Shutters contractor arrested following ‘Leave it to Layron’ investigation

Jeffrey Miller, owner of Millerspec Creations, Inc., is facing charges of grand theft, fraud, drug possession and contracting without a license following a “Leave it to Layron” investigation.

“Obviously, the guy has a problem,” Abdon Williams said. “I think he needs some help.”

Williams was the first Millerspec customer to contact the “Leave it to Layron” team. Last week, he says he got a visit from a detective with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

“I was asked to raise my right hand and swear that what I was going to say was the truth,” he said. 

Williams said the detective wanted to know what happened between him and Miller; about how Williams paid Miller $1,840 as a deposit for hurricane shutters; and about how Miller agreed to install those shutters, but never showed up or refunded Williams’ money.
   
The LITL investigation later revealed Miller was not licensed to work in Broward County or the state of Florida.

One of his customers filed a small claims lawsuit against him in Broward County court and won. The LITL team was contacted by nearly a dozen other customers who claimed they’d also hired Miller. They also said they’d paid Miller deposits for work on which he never made good.

“He took us out, we sat, we did the estimate, he bought us dinner and drinks,” Lawrence Fung said.

Fung and his wife said Miller was hired to renovate their Tamarac home, which was the couple’s very first home. Six months later, the couple is out more than $16,000, and the renovation is unfinished.

After the LITL team shared their story, Miller shared his story in an interesting text message.

In it, he claims he was getting death threats. 

He also said he “was dealt some bad cards.”  Miller admitted to making “mistakes” and claimed his lack of communication was brought on by depression. He vowed to “fix” things.

But Miller was arrested the next day.

“He’s a young guy,” Williams said. “He can’t go on like this.”

Miller is out on bond and emailed the LITL team Tuesday morning.

“This is exactly what I built my company against,” he wrote. “Yes, I had a weak point. I was overwhelmed. I don’t sleep. I don’t eat. I just stress over this.”

He wrote, “I never meant to hurt anyone. I will fix this as quickly and efficiently as possible.”

Miller ended the email, writing in all caps: “FIND A LICENSED CONTRACTOR AND DEMAND PROOF!!”

His criminal case is now pending in Broward County court.

If you have a problem or issue that needs to be solved, CLICK HERE to “Leave it to Layron.”

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Condo association says ex-Marine’s emotional support dog is too big

Cross-Bones is his name, and he never met a human he didn’t like.

“He was quiet, but firm,” said Jean Salas.  He adopted his 70-pound dog last year, naming him after one of his former commanding officers.  Salas spent four years overseas, serving in the Marine Corps. 

“Throughout the time that I’ve had him, he has benefited me for my mental health,” said Salas.

He said Bones is his emotional support dog. 

“Whenever I’m anxious, or just feel overwhelmed, he’ll just come up to me, sit with me, cuddle up to me, comfort me.”

The Leave it to Layron team was contacted by Salas and his landlord after Salas’ application to rent his condo was denied.  The Sabal Chase Condo Association” sent Salas’ landlord a “certificate of denial” citing the association’s bylaws: “…a permitted pet may not be more than 29 pounds in weight.”

Salas’ landlord exchanged emails with the association’s managers, asking an exception be made to that weight limit.  Salas and his landlord submitted their Bones’s emotional support animal “registration” certificate.

At one point, the association manager responded, writing, “being an emotional support dog, is not the same thing as a service animal.”

We tried speaking with the managers of the association and were eventually referred to the association’s lawyer, whose comment was, “no comment.”

We talked to another lawyer:  Matthew Dietz, with the Disability Independence Group.

“There’s no difference between [the weight rule] and saying I have a mobility impairment and I need an assigned parking space.”

Dietz said the association is violating Salas’ federal fair housing rights.

“Without a doubt,” said Dietz.  “If it’s housing, you have to allow both service animals and emotional support animals.”

Dietz tried a similar case in federal court and won.  He represented an Air Force veteran whose Florida condo board ordered him to get rid of his emotional support dog because the dog was too big.

Dietz said the Salas’ association could have asked for a verification from a treating professional, to say that the person has a disability and the dog is necessary.

“In this case it was, you have an emotional support animal, you’re not allowed to live here.”

For now, Salas doesn’t have access to any of the community’s common spaces.  But Salas said his landlord is letting him and Bones stay.   

