Everlast Construction Sucks

A detailed account of Everlast Construction's (lic 986126) dishonest shady business practices

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Ariel Baleli – CEO of Everlast Construction is (apparently) a marketing expert

If you look at Ariel Baleli’s linkedin profile you might notice something a little bit odd for someone who is the CEO of a construction company AND someone who is mentioned in many reviews as providing excellent personal construction and design advice – he has virtually no construction experience.  ALL of his top skills deal with marketing.  Any skills dealing with construction are ALL on the bottom. How is it that someone who is the CEO of a construction company; someone who is mentioned in multiple reviews as providing personal advice and design, has construction as his weakest skills?

Screen shot from 10/17/2016 of Ariel Baleli's linkedin profile

Screen shot from 10/17/2016 of Ariel Baleli’s linkedin profile



Everlast Construction counter-sues and tries to take me to civil court

So yesterday I was served with papers from Everlast Construction. They are counter-suing me for the remaining balance on the contract as well as claiming defamation and false light. They are also trying to transfer my small claims case to civil court since they are saying their suit and my suit are basically the same.

Defamation is basically them saying I’ve made false statements about their business and as a result have harmed their business. I’ve never once knowingly made a false statement. I have made mistakes and I’ve corrected those mistakes when they were pointed out.  So I have not defamed them.

And false light is very similar to defamation except it’s more geared towards personal embarrassment then harming a business.  Although with defamation, once I prove what I’ve said is true, that defends against defamation.  With false light, if the implication is false, I would be guilty. However, nothing I’ve said that I know of is false.  Or at least this is my understanding of what it is – i’m not a lawyer so I could be wrong.

I believe this is just more intimidation tactics on their part. I think that they are not only trying to scare me, again, into shutting up. But they are also trying to make it more difficult and expensive to take them to court since a civil case is more complex, and can be more expensive since you typically go to civil cases with a lawyer.

I have no intention of backing down. I want to take these guys to court so there is a public record of their lies and shoddy work. The only other public record is with the cslb and even that is basically a footnote at this point without much details. Plus I think Everlast Construction is appealing that citation, so it’s not official yet.

I just discovered some plumbing problems caused by Everlast Construction

I went in my backyard today and discovered a problem caused by Everlast Construction.  I’m not sure why but they installed a pipe that goes from my kitchen through the wall into the outside backyard. I don’t know what this pipe is for, but it’s leaking water. I have a small cesspit now where the water collected under the pipe. I tightened the cap at the end of the pipe, hopefully that’s all it was and hopefully there’s no water damage inside the walls.

Everlast Construction should not be in business.

Leaking pipe from Everlast Construction

Leaking pipe from Everlast Construction

I am going to take Everlast Construction to small claims court

I emailed Ariel Baleli and his lawyer Hide Sano yesterday that I am demanding $10,000 as compensation for what they did, and failed to do, in this project. I actually believe they owe me far more than that. But you can’t ask for more than $10,000 in small claims and it wouldn’t be worth the hassle to take them to civil court. Especially since I don’t expect them to actually come up with any money if i win ( and i am sure I will win). But at least a court case will be some official record that I can use to show they are not good.

I’m still waiting for my complaint against Everlast Construction to finish being processed by the CSLB

I already filed the papers with the court and have a court date scheduled for October. I will post updates after the court case is over as well as provide all the material I brought to the case to prove what type of company Everlast is.

Everlast Construction files an invalid lien against my house

Shortly after I created this website, Everlast Construction filed a mechanic’s  lien against my house.

If you don’t know what a mechanics lien is, it’s basically a method for anyone who does work on your house to ensure you pay them for the work that was done. They can file a lien against your house which prevents you from selling it and just in general causes you problems.

There are however certain restrictions in place as to when and how a lien can be placed. One of the simplest ones (in California anyhow) is the 90 day window of completion. Once work has finished, they have 90 days from the last day any work was done to file the lien.  And it has been well past 90 days since the last day any work was done when they filed this lien.

The only reasons I can think of why they would do this is either they are incompetent and don’t know when the work was finished or don’t know what the rules are regarding liens.  Or they did this as an intimidation tactic to try and scare me into taking down this site and my negative reviews.

Either way, this reflects very poorly on Everlast Construction and I think just serves as further proof as to how disreputable and unprofessional they are.

