Metro woman says roofer didn't live up to deal

Investigators help her get her money returned
Posted at 12:05 PM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-25 23:26:08-04

The 41 Action News Investigators have helped a metro woman get her money back from a man who promised, but failed to install a new roof on her home she's trying to sell.

"You guys helped us out," said Gina Smeja. "Once he got a call from his lawyer is when I think we got the phone call," she said.

When the 41 Action News Investigators asked Gina if it's possible she might not have her money if we didn't speak to her, she said, "Yes I think it's possible".

But roofer Jason Stewart did return a check for more than $4500 to Gina.

She gave Stewart the money on March 13 to install a new roof on her home.

For nearly two months, nothing happened.

Then two days after the 41 Action News Investigators first spoke to Gina and Stewart's attorney about her deal, the money was returned.

Gina first talked to the 41 Action News Investigators after she saw our March story about how Stewart owes Lee's Summit homeowner Ralph Sytkowski more than $9000 for failing to install his roof.

"Why is he not in jail? Why hasn't he been prosecuted? He needs to be stopped," Gina said.

It all started when Stewart came to Gina's home, found hail damage on her roof and was able to get Gina's insurance company to pay for a new one.

Stewart's encounters with Sytkowski followed the same pattern.

Gina gave Stewart $4500 for materials for the roughly $7000 job.

But unlike Sytkowski, she didn't even get shingles delivered.

"We've heard every excuse under the sun why he can't be here," Gina said.

Then she found a photo of Stewart on Facebook showing him at the beach with his children posted eleven days after she gave him the check.

She thought she was taken.

The 41 Action News Investigators went to Stewart's home months ago to try to get answers after we spoke to Sytkowski.

Stewart declined to talk at that time.

He later promised to do an on camera interview, but never did.

Attempts to get Stewart to comment on Gina's deal have also been unsuccessful.

While Stewart did return Gina's money, she had to hire someone else to install a new roof by mid June as a condition of selling her house.

Meanwhile, despite a court judgment last August of $9471.18 against Stewart, Sytkowski has not been repaid at all. 

"I'm happy that I got my money, but I just hope he doesn't do this to other people," Gina said.

Court records the 41 Action News Investigators obtained show Stewart and his company, Apex Contracting & Roofing, have had tens of thousands of dollars of judgments against them over the course of several years.

Stewart is currently banned from doing business in Kansas.

He's also accused of taking money for two Johnson County roofing jobs and not doing the work in a pending court case.