Whatever happened to Blu Pools?

This is a very curious little piece of documentation I came across the other night: the April 2017 Columbus General Licensing Board of Review Meeting Minutes. I haven’t written about this much, but if you dig into the Blu LLC filings, you’ll see that the Blu LLC was seemingly dissolved in July 2017.

Considering the problems I had with Landfare/Blu and the fact they seemingly lost their pool honcho, I was always curious about this fact. I figured that Doug had just chosen to retire and they were shuffling ownership of the LLC somehow. However, this tidbit makes me really scratch my head if there is more to the story.

Here we see on April 5, 2017 Jonathan Spayde’s application for a license for swimming pools was denied!

The full minutes document can be found here.

So is Landfare/Blu installing pools without a license? More to come. I think I need to make a few calls downtown and see what I can find. This is especially curious as currently they are making a big deal about putting in a new pool over this past on their blog and Google.

Evidence of more shady dealings? Or are they using a sub? Let’s hope the latter as my pool was never right.


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Landfare’s BBB accreditation suspended and pleads guilty to false tax returns!!!!

Those of you who think I am a crackpot and my mentions of Landfare and Jonathan Spayde being “checked out”… apparently, they are VERY checked out. So much so that John pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns seemingly in relation to Landfare. Both the IRS and Ohio were in on the case. This just came across the “BubbaDuck” news desk from a concerned citizen, so I don’t have a ton of information. Hopefully, some public records searches or a FoIA request will tell us more.

I can’t think of a more deserving company to also have their BBB accreditation suspended due to this.

This is one more piece of evidence that they are not operating in a professional manner. Stay away!

United States vs Johnathan Spayde Report Criminal Action 2:18-cr-055

BBB is cracking the whip!

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Has Highland-Palermo ever had an interior remodel client?


Let me start this off saying hello to the fans of this blog. You asked for another post, here’s another post. Also, in my About I say I don’t have a ton of time. I don’t! Though I am glad you are enjoying what I am putting out there.

A few of you have contacted me via the contact form. Please, reach out with stories you want to share. I’ll post them if you are ok with it. If there are more supporting voices, the public should know. I am certain most folks think I am a crackpot, so your support adds legitimacy.

Also, if you want to start a dialog, I’ll need contact info. I want to respect people’s privacy so I have no way to respond if you don’t include call back info. Seriously, I lose my credibility if I don’t keep that sort of thing above board. No pressure. But damn, am I curious.

Let’s talk about Highland-Palermo.

To start off, I don’t know much about Highland-Palermo. John pitched quoting out a renovation project as he knew I had planned to renovate our interior. This was early in 2016. I am in the midst of this currently with another contractor who I adore.  The old adage of “in a free-market, you can go across the street to a competitor” is literally what I did.

Landfare also sent me a few invoices with the Highland-Palermo monicker, but beyond that, I know nothing. However, in writing my post where I discuss Landfare’s non-existent track record as represented on the internet as well as Landfare’s concern about a bad review and their image, it got me thinking. How much facade and marketing are the sister companies and how much is real? The conclusion I came to is that Highland-Palermo has never done a full renovation and their portfolio consists completely of what John has done to his own home. Note, Highland-Palermo does not exist in reviews either. Essentially, the company is “vaporware” and has no experience or reputation. Let me lay out my case.

On the Highland-Palermo website we see images and examples of a singular home. If you look around the web, you’ll notice all of their press also references this singular home. Here is an example of an article I found. (Full screenshots below.)

Also, in searching for Landfare on the web one can find an old address. I am not into doxxing, so I am not going to post that information. With that info, a quick trip to the Franklin County auditor tells me that this property is owned by Jonathan Spayde and he purchased it in January 2005.

So let’s compare the article (see screenshots below) to what we know. The homeowner in the article mentions a seven-year period. Now, we don’t know if that means after the purchase of the home they started the renovation or if that means after seven years the renovation was completed. Regardless, this takes us to ~2012. Again, if we make a quick search on the Ohio Secretary of State’s site, we see that Highland-Palermo was registered with the State of Ohio on August 20, 2012. Interesting. You would certainly think that one would want to market their business immediately upon its existence.

Let’s put it all together. An unknown bachelor (John happens to BE a bachelor) who happens to live in Dublin, Ohio (The old address is in Dublin, Ohio.) after seven years (John had lived in his home for seven years at the point of the article being written) had a remodel done by Highland-Palermo who heretofore didn’t exist! Also, in looking through multiple issues of House Trends (you can review historical issues here), Landfare has been a regular advertiser in their periodical.  Neither here nor there, just know that that magazine and this article is a press piece, not a real highlight of “great work” piece.

Here’s another example:

What? They reached out to Zach Miller of Highland-Palermo? Zach works for Landfare! There was no reaching out. Highland-Palermo doesn’t exist in any practical sense and they are simply name-dropping to build brand recognition. Again, not a bad thing. It’s what you do in business. Just don’t be fooled that Highland-Palermo has a track record or any sort of reputation!

Beyond this, I contend that Highland Palermo has never done an interior remodel job (which is what they are selling) except for on John’s own personal home. I don’t know about you, but a garage is a lot different than an interior remodel. I also think we know exactly who this is. In a recent Google review, a reviewer mentions where Highland Palermo built a garage. (Also note, this reviewer has never reviewed anything except Landfare. Ballot box stuffing!)

Full disclosure, I dug through a lot of county auditors to try to find this 2012 garage, I could not find it. I did find an improvement in a particular property referencing a brick garage. Maybe Highland-Palermo has done two garage projects? Regardless, still no evidence of any interior remodel work beyond the singular “show home” in the ad copy.

If this is true, based on the House Trends from above, this work was completed around 2012… assuming it is the same residence.

To this end, I received a few invoices from Landfare under the Highland-Palermo name. Curiously they were invoice numbers 1001 through 1004. This sure feels like when you get a new checking account and the checks start at 1000.

My conclusion: This is John’s personal home he is trying to use to convince clients they are a renovation contractor! Who are they trying to fool? This tells me they have no experience in interior construction and have simply created some clever marketing chicanery to try to start up an interior remodel business.

Plus, we have seen elsewhere that Landfare can’t estimate the time a job takes or maintain quality. Letting them in my home would be terrifying as they would likely never leave and I can only imagine the quality issues for interior work. With such difficulty getting things right for exterior work such as actually putting plants in the ground and the concept of “level”, what would finish carpentry, cabinetry, or tile work look like? Those are things that have no margin of error. My guess is that John renovated his own home and decided that made him a qualified interior contractor. I can assemble Hamburger Helper, but that doesn’t make me a professional chef.

Long story short, literally walk across the street from Landfare. There are real professionals over there who have done 100s of exceptionally high-end renovations and have a proven track record.

This also leads me to a few other conclusions to be discussed elsewhere. I think I have pieced together how Landfare went from hero to zero. I think around 2012 John and Zach decided to expand and didn’t do well with it, thus we get the sort of work I received.


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