WILKES-BARRE — George and Jeanette Blauer expected a new bathroom to make life easier for them and their daughter, who suffers from cerebral palsy.
Instead, they have been left with incomplete project with no end in sight.
George Blauer said Tuesday the $21,000 in funding for the bathroom came from Luzerne and Wyoming Counties Mental Health and Developmental Services. The project plans included a wider shower and a therapeutic tub for his step-daughter, Holly Barkovitz.
The project was awarded to Roccograndi Company Painting and General Construction, the lowest bidder. Blauer said agency even installed a chair lift to get Holly upstairs to the new bathroom.
Work began on Feb. 24, and nearly five months later the bathroom is still incomplete.
Blauer explained that the demolition of the old bathroom was complete, and Roccograndi owner Gary Roccograndi hired a general contractor, who soon went bankrupt and quit.
A week went by, and Blauer said more workers with suspect qualifications and skills were on the job.
Blauer said Roccograndi assured him he was licensed in the city and that the proper permits were obtained. Roccograndi then hired a subcontractor, who Blauer said did some work.
The family has since had to live five months without a fully functional bathroom. The toilet still works, but there is no door on the room, Blauer said.
“We had to sacrifice our second bedroom upstairs,” Blauer said, adding that he and his wife have had to sleep on couches.
Roccograndi, however, disputes Blauer’s version. He said said his workers have been in the business for over 30 years, some of which are certified through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Roccograndi said there were days that Blauer would not let workers into the house, and would often tell workers to go home.
“It’s not like I just didn’t finish this bathroom,” Roccograndi said. “This guy didn’t let me.”
City spokeswoman Liza Prokop confirmed Wednesday that Roccograndi’s business is not licensed in the city, prompting the city to issue a citation against the contractor.