I contacted them and told them to remove the lien, otherwise they would be liable for any legal fees I incur in having the lien removed myself.  And on August 3rd their lawyer said the lien would be removed. As of 8/14/2016 I’m still waiting for notice that the lien has been removed.

Everlast Construction has threatened legal action if I don’t remove my claims

So Everlast Construction’s lawyer sent me a letter basically claiming I’m the big bad wolf and everlast is sweet innocent little red riding hood.

They made several claims in the letter, most of which were false. To be fair, they did point out two things I was mistaken about. The subcontractor who built my deck, ABA Construction, did not in fact have his license suspended, it’s expired.  He does however, as of this date, have an issue with an outstanding bond payment that needs to be resolved before he could renew his license. This why I initially thought his license was suspended. I think everlast is picking at straws here but I don’t have any need to lie.

I was also incorrect about needing to use water resistant sheetrock in the kitchen.

I will refute some of the other claims in the letter (which I will attach to this post) here.

Their lawyer claims I have the ‘gall’ to blame everlast for screwing up the final payment when the event that triggered the screw up was everlast trying to cash a check we gave them that did not have sufficient funds in the account.

In fact, Everlast Construction screwed up the payments three times.

1. the $10,000 check that bounced did so because everlast failed to follow our directions – we told them to wait 2-3 days for us to transfer funds, and they did not. So they owe us a $35 bounced check fee.  And even if this bounced check was our fault – what sort of company just loses $10,000 since it was redeposited and cleared the account a day later? And the reason the check bounced – Everlast broke the payment schedule in our contract and showed up one day demanding a $10,000 payment, which is why the money wasn’t sitting in our account.

2. They subsequently lost a payment of $20,000 dollars and I willingly agreed to go to the bank to try and help them locate it, even though it was clearly their problem as the check was cashed by someone from everlast and I had no obligation at all to help them. They did eventually find the money – again – what kind of company loses $20,000 after depositing it?

3. when they sent the final bill they again screwed up the final amount.  Even though the contract stated a total of $103,000 they had a total of $110,002.23 and they were missing $10,000 from the total we had paid to that date.

So somehow a $10,000 bounced check results in a $7002.23 increase in the final payment.

The lawyer further claims that the photos I posted are misleading in terms of work completed. I never once claimed they didn’t finish the work. It’s how they finished it. Finishing the work is almost besides the point if it takes 3x as long as it should have. And you have to be on the job site managing the work yourself because no one from everlast was managing it. And it means you have no functioning kitchen, not even a kitchen sink, for 6 months. Or a backyard because it’s being used as a garbage dump for 6-7 months.

You’ll notice the lawyer said I had to retract all of my false assertions, not just the ones listed in the letter. Well, if I had so many false assertions, don’t you think they lawyer would list them out? The fact is that my account of what everlast did is my honest accounting of it. If I made a mistake, such as saying ABA’s license was cancelled when it really just can’t renewed due to an outstanding bond payment issue, I will admit to it.

I also find it interesting that a company that’s so strongly protesting it’s innocence would have offered to pay me $10,000, on the condition I remove all my reviews, if they are truly innocent.


Everlast Construction does a horrible job remodeling a kitchen

In August 2015 i made the horrible mistake of hiring Everlast Construction (lic 986126) to remodel our kitchen and redo the plumbing and electrical in our house as well as redo the flooring and build a new deck. It took them over 7 months to finish this. Five of those months we had no working kitchen. Over 6 of those months we didn’t even have a backyard because they used our backyard as a garbage dump. All this time for a kitchen approx 130 sq ft.

Everlast uses our backyard as a garbage dump

Everlast uses our backyard as a garbage dump

The lies from Everlast started on day 0 – before we even signed the contract. They made a big deal of showing how the final payment would be a lump payment of almost 40% of the total project and told us no one else would do that. Since this was the first time we hired a contractor I believed them. Later I learned having a large lump payment at the end is standard business practice. However, with everlast when all was said and done, we only had about 7% left to pay, because soon after they started working, they began demanding money way ahead of the payment schedule that was agreed to in the contract. The first time they demanded money ahead of the schedule we decided to give it to them since they did start work right away. Moving forward though we felt trapped into giving into their subsequent demands since by that point if we fired them, we would of had a half demolished house and no money left to hire someone else to finish the work.

