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HVAC Contract

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Junior Member
AC Guy signs contract, takes deposit, then vanishes!

What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? California, in Los Angeles County.
I contracted this AC guy to install AC-Heating, but the guy seems to have vanished. He started on Sept 5, 2008 and stopped 2 weeks later. Repeated calls to his cell phone only lead to his leaving messages on my cell phone saying he's sorry; he's going through something...I think it's drugs. His price was $6800.00 and asked for $5800.00 as a down payment. (He asked for $2000.00 cash and a check made out to his wife in the amount of $3800.00. She signed and cashed the check, by the way) Because he's done work for us in the past (good work), I had no problem fronting him the money. In the contract, no time frame was given for completing the work, but verbally, he said it would only take 2-3 weeks. Today, December 18, 2008, the job is still not completed and we've decided to take legal action against him. The problem is, we've contacted his wife and she states she kicked out and has no idea where he is. Can I or should I include her in the suit? He said his wife does his "books". The idea is she probably DOES know, but does not want to give him up. This way, she can get in touch with him and inform him of the small claims suit. Additionally, he's left ALL his tools of the trade and materials in my back porch and, since October 30, 2008, have asked him to come and collect his stuff, but hasn't. Now, I have moved all his stuff in my garage and is taking up all the room. Can I also sue for storage? Thanks for any help in this matter. I know someone out there has to have an answer for me.
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