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11 Investigates: 'Handyman scammer' tells his side of the story

Contractor Danny Baran has been accused of scamming, stealing and lying to his clients. 11 Investigates invited Baran to talk and this is what he had to say.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Danny Baran of Baran's Fences and Decks has developed quite a reputation with former customers like Victoria Semones and Candice Gordon. 

The pair say they hired Baran for jobs that should have taken days and he stretched them out for months, hitting them with excuse after excuse along the way.

RELATED: Maumee, Holland families say contractor took money but never finished work

Now he admits they were lies, including the lie he told about the death of his mother.

Michael Sandlin: "Danny can I ask you a question?"
Danny Baran, "Sure whatever you want."
Michael Sandlin: "Is your mom alive?"
Danny Baran: "yes, yes, she is... She is very ill."
Michael Sandlin: "Yeah I'm sorry to hear that, but she's still with us... how do you feel that you used her death as a crutch?"
Danny Baran: "How do you feel about using her death as a crutch?
I felt horrible about it, I felt extremely horrible about it. I mean, I did and I still do."

The reason for the lies? Baran says since he started working on his own as a contractor at the end of 2020, he's taken on more jobs than he could handle and it overwhelmed him. He admitted he felt pressured to get all his jobs completed.

"How can I get to all these people, how can I get it all done, and the only thing I could think of was come up with an excuse, and that's where I'm wrong," said Baran.

While Baran says he understands his customer's frustrations, he insists that he's not a scammer.

I asked Baran about Candice Gordon's claim that he took hundreds of dollars of vinyl fencing and tried to return them at Lowe's, but he denies that the fencing was hers and that he bought the fencing from a neighbor.

Michael Sandlin: "According to Candice she bought them with her credit card."
Danny Baran: "No! They weren't paid for with her credit card, she just had vinyl on her credit card. The material was tan, it tan vinyl fences. Hers were white, so they didn't look into that."

Theft or not, the Gordons are also frustrated with the quality of his work.
They had explained to Baran that they needed their fencing to be as low to the ground as possible, to keep their autistic daughter away from a creek. Baran insists that he did just that.

"From every angle that fence is straight, no gaps at the bottom because they were very stern about getting that fence as low to the ground as possible for her daughter, which I did," said Baran.

However, 11 Investigates has already seen that Baran's work left a gap wide enough that a small child could get through.

And what about Victoria Semones' claim that Baran took a downpayment of $2,600 dollars to start a fence for them only to never return? Despite Semones having the contract with Baran's signature, he denies that she paid him any more than $600 dollars.

"She's lying! I know you said there's a contract, but anyone could have put a two in front of that six," said Baran.

And Baran claims the $600 he did take, he offered to return when the Semones family canceled.

The Semones family has since taken Baran to small claims court requesting that he pay the fee, but Baran says he won't show and he's now prepared to counter sue.

"Defamation of character, slander, pain and suffering. Like she ruined- she literally sabotaged me. Made a whole Facebook page about lies," said Baran.

But Baran says despite these incidents, he intends to continue his work as a local contractor.

He says his wife will be handling his bookings and starting now, customers can expect him to be honest all the time.


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