But Jerry Grass, owner of PAC Services - for Professional Air Conditioning - still hadn't resolved by Friday a disgruntled Vero Beach customer's demand to be released from a $2,700 debt owed on a disputed contract.

Grass told the board Tuesday he still owns the business and has no plans to sell it for a few years. But Johnson said manager Darvin Harrelson told her he is the new owner.

"His employee is telling people he owns the business now and is misleading people," county Building Official Buddy Akins said Friday. "The guy (Grass) has moved to Georgia. So we know he plans to sell the business. But whoever he sells to has got to be qualified (with a county license)."

Grass' attorney, Lee Dougherty of Vero Beach, argued Akins overstepped his authority in suspending PAC Services' license. Only the board can do so, Dougherty said.

Assistant County Attorney Bill DeBraal said Akins tried "to prevent a future fire here" when Grass was said to have sold the company and couldn't be located to confirm rumors.

Johnson on Tuesday complained about Harrelson to the board, pointing to a May 10 letter in which Harrelson gave her two days to pay the remaining $2,700 of a $5,400 contract, or he would file a mechanic's lien on her home.

But Johnson said the contracted work wasn't completed and the part that was done by April 12 failed to pass county inspections the next day. She said another contractor, Colkitt Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning, quoted her a $2,626 price to complete the original contract.

Johnson, an independent insurance adjuster, said she contracted with Grass in August for a $5,400 job replacing her air-conditioning system, following destruction by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in September 2004. The job was to include an extension of the ductwork to a Florida room she was turning into her office, she said.

Johnson said she paid a $2,700 deposit but wasn't able to get the company to her home for months. And when Harrelson arrived to do the work in late November, she said, he wouldn't fulfill her agreement with Grass to extend ductwork to the office.

"He said it was my deal with Jerry, but not with him," Johnson told the board, adding Harrelson would swear at her whenever she refused to pay off the contract.

Grass said much of the delay in working on Johnson's house was her being away and not leaving access to the house. If Johnson had left keys to a door or gate, he said, the work would have been done sooner.

Grass caught the attention of board member Dave Meeks when he said his company completed the duct work in November - but didn't apply for the permit until April.

Grass said the county's process of reviewing and granting building permits is so cumbersome, in this case, he collected several applications and submitted them together.

Provide a full explanation of who owns the business. Manager Darvin Harrelson has said he owns it, but Grass says he's still technically the owner.

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