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I-TEAM: Aiken County contractor under scrutiny after reports of unfinished pools

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 7:58 PM EDT
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AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A local contractor is in deep water after our I-Team uncovers more reports of unfinished pools. Multiple families say they paid big bucks only to be left with a big mess.

When we first exposed a pattern of problems with two other companies several years ago the mug shots started to pile up. Tonight we’re diving back in and this isn’t one of the usual suspects.

This latest suspect is a man named Travis Taylor. He turned himself in to Aiken County deputies this morning. His bond hearing was late this afternoon and just wrapped up not too long ago, but we found a possible pattern of problems that could go back years.

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words but an Aiken County family knows exactly how much money what you see in this video cost them.

“$31, 500.”

Money they worry is now down the drain after hiring Travis Taylor to build them their dream pool. She asked us not to show her face or use her name but she wants you to see her backyard.

“11 years we saved for this, and we hired him and now we’re left with a disaster.”

A disaster she says no other pool company will touch now because they don’t want to be liable. A single mom in Edgefield said the same thing. She says when she first reported her $12,000 mess to police the officer told her it wasn’t a crime.

“He said that, you know, it was serious to me to the law, it was a civil matter.”

The I-Team found a similar situation in Aiken County.

The report is clearly marked civil even though it notes an investigator “Working numerous cases involving Taylor” will get copies of the victim’s documents.

Back in Edgefield, a mom says law enforcement later confirmed it was a crime and threatened Taylor with an arrest if he didn’t give the money back. She says one of Taylor’s family members wrote her a check. She filled in the hole in her yard but it left another one.

“In 2019, my boyfriend passed away,” she said. “And this was supposed to be, you know, something positive for us as a family.”

“The officer that responded to the call when I called for the pool was the same officer that responded the night that my boyfriend passed away. So having to fill out the police report and look at this man in his face just brought back a whirlwind of emotions,” she said.

The I-Team went to another home today also in Aiken County and this is the pool or lack thereof that landed Taylor in court today. According to the warrant, Taylor is accused of altering a check for pool supplies to deposit in his personal account. All he did there was clear land.

Another family told the I-Team Taylor did finish their pool but it’s uneven and poor construction caused another pool under their home. They say they’re out $20,000 for the shoddy work and another $15,000 to clean up the mess.

Back to this mud hole with walls.

“I’m trying to brace myself for a total loss. I’m hoping for the best. I’m hoping that maybe he’ll do the right thing, if he’s capable of doing the right thing.”

She says a friend recommended Taylor so she trusted he would do the same type of work in her backyard and since her husband works in law enforcement she felt comfortable.

But this incident report does raise an important question. Notice the incident date 8/21/19. That means this has been on Aiken County deputies’ radar for closing in on three years now.

If there were red flags way back then it begs the question how has Travis Taylor been able to keep building pools?

The I-Team did some checking and Travis Taylor is not a licensed contractor in South Carolina but to build pools he doesn’t have to be. The law only requires a license for commercial pool builders or ones that build pool at places like hotels. State lawmakers have discussed a residential pool license, but it didn’t pass.

The bill was most recently filed in February 2021 by Rep. Stavrinakis.

They can always take it up in 2022 since this is the first of a two-year session.

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