“He’s my dog,” Salas said.  “He’s family.”

Dietz said anyone who feels their housing rights are being violated should start with filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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Woman says she was cheated out of money by Wilton Manors consignment shop owner

When the “Leave it to Layron” team stopped by 420 East Consignment in Wilton Manors, the initial reception was warm.

Kara McCormick, the owner, greeted us with a smile and asked how we were doing. After we introduced ourselves and started asking questions, that warm reception reached a boiling point.

“There’s a sign here that states that you guys can’t be here if I ask you to leave,” McCormick said.  

McCormick was on the phone, calling police while pointing to a sign inside her store window.  

“If you wanted my side, you should have called me. This is ridiculous,” she said.

Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston accompanied Marti Wietor to the consignment shop.  

Wietor said her relationship with 420 East began in March 2016, about a year after her husband’s death in 2015.

“[Mike] was my rock,” Wietor said. “We were together 32 years.”

After her husband’s passing, Wietor said she had to downsize, moving out of the couple’s Davie home into a smaller property Plantation. 

After 30 years of marriage, “we gathered a lot of stuff,” Wietor said. “[They were] treasures to us.”

Wietor didn’t have room for the paintings, collectibles and memorabilia in her smaller home, so a friend referred her to McCormick’s consignment shop.

“[They] came out with a big truck and a couple of helpers, and it took them several loads,” Wietor said.

She said she was assured that within a day or two she’d have a detailed [inventory] list.

“That never happened,” Wietor said.  

Wietor said the agreement was 50-50, meaning she would get 50 percent of the proceeds from the sales of her items and McCormick and the consignment shop would get the other 50 percent.

Wietor told the LITL team she received two checks for about $100 each, which she cashed. 

“Last August, [McCormick] told me she had finally sold everything and she was going to have another $1,400 for me,” Wietor said.  

Wietor is disabled and does not drive. She uses an electric mobility scooter to get-around. 

In the months that followed, Wietor said she called multiple times and got multiple excuses about why the checks were delayed.

“I realize things happen, but I’ve been very patient,” Wietor said. “I contacted you out of desperation because I need help.”

The LITL team was with Wietor when she rode her scooter into the consignment shop. Seconds after McCormick greeted us at the door, she was threatening to call the police and demanding we turn off our camera.

We asked McCormick if she ever admitted to owing Wietor any money.  

“I do not admit anything to her, at all,” she said. “I have sent her check after check.”

We asked her if she had statements that she could provide — something Wietor did not have. 

“I’m not providing you anything,” McCormick said. “You guys need to get out of my store.”

McCormick then stated that she would speak with Wietor without the LITL team being present. But, moments later, she was asking Wietor to leave the store and threatening her with arrest.

“[The police] can arrest me,” Wietor said, still waiting just inside the store entrance.

Moments later, a Wilton Manors police officer arrived.  

He entered the store, spoke with McCormick, and later asked Wietor to wait outside while he spoke with McCormick alone inside the store.  

Another officer showed up and entered the store. Minutes later, the first officer exited the store, only to escort Wietor back inside.

A few more minutes passed, then both officers and Wietor were back out on the sidewalk. 

This time, Wietor had a number of papers in her hands — statements detailing the sale of her items. Some of them dated back to 2016.

She also had a check in her hand for $1,133.75.

“It’s a little shy, but I’m going to let it go,” Wietor said. “Had you not been here, believe me, I wouldn’t have gotten the check.”

If you’re consigning or considering consignment, make sure you take inventory of every single item you plan to hand over to the consignment shop.  

Wietor said she had photos of  many of her items, but neglected to take note of everything.  

Consignment agreements, or contracts, should also clearly spell out the terms of the agreement, when and how payments should be made, and both the client and consignment shop owner should be clear on those terms.

If you have a problem or issue that needs to be solved, CLICK HERE to “Leave it to Layron.”

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South Florida companies help fix 90-year-old man’s Miami home

At the age of 90, Oscar Adderly’s been around longer than the home he’s lived in for the past 50 years.

His wood-frame house on Northwest 49th Street in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood was built in 1937 and has held firm against many a South Florida storm.  

Unfortunately, Hurricane Irma’s winds proved to be too heavy for his neighbor’s tree. The tree came crashing down during the storm, landing on the side of Adderly’s home.  

