(CN) - An unlicensed contractor demanded money from a customer at gunpoint after abandoning renovation work to her house, the woman claims.
Ai Fong Ching sued Heng-Qian Zhou aka Ray Zhou and his company Seven Seas Contractors Inc. in Alamance County, N.C. Superior Court last week.
Ching hired Zhou in May 2013 to renovate her home, including a balcony and deck addition, driveway resurfacing and remodeling of her living room, kitchen, hallway and basement.
She paid him more than $278,000 over several months for the work, according to the complaint. When the project looked like it wouldn't meet the agreed-upon deadline, Ching's concerns were met with a threat, she claims.
"At [a] meeting on October 23, 2013, Zhou threatened Ms. Ching with bodily injury if she did not provide further payment prior to continue working on the project," the lawsuit states.
A similar discussion about the project's status nearly a month later resulted in more extreme behavior from Zhou, according to the complaint.
"On or about November 20, 2013, Ms. Ching and Zhou met again to discuss the incomplete project, and at which meeting Zhou angrily drew a handgun from his person, pointed it at Ms. Ching's face, and demanded that Ms. Ching leave him alone unless she would pay him more money," the complaint states. "Ms. Ching was very frightened by Zhou's brandishing of this firearm."
Zhou stopped working on the renovations when he realized he wasn't getting paid any more, Ching alleges
She says not only did the contractor abandon the project, he actually caused property damage, including basement flooding, unsealed windows, insect infestation and destroyed personal items. In addition, Zhou allegedly opened a Home Depot account in Ching's name and didn't pay off the balance.
"When Ms. Ching contacted Zhou about settling her account with The Home Depot, Zhou reminded Ms. Ching of the instance when he brandished a firearm and pointed it at Ms. Ching's face," the lawsuit states. "Zhou further demanded that Ms. Ching cease contacting him unless it was about paying him and Seven Seas more money."
Zhou also lied about being a licensed contractor and hired unlicensed subcontractors, Ching claims.
Ching's claims against Zhou and Seven Seas include assault, unfair and deceptive trade practices, fraudulent inducement and breach of contract. She wants $25,000 in punitive damages, a restraining order and return of the money she paid Zhou.
Ching is represented by W. Benjamin Woody and Robert Ward in Burlington, N.C.