The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has arrested James Sohol, owner of Air Today in Venice, in connection with nearly a dozen cases of Unlicensed Contracting
Sohol would obtain prospective customers by telemarketing, and when residents were in need of services, Sohol would schedule an inspection which would lead to the installation of new air conditioning units. Sohol does not have a state or local license and his company does not have a state certified qualifier, deeming all work illegal. In four of the 11 current cases, Sohol listed the license of a New York man who has no affiliation with him or his company. All totaled, Sohol collected more than $55,926 from the current victims for illegal work.
Deputies arrested Sohol this morning at his home in Bradenton. He is charged with 11 counts of Unlicensed Contracting and is being held on $275,000 bond.
“We have two detectives who work on this full time because unlicensed contractors undercut legitimate professionals and put citizens at risk,” said Sheriff Tom Knight. “Installation by unlicensed contractors also voids the warranty, so these victims spent thousands of dollars for a product that may not be covered if it fails.”
When hiring a contractor the Sarasota County Building Department recommends the following steps:
- Get a signed, detailed contract that spells out the work to be done, when, and for how much.
- Ask for local references and check them.
- Verify the company's reputation with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce.
- Ask to see the contractor’s license and verify its status. To check a Sarasota County license call 861-6126.
- Do not make a large down payment and do not pay in full until the work is complete.
If you think someone is acting as an unlicensed contractor contact the Sarasota County Building Department, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation,
or visit https://www.scgov.net/DevelopmentServices/Pages/ContractorLicensing.aspx.