We were told they had over 300 employees, and yet almost all the work on our house was done by subcontractors of the lowest caliber.

At first I thought they were going to be great. We signed the contact and the very next day, they had guys over starting work. Our kitchen was totally demolished in 2 days.  Fast work right? Too bad they did all this with no plans and no permits.  They completely destroyed our kitchen before we agreed on any layout or design of the kitchen, which then allowed them to charge us extra for things later on saying they weren’t included or to suddenly limit our choices of materials even though at the start there were no such limits.

They did the same thing to our deck 2-3 weeks later – totally demolished it even though we had no plans. And surprise surprise, months later when we were asking them about when they would start to actually build the replacement deck we wound up having to pay extra. And again – demo of the deck was done before we had plans or a building permit.  Deck demo was started at the end of August 2015 – they wouldn’t even start on building the new deck until the end of Jan 2016.

Everlast demolishes our deck, leaves trash in backyard

Deck being demolished by Everlast Construction

Which leads me to the project being shutdown for about a month when the county building department showed up and issued a stop work notice for unpermitted work. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise since if the building department hadn’t been here to check their work, I think they would have made many more mistakes considering how many corrections the building department had to tell them to make.

The lies continued to keep coming. When asked about the lack of permit, I was told they applied for it and everything was ok. They kept telling me this up until the day we got shut down for not having a permit. When I asked them about this, they blamed it on the subcontractor who was doing the demo work claiming he was supposed to handle it.

Everlast Construction’s idea of managing a project is very simple: call up a bunch of subcontractors and tell them where to show up. And that’s pretty much it. The only time the project ‘manager’ showed up, was to collect a check.  I had to be home every single day work was being done, because I became the defacto foreman for the job. I had to tell the subs what needed to be done. I had to show them the plans we had because they never saw them prior to showing up. I had to manage and schedule all the inspections.

One of the things they did wrong because no one coordinated with the subcontractors – they installed wiring for a vent to be installed over the oven. Only they left the wires hanging out of the ceiling in the completely wrong spot. The vent is supposed to be installed where that ceiling fan is – a ceiling fan I had to remove because none of the subs were told to remove it. After I removed the fan, I had to tell them where to correctly place the wires.

Everlast construction shoddy kitchen work

Everlast leaves wires hanging out of ceiling and forgets to remove fan

Another mistake they made which you can see in the photo – they used the wrong sheetrock. They are supposed to use water resistant sheetrock, which is a blue/purple color. I didn’t know about this until after most of the work in the kitchen was done.
I was contacted by everlast’s lawyer and told water resistant sheetrock is not required in the kitchen. I contacted the building department and they confirmed this. So I’m retracting my statement that they used the wrong sheetrock. They used the correct sheetrock.

The flooring in our kitchen is missing in one corner of the kitchen because the cabinets were installed before the flooring was done. And the flooring was not fully installed because they were waiting for a new sliding door out to the deck to be installed. Which Everlast claimed was backordered for months, even though it’s a standard size door.

The island they built for us is 4 inches shorter than what we agreed on.  They charged us extra for having a waterfall down the side of island. This is something that should be been listed in the plans and worked out before any work is done. But if it was in a plan, they wouldn’t be able to claim it as an extra cost later on. They charged us about $3000 for a waterfall down either side. A quote I got from someone else to do do the counters for the entire kitchen was $9000.  Of the $9000, $1700 was for the waterfall, almost half of what everlast charged. And that total also included  a 4 inch quartz backsplash around the countertop edge –  something Everlast failed to install because they would have had to buy another slab according to what the countertop installer told me.

We had them replace all the windows in the house, except for a big window in the living room. I asked the subcontractor who came to measure the windows to measure the living room window and let me know how much it would cost to replace that window as well. A few weeks later when he came to install the windows, he replaced that big living room window. At the time I thought Everlast replaced the window for us to make up for all of their mistakes  up till that point. But no. That window was replaced by mistake, because 2-3 weeks later when the ‘manager’ showed up again (to collect another check from us), that’s when they first learned that the window had been replaced and a few days later they demanded $1000 for it. Which by the way is more money then the most expensive quote I got earlier in the year to replace that window.

