News 12 at 6 o'clock / March 5, 2014
EDGEFIELD COUNTY, SC (WRDW)--"I was very proud of my home because I worked and paid for it myself," said Lucille Burton. But more than 5 years after a kitchen fire damaged part of the home, Burton says her place looks even worse than after the blaze. "I can do this and I have a crew. I have roofers and carpenters," said Burton.
Those were promises she said Kevin Dale Cato, owner of Cato Development made to her before starting the repair work. Burton said it was not long before she discovered more than just the kitchen and bathroom had been gutted.
"All the way down the hall into the master bedroom into the back bedroom where there was no fire damage at all," said Burton.
She said Cato left her house with unleveled windows and doors, a leaking roof and exposed electrical wires. She filed a lawsuit and won a $100,000 judgment but now she said Cato has disappeared.
"Mr. Cato has skipped town," said Burton.
In 2011 Nationwide Mutual Fire Insurance Company took legal action against Kevin Cato for misrepresenting himself as just a flooring contractor when he took out his policy. The company rescinded the policy. Meanwhile South Carolina's licensing board ordered Cato to stop operating.
"He had a limited license. Any job he'd done he could only charge $5,000," said Cato. Unable to reach Kevin Cato by phone, we left a message on his Facebook page asking if he has any plans of paying back the $100,000 judgment Burton won in court.
Cato who lists himself on the website LinkedIn as a retired marine has not returned our messages.
"He took away my quality of life when he did what he did to me," said Burton. Having exhausted all resources, Burton said she has not lost hope of living in her home again someday. "I will not give up on that dream. I will never give up on that dream," said Burton.
On Your Side did a little more investigating and found that Kevin Cato also lists himself as a government contracting consultant in the Middle East which is where he could be right now.