main banner

Friday, August 12, 2016

Former employees accuse Annandale company of wage theft

Former Sweet Home employees and clients demand back wages.
Construction worker Nain Rodriguez was promised $18 an hour to work on a project for Sweet Home Improvement, a home remodeling company at 7700 Little River Turnpike. After doing the work, Rodriguez said Sweet Home still owes him $3,220 in back wages even though he won a judgment against the company in small claims court.

The Sweet Home showroom is on Little River Turnpike and Hummer Road.
Rodriguez is one of more than 30 protesters who marched in front of the Sweet Home showroom Aug. 11 to shine a spotlight on what they charge is “wage theft” committed by owner Myung Kwan Koo. The event, organized by the Centreville Commission for Labor Justice (CCLJ), was aimed at shaming Sweet Home into paying back thousands of dollars owed to former employees and clients.

“Koo needs to understand that we are not letting him get away with wage theft anymore,” Rodriguez said. 

“He promised and promised to pay you,” said Jerry Harris, who said Koo owes him $1,500 for work he did remodeling bathrooms. “He’s just a swindler. He swindled a lot of people.”

Hector Antonio Andrade, a handyman, said Koo owes him $4,600, and some of the paychecks he did receive bounced.

The loss has affected him emotionally and mentally, as well as financially, Andrade said. His mother was desperately ill in El Salvador during that period. He couldn’t afford to send her money for medicine, and she passed away. He couldn’t afford to pay his rent so he lost his apartment. And because he couldn’t afford to get his truck fixed, it failed inspection, and now he can’t afford to get it out of the impoundment lot. 

Workers aren’t the only ones demonstrating with CCLJ against Koo. Former business client Christine Tran is suing Koo for over $70,000 for construction fraud. Tran hired Koo to design and build a restaurant in Woodbridge in August 2015, but claims he pocketed her money after demanding advance payments for building permits, materials, and labor.

“I want to make sure that no one, worker or client, is ever again taken advantage of by Sweet Home Improvement,” said Tran. “That’s why I’m out here raising awareness.”

The Sweet Home office was closed when the protesters marched in front of the building, waved signs at passing motorists, and put flyers on the windshields of parked cars.

Reached by phone, Koo blamed the workers, claiming they put in fewer hours than promised, did shoddy work, and took too long to finish jobs. “I have to protect my company,” he said. “They took advantage of my company.”

The Centreville Commission for Labor Justice launched the public protest after failing to come to terms with Koo and facing frustration with the Fairfax County civil court system. Koo and Sweet Home Improvement have been sued dozens of times since 2012. 

“We tried negotiating with him, and when that didn’t work, we went to the courts, but that has proved ineffective as well,” said Marley Pulido, founder of the CCLJ, a project of the Centreville Immigration Forum.

Several former employers had won judgments against Sweet Home in small claims court, but those judgments aren’t enforceable. 

A current case is pending in federal court on behalf of six former employees. The suit charges Sweet Home with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to pay minimum wages and overtime pay. Attorney Nicholas Cooper Marritz, of the Legal Aid Justice Center, said the company owes the plaintiffs a total of $25,000 in back wages.


  1. Nain Rodriges one of customer house bathroom Messed up we asked him fix but he did not he did not show up jobsite. we hired another person fixed it
    He doesn't have knowledge and no responsible. made a leaking problem, wrong install toilet ball and ugly paint. mees up everything
    we could not get money from customer

    1. I have his work picture my guys repair expense
      customers complain

      I will summit this issue
      I did not pay him
      Just hole and want compromise our damaged expense. If I pay tem all
      where can I get my loose.
      If it is few hundred dollars
      I can mamage

    2. Mr. Sweet if someone wins a judgement against you in Court that means that you have to pay him. That's the law. smh

  2. Hector made big problem, leaking, electric burnt out, wrong installation heating floor. he never show up and did not fix them We hired another person and fix it and I paid master plumber, electrician, and painter also

    he is not my employee. I sent 1099 but it is returned
    he steal something from customer's material. we could not get $13800
    I will sue him that demage,
    Customer called us
    hector was working only that time. some of material lost so they bought again. it was inside house.
    I will get him that compensation
    I owe him only about 1 week or mor. But He has to compensate us $13800

    1. KrOOked, you in trouble boy! Lol. Holding someone's earned wages is technically wage theft. Read the Fair Labor Standards Act.

