Troubled Pool Builders Linked To Shady Roofer
By Jennifer Kraus
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- First NewsChannel 5 Investigates exposed how a mid-state pool builder known as Premier Pools left dozens of homeowners high and dry.
Now we've found it's not just pool customers who say they've been ripped off by these folks.
The latest twist in our investigation: these same people were also involved with a roofing company -- and homeowners say they paid thousands of dollars and got nothing in return.
The owner of Premier Exteriors is facing theft charges in at least two counties.
"If they catch him, they oughta lock him up," customer Bette Mullens said.
She's talking about Tommy Patterson. Mullens is just one of his many victims. She hired Patterson and his company to fix her roof.
Mullens explained how Patterson took her check "and deposited in the bank -- and that's the last I saw of any of 'em."
NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked Mullens, "And, why did he never come back?"
"He didn't intend to, I don't think. It was simply just a scam and I fell for it," she stated.
And she isn't the only one.
We've found Patterson has been arrested for theft in Sumner, Rutherford, and Davidson counties for taking thousands of dollars from customers and not doing the work.
It's the same sort of thing homeowners say Premier Pools did to them.
Premier Pools customer Wendy Seem told NewsChannel 5 Investigates, "We have paid them $32,250."
Homeowners like Seem said Premier Pools took their money and left them with unfinished pools or pools with so many problems that they won't pass codes inspections.
Ed Shanks is Tommy Patterson's stepfather -- and Ed and his wife, Anna, run Premier Pools.
Both were arrested in Mississippi when they ran another pool company, and they pled guilty to taking customers' money and never building their pool. That's the same sort of thing they're now accused of doing in at least four counties in Middle Tennessee.
Homeowners told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that Tommy Patterson was part of the Premier Pools too.
"We dealt originally with Tommy Patterson and Ed Shanks. And, along the process, we ended up dealing with Anna as well," Wendy Seem recalled.
And NewsChannel 5 Investigates has found this is not the first time they have worked together.
Remember Bette Mullens, the woman who paid Patterson to do her roof?
"I was just scammed," she said.
Patterson's company was Premier Exteriors, and the address on her contract for the company is the home of Ed and Anna Shanks -- the same address the Shanks have used for Premier Pools.
Police reports also show the Premier Exteriors bank account was opened by Tommy Patterson and Anna Shanks -- and both had access to the money.
Patterson backed out of doing an interview at the last minute, but claims Premier Exteriors did 187 roofs without a problem and only a "few people" didn't get their work done.
But state regulators found Patterson ran Premier Exteriors without a state contractors license.
He's now facing felony charges in Rutherford County where he allegedly took more than $60,000 from an apartment complex in Murfreesboro to re-do the roof and never did the work.
All of this came as Patterson was on probation after getting five years for grand larceny in Mississippi.
"He's hurting people who can't afford to be hurt like that," said Bette Mullens, who paid him nearly $6,000.
Mullens is 85 and on a fixed income. She ended up suing Patterson and Premier Exteriors -- and was awarded $25,000.
"Never got a dime, nope," she added.
Now, she wonders how he and his family can sleep at night. "It bothers me that people can do that and walk away."
In addition to the five years that Tommy Patterson got for grand larceny in Mississippi, we've also found that, before that, he was sentenced to ten years in prison in Louisiana for theft.
He's due in court on the theft charges here in Sumner County on Monday and the week after that in Rutherford County.
Patterson claims that Premier Exteriors, the roofing company, went out of business.
In addition to working for Premier Pools, he also has been running another pool company called Staycation Backyard Resorts. But just this week, state regulators sent a cease and desist letter ordering the company to stop doing business because he did not get a contractors license.
To file a complaint: http://www.tn.gov/commerce/boards/contractors/
Customers Say Pool Company Took Money, Left 'Huge Mess'