Complaint about sign contractor caught in state sting

Defenders credited for helping restaurateur get signs from contractor

Author: Brian Mylar, Reporter, bmylar@ksat.com
Published On: Nov 21 2012 06:22:39 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 21 2012 09:50:29 PM CST
SAN ANTONIO -

A San Antonio restaurant scheduled to open next week has bright new signs erected thanks to some work by the KSAT 12 Defenders.

John Pugel has been working to open San Antonio’s Original Hot Dog House near the intersection of Bitters Road and Blanco Road for months. Construction was proceeding on schedule on the restaurant’s interior, but Pugel was having trouble getting the electric signs he paid for.

He contacted the KSAT 12 Defenders to complain about Norberto Castrejon, of American Neon and Signs.

"Well, we signed the agreement on July 21," Pugel said.

He said he put a $5,200 down payment on a total job worth $9,200, but said he was getting the runaround.

"Every time, it's been either someone's been ill or had truck problems," Pugel said.

The KSAT 12 Defenders called Castrejon and sent him an email about the sign asking when he would get it finished. In an emailed response, Castrejon wrote that things have been really hard for him and that he got behind in sign production.

After that contact, Pugel reported some progress in getting the signs.

"To my surprise, on a Sunday, they came out and hung it,” Pugel said. “I wasn't even in town."

He said the work was good, though much-delayed, and that he will open up next week.

"If it wasn't for KSAT 12, I know those signs wouldn't be completed for my grand opening date," Pugel said.

The Defenders originally met Norberto Castrejon when the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation was doing an undercover sting operation to nab unlicensed electrical sign contractors. He bid on an electrical sign job but was not licensed as an electrical sign contractor. He was also charged with theft for taking money from Jimmy Burns and doing no work.

Julie Ann Winkler complained about him as well.

"I'm a decent person. I have 10 children,” Castrejon previously said. “I'm a family man."

The Defenders will be watching.

To complain about electricians, electrical sign contractors or air conditioner repair people, here is contact information for the TDLR. Online complaint can be made here. Or call 512-463-6599