  3. Christine tran
    we got contract $200,000 she suggested $50,000 is equipmentexpence
    She has to get loan so she needed contract paper , so we gave her contract paper and equipment list.

    material allowance is $50,000 for equipments 11 items include Hood ($30,000value) she suddenly asked us
    please allow her to use that$50,000 she will get finance for equipments.
    But 11 item was more than $67,000
    her list

    8' x 48" Commercial Kitchen Hood Mart 14' Hood SKU: EXH008 $1,959 2 $3,918
    Eagle Group FN2860-3-14/3 3 compartment sink FN2860-3-14/3 $2,339 1 $2,339
    Vulcan LG300 Fryer Deep Fryer Vulcan LG300 SKU# LG300 $930 1 $930
    Vulcan-Hart V36-2 36" Six Burner Gas Range Vulcan Vulcan-Hart (V36-1) $1,740 1 $1,740
    Vulcan Model# 515-441 Heavy Duty Stock Pot Range VSP100-2 $735 2 $3,918
    Beverage Air SPE60-16 Elite Series Sandwich top refigerate counter SKU# SPE60-16 $2,462 2 $4,924
    KolPak P7-812 CT Walk-in Cooler SKU# P7-812-CT $6,983 1 $6,983
    Hoshizaki B-500PF Ice Maker SKU# B-500PF $844 1 $844
    BTF060 Planetary Mixer Mixer SKU# BTF060 1 $8,550
    L-1X16 W/HTR Dishwasher Dishwasher SKU# L-1X16 W/HTR $4,004 1 $4,004
    Model#: 692-086 Double Stack Convection Oven CGS28SC $5,799 2 $11,598

    total price

  4. but
    she got the quote and removed Hood ( it is in the contract)
    she put another12 item,
    she asked Store Sign
    I gave her change order but she cannot give us any panny
    unexpected condition she has to sign and pay but she rejected.
    we had some trial she met all person and gathering person and that event.

  5. her item is 11 item
    she remove HOOD and put slicer, locker, more range, more sink, work table, put some of her own item. they are not included contract
    it is very funny
    Hood is in the contract she remove that hood and she put her 12 item instead of HOOD
    Sign $6,000 value
    She asked us we have to do
    it is not our contract Anychange order ? she did not accept

  6. 1. Tran deceive us when we got the contract
    she brought that list
    it is enough money and she already got quote
    if it is over than $50,000 she will pay.
    2. she tried to use that equipment money for her own item or another item.
    she tried to get finiance for equipment but
    interest is too high and price is over than $50,000
    estimate is around $75,000 some of item is not there.
    she remove Hood and told me
    Hood is not equipment so we have to buy. It is in the contract list.
    she interrupt our job every time.
    she told me She could not pay any penny over than $200,000
    Can you imagine?
    She let us work $only $200,000 witout any change order
    There are some of change order. it will happen extra money
    she cannot sign any change order.
    we can stop work her job if she don't pay and accept.
    entry door it will be change order
    she wanted whole glass in the contract
    just simple
    If we make whole glass material is only $10,000 original door only a few thousand dollar
    she did not accept.
    it is our story We got $90,000 from her we paid More than $50,000
    we were processing.
    prince William county permit processing is very slow we got rough in permit and started work

    what do you think?

