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Man charged in unlicensed air conditioning work

By SHANNON TAN
Published December 6, 2005

Arline Slee said her air conditioning unit wasn't installed properly, and she wanted her money back.

Unable to resolve the issue with Seminole Air Conditioning, she filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

As a result of the investigation, James A. McClow, 37, was charged with grand theft and performing unlicensed air conditioning contracting.

McClow of Seminole said the whole thing was a misunderstanding and maintained that his company did good work for Slee.

"I never stole anything; I never did unlicensed contracting," said McClow, who said he left the air conditioning business two years ago and now works as a computer programmer.

McClow has pleaded not guilty.

Slee, 82, said she hired Seminole Air Conditioning two years ago to install a new unit at her Pinellas Park home. She wrote the company a check for $3,375, court records show.

But Slee said the unit wasn't installed properly, and she had to pay extra to have it fixed. She said her calls to the company weren't returned.

"I would like some money back," she said.

The Department of Business and Professional Regulation found that neither McClow nor his company was licensed or registered as an air conditioning contractor, according to court documents. The license number used belonged to a New Port Richey business owned by Raymond Russell, who told investigators McClow did not have permission to use his license.

McClow said he leased the license from Russell with his permission. He also contended that there was nothing wrong with the work performed for Slee. Nearly all of his 1,700 customers were satisfied with his company's work, he said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has an unsatisfactory record. The BBB received 25 complaints about the company in the last 36 months.

--Times researchers Carolyn Edds and Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

[Last modified December 6, 2005, 04:32:57]


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