‘I was a mark’: Widow turns to Action 9 after paying unlicensed contractor for incomplete work

ORLANDO, Fla. — A grieving widow says she turned over more than $100,000 of life insurance money following her husband’s death to a contractor who never finished the job.


The woman later learned that man didn’t even have a contractor’s license.

Action 9 Consumer Investigator Jeff Deal looked into the unlicensed contractor’s criminal history and confronted him about the money.

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“I miss my husband,” homeowner Judgina Davison said. “I am pathetic.”

In her time of grief, Davison says she feels she let the love of her life down. Her husband, Jeff, passed away in June after an unexpected battle with cancer. He was just 52 years old.

“He caught me at the weakest, most vulnerable point,” Davison said of her experience with the contractor. “It was my first holiday season of my adult life without my husband.”

Davison is referring to a family friend of more than 20 years, Dawud Bell Brown, a man who took a keen interest when she mentioned building an addition to her home for short-term rentals.

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“He said, ‘I’ll do it faster than anyone else. I’ll do it under budget. You’re family. You can trust me,’” Davison recalled.

She claims Brown convinced her he was a licensed general contractor who could get better prices if she paid upfront, and she did so, making payments totaling nearly $90,000 for her project, and another $25,000 as a loan Brown claimed he needed for another job.

“This man saw me,” Davison said. “I was a mark.”

However, Channel 9 was unable to find a contractor’s license for Dawud Bell Brown in state records.

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Talks began to break down between the two when Davison became suspicious of Brown’s qualifications and discussed remodeling her bathroom instead of the addition.

A new fence and pavers are in, and even though she isn’t thrilled with the quality of the work, Davison says she’s ok with paying for them.

However, she wants the rest of her money back, especially after learning Brown also has a criminal record that includes a guilty plea to writing a bad check in 2008, and a no-contest plea to contracting without a license in 2022.

Brown was ordered to pay restitution in both cases.

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Businesses he’s associated with also have poor ratings with the Better Business Bureau. Complaints specifically name Brown as the person taking money, but not completing work.

On top of that, records show he purchased a new $670,000 home less than a month after getting the final payments from Davison.

Brown’s company has even bragged about how much money it brought in.

When Action 9′s Jeff Deal went to ask Brown about the situation, the garage doors at the home that were previously open went down, and no one came out to answer questions.

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Brown would later send text messages saying he was working on an e-mail response that Channel 9 is yet to receive.

Davison says she just hopes he’ll have to answer for how he treated her at a time when she was so vulnerable.

“I feel victimized,” Davison said. “I feel like nobody cares.”

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.