    1. Mr. Koo you're a horrible person. Pathetic too. I've driven by Sweet Home Improvements and it looks so legit. I guess I'm wrong

  7. Tran
    she treaten us
    if you don't provid Sign, she will break contract, provide hood, if not she would cancel contract. we just send change order.

    she contacted our sub contractor and plumber electrican and architect carpenter...
    she asked them how much got money from our company and if they didn't get money from us, it is hard to get money from us be careful....
    We lost good subcontractor because of her.
    she is not involved labor.

  8. Tran will go court.
    my lawyer filed this issue.

  9. Does someone want to explain to me why the judgments in small claims court are not enforceable? I always thought they were.

    1. they had to compensate our damage
      it is over than their amount
      I have evidence for damaged picture and customer complain.
      most important thing
      I did nor get balance due from the customer

      They messed up our job
      they did not fix I hired another person he repaired I paid him also

      hector is get big trouble.
      Stole customers material even if it is small stuff
      I could not get any balance due $13800 plus heating floor and master plumber work pay.
      I paid over than $5000
      we calculate !3800 plus 5000
      I gave up every thing It is related in criminial.
      light fixtures bathroom accefries. some of plumbing part and recessed light.

    2. I don't want my workers related in criniminal just that time.
      customer didn/t pay.
      I am very regretful.
      I had to report to the police
      I had to call the police.
      I am very regrets.

    3. Christine Tran deceived us to make contract.
      she brought equipment list and if it is $50,000
      If it is over $50,000
      she would pay. if it is less than $50,000
      I could get this. I just laugh.
      I was sure it would over than $50,000. anyway.I dinot worry about it
      It is very cheap price
      but equipment allowance is $50,000 and change order.
      she brought 11 equipment list. she needed paper for finiance for that equipment so I made and sign she summit that paper and I am not sure if she got loan or not.
      she asked me money is very short she wanted use $50,000and she would buy that equipment she had to get loan again for equipment, anyway equipment is noy my company expence it did nt care I accept.
      she asked to find some place good equipment for loan
      I gave her 2 or 3 company and she got quote
      it was almost $75,000

      she suddenly called me Hood is not equipment so I had to provide. it is in the contract.
      I saw that Hood price was around $30,000
      I did not worry about over than $50,000 is her expence
      If she did not accept and threaten us she would break contract.
      we tried to compromise and gave her change order form
      she rejected
      It is irony
      she remove Hood and Put her own stuff instead of HOOD
      original item is 11 but she removed Hood and put 12 item instead it.
      evenspoon is not equipment if contract says provide is just provide
      that expence $30,000
      she had to provide
      can you imagine
      we have to buy Hood and her own 12 Item.
      I surprised she told me we have to provide Sign

      If we don't provide she would break contract.
      treaten us
      I sent change order but she rejected.

  10. It really isn't hard to suss out contractors that are relying on slave labor to achieve their low, low prices. There is NOTHING about "sweet home improvement" that says legit.

    1. I'm sorry for their customers, but I'll be glad to see that tacky sign go!!

  11. Koo is not truthful. The truth will soon reveal.

    1. she deceive us
      when she bring her equipment list
      she told me
      she got list
      it is enough all equipment with in $50,000
      I didn't agree, she told me, If if they are over than $50,000, she would pay
      so I accept

    2. she wanted contract paper for bank she would get finiances, When she was ready. she begged me Please allow to use $50,000
      to use her own another equipment and asked me equipment finance company
      when she got a quote she is very syprized/ interest is high, price is too high...
      she told me Hood is not equipment
      even if hood is in the contract it is about $30,000.
      I was very surprise. She removed Hood in the list she put all another equipment.
      she made $50,000 budget.

