Barry Hartman got a sinking feeling when he saw a recent report on WABC-TV’s “Eyewitness News” about contractor Barry Minsky.
Minsky, according to the report, had been hired by Hartman’s neighbors, Lonnie and Jamie Green, to repair their home after Superstorm Sandy damaged it. Almost two years, and nearly $220,000, later, the Green home was still not finished, the work that had been done was not up to code and the Greens were paying a mortgage and disaster insurance on a home they couldn’t live in.
The Greens said that Minsky would disappear for months at a time. According to the report, Minsky was arrested in June 2013 for operating as an unlicensed contractor and paid a $2,500 fine to Nassau County.
“It’s one excuse after another,” Lonnie Green told “Eyewitness News” reporter Nina Pineda.
Hartman knows the feeling. He also hired Minsky’s company, Night Construction Group, in November 2012 to repair his Sandy-damaged home. For about two months, Hartman recalled, everything went according to plan. His basement was demolished and reframed, and his plumbing and heating systems were restored. Then, he said, Minsky went AWOL.
Minsky said on Monday that the Hartman home was finished, and that the work his company was hired to do was completed.
“From February 2013 until June 2013, the house went untouched,” Hartman said. In June, he said, he got a call from the company saying that workers were on their way over. “I waited and waited and waited. I waited about 12 days.”
Even worse, Hartman said, the cost of the repairs kept escalating. The initial contract was for $65,000, but gradually went up to $125,000, while work on the house was being done only incrementally.
Bradley Hartman, Barry’s son, was living in the home and acting as caretaker while his parents were in Florida. “He threatened each time to pull his workers, which he did for months at a time,” Barry said, referring to Minsky. “The home is livable, but the first year I was living without walls and there were multiple code violations. I had nowhere to go since I worked in the city.”
The Hartmans said that more work has done on the house since the Green report aired than had been done in several months, but that the work is still not completed.