As part of the electrical work they had to install smoke detectors. The detectors are supposed to be hardwired into the electrical. When the building inspector came on one of their inspections, the pulled down the smoke detector they installed and discovered it was never wired up. They just attached it to the ceiling and left it unwired.  I also think that the first electrician working on our house was unlicensed based on a report I saw from the CSLB. I’m waiting for everlast to provide me with the electrician’s license number if he was really licensed.

Another electrical mishap was with the placement of an outlet in the kitchen. The building code requires outlets every 3 or 4 feet. The first group of electricians installed an outlet under one of the kitchen windows to meet this requirement, but it was too low. When the cabinets and kitchen countertop were installed, it completely covered the outlet. This was an issue I mentioned to Everlast multiple times. When things were finally wrapping up and we were getting final inspections done, it failed because of that missing outlet. We would have to rip open the wall AND the countertop to install the outlet. Fortunately we didn’t have to do that because the building department gave us a waiver if we installed an extra outlet at the end of the counter to make up for the one that was missing.

One of the reasons they claimed they needed more money was to hire more guys so they could work on the outside and inside at the same time. This never happened. They didn’t start on the deck until 6 months into the project.

When they finally did start on the deck I think they found the most  unqualified subcontractor they could find. His license  has expired and he has an outstanding bond payment that needs to be resolved before he can renew it. He was originally building the deck on top of piers that were just resting on the ground. He didn’t put concrete posts into the ground until the building inspector came and told him he had to do that. The deck was also built lopsided, something so obvious you could see it with the naked eye. The work he was doing was so shoddy that the building inspector actually called me a few hours after he left to make sure I understood all the issues.

They drilled holes into the side of my house to attach part of the deck to the house. Even though this is allowed, the inspector said it would have been better if they just used piers since holes in the house are just more places for insects to get into the structure of the house. Unfortunately I wasn’t aware of these options until they had already done it.

Everlast Construction builds a lopsided deck

Everlast Construction builds a visibly lopsided deck

Lopsided deck built by Everlast Construction

Lopsided deck built by Everlast Construction

Finished deck from Everlast Construction

This is what the finished deck from Everlast Construction looks like

Finished deck by Everlast Construction

This is what the finished deck from Everlast Construction looks like

They installed a vent pipe in the garage ceiling. They failed to seal the opening they made in the roof so now it leaks whenever it rains.  When they moved our dryer, they left the gas pipe uncapped even though the gas was still flowing through that pipe. They did at least turn off the valve for that pipe.

Everlast has a pattern of behavior that seems pretty clear in hindsight. They like to act like they are doing you favors, when really all they are doing is lying.  We were told we could get flooring up to $2.50 sq/ft. The flooring we originally picked out was $2.49 sq/ft. However, Everlast suggested flooring from republic flooring which we actually liked better and agreed to let them install that. Afterwards they told us the flooring really cost $3.50sq/ft but they did us a favor and didn’t charge us extra. I made ONE phone call and got a quote of $2.40sq/ft, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Everlast paid even less since they probably buy in bulk.

In hindsight it also seems clear why they demo’ed our kitchen and deck so quickly and why they used our backyard as a garbage dump. I think they demo’ed everything so we’d feel trapped into giving into their demands for more money. And I think they use the backyard as a dump to save money on renting a dumpster AND to try to hide the fact that any work is being done since they were doing all the work without any permits or inspections  – a dumpster would be very visible sitting in the driveway .

Not once, ever, did anyone from everlast offer an apology or offer anything to make up for all these delays and mistakes and lack of oversight. When the project was finished and Everlast wanted their final payment, they even screwed that up and thought we owed them $20,000 more than we did since they somehow lost $20,000 in payments we gave them.

When I told them we wouldn’t be paying them any money because of these issues, they still didn’t really offer an apology or any compensation. It wasn’t until I posted a negative review of the company on yelp that the owner, Ariel, contacted me and offered a lien waiver on the unpaid balance ONLY if I removed my negative review. I refused.

I then filed a complaint with the CSLB. At which point Everlast’s lawyer contacted me and offered us $10,000 if i dropped the complaint, which I also refused.

I have since been contacted by several people on yelp who have had similar problems with everlast and have posted their own reviews. It looks like one of them removed their review after Ariel threatened to put a lien on their house if they left the review up.

They did finish all the work, but it took around 7 months for it to finally get finished. We had no working kitchen for 6 months, I had to be home constantly to manage the work because no one from Everlast managed it. I would certainly never hire them again and I don’t think they should be in business.

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