    3. permit was process
      we got rough in permit and started work
      but we stopped work
      ahe did not sign change order
      she passed buck us up HOOD, SIGN, HER 12 item
      if you were me
      can you Keep going work.
      we asked her change ordr sign
      she told me
      sshe cannot provide any penny over than #20,000
      I had been waited for her change order sign

      I wanted her keep promise. she provide equipment in the contract. Provide sign and her own equipment and change order
      she rejected
      it is $ 20,000 contract
      $10,000 is plan
      Hood $30,000- sign -$6,000,
      change order - it is unexpected condition.
      real contract amount is $140000
      she ask us around $50,000 expense more.

      only $90,000 is our real contract amount.
      I don't know
      how many change order will be happened
      she could not provide anything
      she use $50,000 in the $20,000- equipment
      spend $30,000 in the $20,000 -Hood
      spend $6,000
      Spend $$$$$
      Unexpected condition

      She never accept this kind of work

      she ad to Buy Hood,sign
      and change order thing
      who is truthfully
      if your guys want see contract paper and that text massage
      I can show you

      we don't have choice
      can you keep going work and if she don't sign the contract change order we can STOPP WORK
      Right NOW
      It is in the contract
      we sent that change order many times
      she cannot accept
      her expence is only $200,000
      she told us
      she cannot pay anything over $200,000 in this project........

  12. That Koo seems to be a thief. When you have 40 protesters (most of them former employees and clients) outside of your business it's because you did something really bad. Boo Koo

    1. Sounds like Crooked Koo is trying to litigate these claims on the Annandale Blog! This is bad judgement. Sad!!

    2. Koo owes employess Boku!
      The shoddy work he won't redo!
      Therefore they must sue Koo!

    3. Best comment ever lol. That Koo is a "loco"

  13. It is hard to believe that ONE employer can have TWENTY FOUR cases of bad work. His assertion that all these employees were incompetent and deceitful is not believable, something the courts obviously agree with. You WILL eventually pay for your dishonesty.

    1. you can know 70% worker messed up it is not small
      fire, leaking, stole somethimg deceive working time. deal with our existing customer made break contract.
      they use our jobsite in their sales and use references.
      I was very surprise
      about 20 works pushed me on the cliff with their bad mind and junk skill.
      can you imagine your jobsite worker is not honest and junk can you accept ?
      I m very sorry about a few good workers if you did not get money you may contact with me you can get.
      Please don't hide somebody's back side.

    2. please be honest.
      steal company tools, cheat customer and company material.
      we got contract a lot last year. BUT... customer did not pay why" your guys bad work.
      I put new good skilled guy and finished nicely made customer happy but I lost new potential customer.
      Do you know what is customer complain?
      They like our work. but it is too slow.
      why ? you messed up that job and we remove bad work and put new person to repair
      no choice time has passed over then estimate time.
      bathroom - it took about 2 weeks.
      we finished that job 2 month.
      drywall guy messed up and did not fix, I put new guy to repair. it took more time.
      dry wall patching and sanding bad ugly. I put new sanding patching guy
      plumbing guy. made problem leaking and it is not tight so leaking
      he is not concentrate, I put plumber and fixed it
      tile ? they did bad work
      another guy put also
      paint? it was messed up also put new one and fix it.
      all person was 711 or junk guy
      when I had interview, every body asked 0er hour $20 to $25
      when they start work I was very disappoint about their skill.
      it is very simple it took 2 month.
      It was my problem?
      I could not see that kind of job in my eye open

    3. One of job
      he finished it is very small job
      he spoiled that job
      I thought it would be done.
      Customer got upset explain about that job
      I thought
      I am believe and customer doesn't want pay
      I was stressed and have a trouble but I was very surprised but it was very very dirty
      I apologized about this job and send new guys and
      customer wanted see and our job and gave us
      but it was faild

    4. Thank you for our current workers
      they are rebuild our company and will lead to succed,
      I love them
      I will promise if they are honest and helpful us
      I will compensate as I can.

    5. Wow! Man you're desperate. Paying what you owe them is an option.

  14. KOO, I will prove all your lies in court.

  15. Does anyone know what ended up happening to Sweet Home Improvements? Any investigation?