The whole situation left Adderly feeling hopeless. His home was uninsured, and he has been living with family because the damage left behind by the tree rendered his home unlivable.  

When the Leave it to Layron team caught up with Adderly in February, he was all smiles.

“(It) looks like they’re going to do something,” he said, laughing.

“Oh, I’ve got a vision, here,” Eric Hershberger said. “I’m excited, man.”

Hershberger owns Fine Design Builders. Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston met him and his operations manager, William Anger, poring over every inch of Adderly’s home.   

“If more people would do this random act of kindness, we’d live in a great place,” Anger said.

Anger contacted the Leave it to Layron team minutes after Adderly’s story aired on Local 10 last month. 

“It just pulled at my heartstrings,” he said.    

Anger said construction is his passion and he’s been in the business for 30 years. He offered to help Adderly and his family, free of charge.

“This is his home,” Anger said. “Even sitting in it like this, he said he’s more comfortable.”

Lorraine Williams said the gesture brought tears to her eyes.  Adderly is her father and the house that’s now uninhabitable is the house she grew up in.

“Whatever they can do to help, we’re going to be grateful,” she said. 

“It’s great to be able to give him something back,” said Jack Daley, a territory sales manager with IKO, a manufacturer of roofing shingles. Daley has already signed on to donate whatever is needed to put a roof over Adderly’s head.

The reality is it’s going to take more than a roof to get Adderly’s home livable.

Hershberger and Anger found evidence of extensive termite damage throughout the 80-year-old home. New wiring is needed as well, and there may be lead-based paint, and mold remediation that has to take place, along with new plumbing.   

“To try to go into and repair all these things, open up the walls, is going to take more time, more money,” Hershberger said.

“It might come to having to knock the whole house down,” Anger added.

Livingston asked Adderly if that’s something he’s prepared to deal with.  

“Yes,” he answered. “Anything that they can do, or want to do, is alright with me.”

Even with all of the work before him, Hershberger and Anger are not shying away.

“I have faith that it’s all going to come together,” Hershberger said.

“Knowing that all of his children and grandchildren will be here for Christmas, that makes me feel good,” Anger said.

If you have a problem or issue that needs to be solved, CLICK HERE to “Leave it to Layron.”

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Woman contacts ‘Leave it to Layron’ after Comcast leaves cable strung through yard

Georgia Coyle emailed the “Leave it to Layron” team because the work she thought would be completed in her backyard remains unfinished. She said cable contractors with Comcast showed up at her Oakland Park home in November.

“They dug holes. They ran some kind of pipe,” she said.  

Coyle showed Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston a section of her yard that meets the neighbor’s fence.  

She pointed out a junction box poking up from the ground. A black cable, about an inch in diameter, was connected to the junction box but had been cut. Another cable — thinner and orange — sprung up from the box and was draped over her neighbor’s fence post.  

From the neighbor’s fence, the orange cable dips down to the recently shoveled earth in Coyle’s yard, resting on top of the dirt and azaleas plants as it snakes its way to a different junction box on the opposite side of the yard. 

The workers that showed up in November reportedly told Coyle they needed to bury a cable line. The “Leave it to Layron” team stopped by Coyle’s home in February. The workers have not been back in several weeks. The orange cable that Coyle was told was supposed to be underground remains unburied.

“I called the contractor and I told him what was happening, and he said he’d be coming back to take a look at what the situation was, but he never showed up,” Coyle said. 

Coyle made multiple calls to Comcast in the weeks that followed. During those calls, she was given ticket numbers for service. No one ever came out to bury the orange cable. 

Then, one day, there was a glimmer of hope.

“There was a repairman on my property on Feb. 2, so I thought, ‘Oh, wow, maybe something’s happening,'” Coyle said. 

Coyle said the repairman was there to address an issue with her neighbor’s cable, not the unburied line. 

“(He) took a look, took a picture or two, sent it to his supervisor and said someone should be out here to take a look at this,” Coyle said.

But no one came, according to Coyle.

The clincher: Coyle isn’t even a Comcast cable customer.  

“I have DirecTV,” she said. “It’s very frustrating for me at this point.”

The “Leave it to Layron” team’s first call was to Comcast customer service. An automated system asked for a phone number or account number to look up the customer’s information. But there was a problem: Coyle does not have a Comcast account.   

