scammed out of $20,000 by a Richmond Hill contractor, is seen in...

Donald, 88, who was allegedly scammed out of $20,000 by a Richmond Hill contractor, is seen in Scarborough on Monday, August 18, 2014. (Stan Behal/Toronto Sun)

Shawn Jeffords, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

TORONTO - A local union has come to the rescue of an 88-year-old Scarborough man who alleges he was bilked out of $23,000 in a home renovation scam.

The Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local 51 has offered to repair the man’s roof — providing materials and labour for free — after a Richmond Hill company is alleged to have scammed the senior and left the job unfinished. The union responded after a Toronto Sun story about the man, Donald, and the alleged fraud that happened in early June and led to a police investigation and the arrest of a 33-year-old contractor.

“I’m so tired of seeing these fly-by-night roofing companies go in and (allegedly) rip people off,” said Harold Biso, business manager for the union. “It happens all the time and it’s disgraceful. It gives us all a bad name in the roofing business.”

Since the work was done, Donald, who asked his last name not be used, received an estimate that puts repairs to the remaining problems at $3,000. Biso said when he saw the Sun story he was disgusted and knew the union had to help the senior out of the jam.

“There are a lot of good men and women working in the business who are nothing like the story you have,” Biso said. “It’s time we stepped up to the plate and showed people that.”

Part of the trouble is the ease with which you can start a roofing company in the city, he said.

“There’s no standard. There’s no test. Nothing to go by,” Biso said. “If you’ve got a ladder and truck, you’re a roofing company. It’s unfortunate.”


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