DAVIE (CBSMiami) – When Mike Ruckdeschel was ready to buy impact windows for his Davie home he contacted Hi-Tech Aluminum and Windows to do the job. Donald Bateson came recommended.
“It was $19,980, was the total price, the deposit I gave him was $6,660,” he said.
Ruckdeschel paid that deposit in May of 2018. To this day, there are no new windows and Ruckdeschel did not get his deposit back.
“Basically all I got was a bunch of talk about ‘I ordered the windows, they didn’t come in, they were the wrong size, wrong paint,’ that kind of thing,” he said.
Davie Police Lt. Mark Leone said the department investigated Bateson.
“We were not able to find any license in Broward County and we weren’t able to find any record of him contacting the town of Davie and applying even for the permits to install the windows,” he said.
Bateson made his first court appearance, charged with grand theft and operating as unlicensed contractor.
When Bateson first emerged from the Broward County Main Jail on Tuesday night, he tried to avoid our CBS4 News camera and our questions.
“Why did you take these people’s money and not do the work?” a reporter asked Bateson.
Then Bateson returned to the jail and waited for nearly an hour before emerging again.
“You want to say anything to them?” a reporter asked.
“Yeah, right here,” Bateson said, throwing up a middle finger.
“You gonna give them their money back?” the reporter asked.
“Have a nice evening,” Bateson replied.
According to police in Sunrise, a man in their city paid Bateson nearly $2,000 to deliver and install hurricane shutters. That never happened.
“It turned into no dialogue,” the victim, Kevin, told CBS4 News. “He never answered the phone. He never returned phone calls. He didn’t return text messages. I told him, I said ‘Listen, man. I’m not trying to threaten you but I’m gonna go file a police report. It is what it is. This is grand theft.’”
Kevin said he didn’t do much to check Bateson’s background before hiring him.
“I tell people to do their due diligence,” Kevin said. “With the internet nowadays, you really can’t hide. If I had done my homework, I would have seen ahead of time that there was red flags and I never would have went with this guy.”
Ruckdeschel did some homework before paying any money. He checked with the Better Business Bureau and Sunbiz.org to see if he was a registered corporation. Both those checked out.
What he did not do is check for a license with MyFloridaLicense.com. CBS4’s Ted Scouten did and could not find one.
“It’s very frustrating,” Ruckdeschel said. “I thought I did my homework, I thought I was a pretty savvy investor, basically he took the money and never had any intentions of doing the work.”