In Louisville, Kentucky, Tracy Davenport and her company Davenport Extreme Pools & Spas are accused of stealing millions of dollars to install backyard pools that were never completed. A lawsuit filed in March in the Jefferson Circuit Court claims that Davenport and her company knowingly defrauded 14 families by entering into contracts to build pools without any intention of doing so.
'Though the company appears to have completed some pools for customers, it has become clear that the company's primary purpose was to serve as a vessel through which Davenport funneled millions of dollars of customer funds into her own pockets,' the lawsuit says.
Davenport was the subject of an investigation by WDRB, a Fox News affiliate, which found that more than two dozen families had paid Davenport to build a pool that was never even started.
Families say Davenport offered a several-thousand-dollar discount on the overall price of the pool if they agreed to pay a significant deposit upfront. Some families paid a portion while others paid the entire amount upfront to receive the discount.
The lawsuit says that instead of building pools, Davenport used the money for 'lavish vacations to Las Vegas, personal cosmetic surgeries, a six-figure recreational vehicle, and the purchase of an expensive pleasure cruising lake boat.”
Court documents show nearly 60 families signed contracts with Davenport from in 2021 and 2022. The total amount of the contracts came to more than $5.4 million. Documents say customers have paid a collective $3.6 million so far.
“The fraud here is pretty massive,” said attorney Steve Pence, who is representing the families. “Dozens of people have called me about representing them. The scope of this scheme is far broader than you can imagine.”
But Davenport attorney Ken Henry maintains the company’s innocence and claims that the company still plans to build the pools.
“There is no fraud here. Fraud requires intent. And there was no intent to defraud anyone,” Henry said. “Businesses have problems from time to time…businesses run into dry spells and have other issues. Costs go up, for example. There was never any intent on the part of Tracy Davenport or Davenport Extreme Pools and Spa Incorporated to defraud anybody. These people who are going around saying these sorts of things are running the risk of being on the wrong side of these issues down the road.”
Davenport is not alone in engaging in these sorts of questionable business practices.
In Madison, Alabama, two families are suing Patrick Nolan, owner of Piedmont Pools, for taking thousands of dollars to install fiberglass pools that were never started.
Robert and Jawana Snyder said they a 50% down payment of $46,887 to build a pool in their backyard in February 2022. They say that for 11 months, nothing happened.
John and Dana Flynn said they experienced a similar situation with Piedmont Pools in June 2022.
They said after paying a 50% down payment of $46,305, Nolan did not show up.
“We were basically robbed in our own backyard at $46,305,” Dana Flynn said.
In court documents, Nolan denies all allegations and demands proof.
The Snyder and Flynn families say they will see this through in the court system and potentially include criminal charges.
Meanwhile, in Indiana, another pool builder is in trouble for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars to install swimming pools but never completing the projects.
Michael Nanay, 63, allegedly accepted large deposits to install inground swimming pools for homeowners in Dyer, Crown Point, and Schererville, Indiana, but didn’t finish the work and left dangerous holes in their backyards.
According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, at least five homeowners have accused Nanay and his company, MAD Pools, of fraud and theft from October 2019 through January 2023. Police believe there may be more victims who haven’t come forward yet.
'The victims say Nanay hired workers who didn’t appear to know how to do the work properly and that he promised repairs he didn’t complete,' said Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. 'He left them worse off than when they started their projects.'
According to court records, Nanay was arrested in late April and released after posting bond.
He has been charged with multiple felonies including four counts of property theft and one count of home improvement fraud.