Pool for special needs boy left unfinished when contractor disappears

Dozen or more homeowners left with incomplete pools

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter , Lauren Sweeney

CYPRESS, Texas - It was supposed to be a way for the Linda and Richard Comeaux' family to get together in the summer without having to leave their backyard.

The Cypress couple adopted their great-nephew Jamon, who suffers from several disabilities as a result of being shaken as a baby.

The 5-year-old is blind and cannot walk, but he can exercise his legs by swimming.

In May, the family decided to put in a pool and entered into a contract with Bellar Pools.

"This was not a luxury for us, it was a necessity," said Linda Comeaux, who took out a loan to pay for Jamon's pool.

Two months later, all Comeaux has is a concrete-lined hole in her backyard with no plumbing or equipment to the pool, and several other components left unfinished.

She said they paid Bellar Pools nearly $40,000 for the work that was done and for weeks she's not been able to get in touch with anyone from the company.

Channel 2 Investigates has been contacted by several homeowners who said they paid tens of thousands of dollars to Bellar Pools only to be left with incomplete jobs. All of them are having trouble getting other contractors to finish the work.

The Houston Better Business Bureau has received 11 complaints about the company since June detailing the same scenario.

Woodlands homeowner Jeff Bateman paid Bellar pools $65,000 in April, but without equipment or finishing work the pool is not the backyard paradise that he'd envisioned.

Bateman, Comeaux and others have also filed criminal complaints with the Harris County District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Division.

"I have a pool for mosquitos and frogs," said Bateman, who is now being sent letters from subcontractors who worked on his home saying they have not been paid for work.

Under Texas law, a subcontractor is allowed to place a lien on a homeowner's property for unpaid bills.

"The concrete I've paid for it, but they are going to ask me for money again. I'm going to have to pay for that or they're going to put a lien on my house," said Bateman, who estimates the total bill for his pool will be more than $100,000.

Calls and Facebook messages to Bellar pools owner Jay Bellar were unreturned, and his northwest Houston store appeared to be cleared out with computers missing from desks.

No one answered the door at his Cypress home and neighbors said they saw moving vans in the last few weeks.

Channel 2 Investigates contacted Bellar's son Jared on Facebook. Jared Bellar, who homeowners say was the project manager on their pools, said that his father closed the business and left town with Lisa Hileman, who was also involved in the company. Hileman lists "owner at Bellar pools" on her Facebook profile.

Channel 2 Investigates could not get in contact with Hileman at her Tomball home, by phone or via Facebook.

Homeowners who contacted Channel 2 said they cannot file civil suits against Bellar Pools because there is nowhere to serve the paperwork.

The company's website had been taken down by Friday.

In the last year, the IRS has filed several court cases against Jay Bellar for unpaid taxes.

The Harris County District Attorney's Office said it has received eight complaints about Bellar Pools, but would not say whether it is investigating.

Channel 2 Investigates will continue to follow up on this story. Anyone with information on Bellar Pools or its owner should email investigates@click2houston.com.

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