FRANKFORT, Ill. (WLS) — Several unhappy customers reached out to our I-Team about a south suburban contractor who, they say, took their money and didn’t properly finish the jobs.
Now the I-Team has learned this contractor is not allowed to work in the suburb where he once had an office.
Amy O’Donnel’s dream of a remodeled basement in Frankfort is far from a reality. Nearly a year after her husband signed a contract with Chi-Line Construction, the project is far from complete.
“So pretty much all it is, is just the frame with drywall on it,” she said of her basement.
O’Donnel said she paid $75,000 to Chi-Line Construction and owner Aaron McMann. In their contract, McMann said he would do the majority of the work and supply materials, and O’Donnel would do some installations.
“The entire bar is unfinished, it’s only framed, so we are missing our appliances and cabinets that we paid for, countertops,” O’Donnel said.
Eight customers told the I-Team they hired McMann and Chi-Line Construction and got incomplete jobs or poor workmanship after paying anywhere from $2,000, to more than a $100,000.
“Finished one thing and he didn’t finish it, then it wasn’t done right anyway,” said Frank Drozd who paid more than $38,000 on a $51,000 job with un-matched siding on the front of his home.
He said that holes in a caulking job of the windows and doors and poor installation caused water damage. And he has leaking in his basement ceiling.
“These boards were wet and moldy so I had to cut them out,” he said.
“It looks like a speed bump between my dining room and living room in my office,” said Chi-Line customer Stephanie Tabak.
“They never insulated the second floor and my pipes froze and it came pouring down the main floor,” said homeowner Christine VanByssum.
Ken Nading took video of McMann and fired Chi Line, he said, after waiting two months for a basement entryway to be finished. He is now trying to get a $15,000 down payment back.
Subcontractor Enrique Montes said Chi-Line owes him more than $2,000.
“Subcontractors, we go in there, we get everything done. We expect to get paid,” he said.
The I-Team uncovered 15 complaints filed with the Illinois Attorney General against Chi-Line Construction. Seven are from the people in this story. Some consumers have filed police reports.
The Village of Frankfort said after getting “multiple complaints” about McMann, his contractor license was suspended but that his “license is eligible for reinstatement if the issues are corrected.”
Will County said McMann’s license in the unincorporated part of the county expired in December 2022 and was suspended in December 2023. A spokesperson told the I-Team, “There was an allegation against this company that they walked away from projects and did not finish the work to code for three permits in unincorporated Will County.”
We emailed and talked on the phone with McMann, but he declined to comment to the I-Team. When we went to his listed business address in Frankfort, it was empty.
Some people got money back. Tiffany Hill-Moore got a partial refund on her credit card and Denise Kelly received a full refund from her credit card after disputing charges. But they said they had to hire new contractors.
“Unfinished work, the quality of the work was extremely shoddy,” said Hill-Moore
“Someone did come and start the project, ripped out all the concrete, messed up everything and abandoned the project,” Kelly said.
The Illinois Attorney General said it’s reviewing all complaints against Chi-Line Construction, and added that consumers should always get more than one estimate in writing. Get a specific payment schedule with a down payment, mid payments, and final payments which should coincide with completion of the work.
You should also check and see how long a contractor has been in business.
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