Fortunately, the “Leave it to Layron” team was able to use Livingston’s personal Comcast account information to bypass the automated system and speak with a representative.

The agent was able to pull up one of Coyle’s previous service tickets, but the ticket was marked as “closed.” The representative later acknowledged she did not see what the actual resolution was.

The team’s next call was to Comcast’s corporate offices. After being transferred to the executive customer relations department, the representative eventually said Coyle’s new service ticket would be escalated and promised someone with Comcast would be reaching out by the end of the day.  

Coyle said she received that call later that afternoon from a regional representative in Miramar. Local 10 also learned the infamous orange cable was a temporary line.

In an email, the executive customer relations representative thanked Coyle for her patience. She also wrote that as soon as the construction team provides an update, a time frame should be set to permanently bury the temporary line.

A Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman told Local 10 News that while the department does not have direct oversight over cable companies, it does advocate on behalf of consumers in Florida and work with companies to meet the consumers’ needs.

Floridians in need of help can call 1-800-HELP-FLA or visit FloridaConsumerHelp.com to file a complaint against a company.

If you have a problem or issue that needs to be solved, CLICK HERE to “Leave it to Layron.”
 

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Elevator issues cause major problem for Aventura assisted living facility

Imperial Club touts itself to be “Aventura’s finest independent and assisted-living rental retirement community.”

Nearly 200 residents live in the 14-floor tower. Administrators told the “Leave it to Layron” team that the majority of Imperial’s residents are 80 or older — some have reached the centenarian club.

“Exceptional” was how Maurice Cohen, 95, described the staff. He said he’s fairly new to the building.

His response changed when asked about the building’s elevator service.  

“Terrible. (It’s) very inconvenient for the patients,” he said. 

The staff started posting signs and notices late last year, urging those in “urgent need of an elevator” to call the front desk.  Another notice that was posted advised that the smaller of the building’s two elevators could only take people up.

In December, the facility’s director penned a letter to residents, letting them know that a “software issue” was to blame for one of the elevator’s breakdowns. The letter noted thousands of dollars had been spent to make needed repairs, and that more would be spent to ensure the “best possible elevator service.”

Lidia Lechtman’s 94-year-old mother moved into Imperial Club in June.  

“She came here because several of her friends are here,” Lechtman said. 

One of those friends is Beile Axelrod’s 97-year-old mother, who has lived at Imperial Club for seven years.

Axelrod said her mother had been happy at the facility before the elevator issues began.

“I don’t want something to be done after someone is seriously hurt,” she said.

Axelrod contacted the “Leave it to Layron” team after firefighters were called to the building one January weekend.  

She and her cousin got stuck in one of the elevators while visiting Axelrod’s mother.

Ceci Berenthal was trying to get up to her aunt’s floor when the elevator stopped. She said crews used a crowbar to pry open the doors so that she and her cousin could get out.

“Could you imagine somebody in a wheelchair or a walker?” she asked. 

Lechtman, Axelrod and Berenthal all called for the same thing: new elevators.

“We need to set their minds at ease,” Axelrod said. 

When Local 10 News reporter Layron Livingston spoke with Imperial Club’s on-site executive director, he was told both elevators were back “up and running” the day after firefighters freed Axelrod and Berenthal from inside.

“It was very sad and challenging that this elevator stopped midfloor,” said Blake Vail, president of Triad Senior Living.

Triad is Imperial Club’s management company.  

“We’re always going to err on the abundance of caution and safety,” Vail said. 

A representative with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration said the agency has an ongoing investigation. 

Complaints about the elevator breakdowns prompted the agency to  perform inspections as recently as September and December. “Deficiencies” were cited during both visits.    

Vail said the goal is to make sure that Imperial Club had two well-running, safe elevators because one has to work while the other is being replaced. The next step, he said, will be modification and replacement.

He said hundreds of thousands of dollars has been paid to two companies to get the elevators working properly.

“This isn’t a lack of care. This is not a lack of resources,” Vail said. 

Vail said crews will work overnight to minimize the impact on residents. He said rental credits will also be given to residents during elevator service interruptions.

But making a 30-year-old elevator new again is not an overnight job.

“We’re sorry for this inconvenience to our residents, and we believe we’ve done all we can to minimize it,” Vail said. 

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