Action 9 confronts risky contractor



ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando woman called Action 9 saying she couldn't stop a contractor from running up the bill on her elderly mother for work he didn't do.

Action 9's Todd Ulrich found the man has been in trouble for cheating elderly customers before and got results.

A year after her house was painted, Helen Burns says the same contractor offered her a free pressure wash. That's when Burns claims Steven Celentano told her the house needed wood rot repairs and more.

"Were you concerned about this before he came?" asked Ulrich.

"No," said Burns.

"Didn't think there was a problem?" asked Ulrich.

"No, I thought I would just get the wash," said Burns.

But Burns agreed to pay nearly $5,000 for two days of additional work.

Burns' daughter, Helen Harmon, holds power of attorney for her elderly mother, and when she found out about the incident, she claims she told Celentano to back off.

"He said he was going to do this work, and I said, 'No, you're not, because I have power of attorney,'" said Harmon.

But Harmon claims Celentano didn't stop collecting money from her mother.

"Was he taking advantage of your mom?" asked Ulrich.

"Oh, God yes, because she's 90 years old and she's confused," said Harmon.

Harmon called Action 9, and Ulrich found Celentano had a history of exploiting the elderly.

In Volusia County in 2002, Celentano pleaded no contest to cheating two elderly customers out of $5,000.

Action 9 tracked down Celentano at his Oviedo home to hear his side of the story.

 "Steve? Todd Ulrich from Channel 9," Ulrich said as he approached Celentano.

"I'm not Steve, I'm Danny," Celentano said.

At first, Celentano denied being Steve Celentano. Then, minutes later, he was back outside talking to Burns on the phone.

"I have her on the phone right now, and it's $4,000, and she's making payments," said Celentano.

Celentano said the work needed to be done and the consumer agreed.

"The daughter said to leave her alone," said Ulrich.

"Yeah, well," Celentano replied.

Several days later, the family says Celentano wrote a new contract and cut the price Burns owed nearly in half.

Burns said she's thrilled, and if Celentano tries to return again, she says she won't let him return to her house.

Celentano still claims the front of the house did have wood rot that was fixed before the daughter could see it.