Patrick Lee, a homeowner in Cocoa Beach, Florida, said he paid $92,276 to Legacy Pools for a new swimming pool that was never completed. He made the payments in three installments in 2021.
“They came out, they dug a hole in the backyard, and they put rebar in and some concrete in it, and they went away,” Lee said. “And we’ve never seen them since.”
He had to pay another company $62,000 to finish the project.
Lee is far from alone. Unhappy customers have taken to the Better Business Bureau to express their outrage at Legacy Pools and its husband-and-wife owners, Charles David Black Jr. and Kristin Danae Black. BBB shows 73 total complaints over the last three years, with 57 of these in the last 12 months. BBB gives the company an “F” rating for failure to respond to the complaints and leaving the complaints unresolved. Most of the complaints say the same thing. The customer signed a contract with Legacy paying somewhere around $50,000 in installments. After completing a certain amount of work, Legacy abandoned the pool project and simply disappeared, refusing to respond to phone calls.
Today, the office location on the Better Business Bureau listing for Legacy Pools is empty. The webpage is still active, but the phone number listed is disconnected.
Attorneys from Stewart Law are representing Lee, as well as some other victims. They say there may be hundreds of similar cases in Brevard and nearby counties — with some instances dating back to 2019. The lawyers have begun filing lawsuits in Circuit Court seeking to recover payments made to Legacy Pools over the last several years.
Attorney Blake Stewart said Legacy Pools has taken what collectively amounts to tens of millions of dollars.
“They were operating on a scheme to get as large deposits as possible out of homeowners, engaging subcontractors to do the barest minimum of work to try to skate by within the framework of our Florida statutes and case law, and then further would rip off the subcontractors for that same work, which then further subjected the homeowners to liens by those hapless subcontractors for work that they had already paid for. So that means any homeowner that was subjected to a lien had to pay for that work twice.”
Complicating matters, Legacy Pools is also in bankruptcy court proceedings, which can restrict lawsuits against the company. Lawyers with Stewart Law said the firm is seeking to gain a bankruptcy court judge’s permission to proceed on behalf of the pool customers to “fight for the people of Florida” some of whom they said have “spent their entire life savings on these pools.”
Furthermore, according to Stewart, the scheme that Legacy Pools was involved in is “one of the hardest civil actions to bring, because the thresholds for construction are so low that it is very easy to do the bare minimum of work and not be considered criminal.”
But Stewart said he hopes that as they continue to find more victims and more evidence, it will raise the profile of the cases such that the State Attorney’s Office or the Florida Attorney General’s Office also gets involved in investigating the pool company.