Investigation follow-up: Pool contractor appears in court

Chris Powers, owner of Aqualantic Pools, is charged with one count of operating without a contractor's license, a misdemeanor

SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A pool installation contractor whose license was terminated by state regulators was arraigned Monday in Suffolk General District Court.

Chris Powers, owner of Aqualantic Pools, is charged with one count of operating without a contractor’s license, a misdemeanor. Powers was the focus of a WAVY News 10 Investigation earlier this year.

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The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) says Powers’ contractor license was terminated in April 2016. The Suffolk case involves a customer who hired Powers last summer to install a $50,000 pool, deck and hot tub, more than a year after his license was terminated.

Vicki Shull says she and her husband paid Powers $15,000 toward the contract price. Shull says some materials were delivered, but then work stopped soon afterward.

“I’m out $15,000 and I still have a big hole in my yard.”

After Shull saw posts on social media about Powers, she started asking the tough questions she wished she had asked beforehand — whether he had a license and was insured.

“(Powers) kept on saying we’ll have it, we’ll have it, we’ll have it,” Shull says.

Shull says Powers’ charm when he quoted the job last summer had her thinking she’d have a pool by January.

“Until you’d look back and say, wow, it was just a bunch of BS. He even brought his daughter out here one time and she played upstairs with my grandson.”

The Shulls have since hired another contractor to finish the job, costing them $39,000 more. They’ve had to scrap the hot tub, and hire yet another contractor to complete the decking.
She wants others to learn from her experience.

“It makes me cry inside that I was so naive to not check him out.”

We asked Powers several questions as he left the Suffolk Court House, regarding the Shulls and other customers who say they didn’t get what they had paid for, as well as whether he is still installing pools. He answered “no comment” to all of our questions.

A judge will hear the Suffolk case in April. Powers faces a similar charge in Chesapeake in two weeks. That case involves one of the customers who were part of our original investigation.