UPDATED: Owner of air conditioning company arrested for unlicensed work

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2013 10:30 pm | Updated: 11:45 am, Wed Nov 12, 2014.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. -The owner of a Venice air conditioning company has been arrested after investigators say he had no contractor's license and hired unlicensed personnel.

55-year-old James Sohol, owner of Air Today in Venice, was arrested by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in connection with nearly a dozen cases of Unlicensed Contracting.

According to the sheriff's office, Sohol would obtain prospective customers by telemarketing, and when residents were in need of services, Sohol would schedule an inspection which would lead to the installation of new air conditioning units. Sohol does not have a state or local license and his company does not have a state certified qualifier, deeming all work illegal.

"When you have a pattern of conduct that is illegal and putting citizens at risk, we are going to make sure they are prosecuted," said Wendy Rose with the sheriff's office.

In four of the 11 current cases, Sohol listed the license of a New York man who has no affiliation with him or his company. All totaled, Sohol collected more than $55,926 from the current victims for illegal work.

Deputies arrested Sohol Wednesday morning at his home in Bradenton. He is charged with 11 counts of Unlicensed Contracting and is being held on $275,000 bond.

This isn't Sohol's first brush with the law. Last January, he was arrested and charged with five counts of Employing Unlicensed Telephone Solicitors in Manatee County. The day after his arrest, he posted a $9 thousand bond and was released.

"We have been under siege by unlicensed contractor activity in the last ten years," said Jaime DiDomenico, the owner of the air conditioning company, Cool Today. "Getting a license is a hurdle for many people, so they take the short cut and decide to do this without a license. They are risking the consumer's safety, if they are not hiring people properly and subcontracting work to move unlicensed people. There is a risk to the homeowner."

When hiring a contractor the Sarasota County Building Department recommends the following steps:

  • Get a signed, detailed contract that spells out the work to be done, when, and for how much.
  • Ask for local references and check them.
  • Verify the company's reputation with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Ask to see the contractor’s license and verify its status. To check a Sarasota County license call 861-6126.
  • Do not make a large down payment and do not pay in full until the work is complete.

If you think someone is acting as an unlicensed contractor contact the Sarasota County Building Department, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, or visit https://www.scgov.net/DevelopmentServices/Pages/ContractorLicensing.aspx.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
  • 2 Don't Threaten or Abuse. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated. AND PLEASE TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
  • 3 Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
  • 4 Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 5 Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 6 Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Welcome to the discussion.


  • James on Air posted at 7:09 am on Tue, Sep 16, 2014.

    James on Air Posts: 2


  • James on Air posted at 5:06 am on Tue, Sep 16, 2014.

    James on Air Posts: 2

    every one of those jobs had a permet pulled , you can check the records,this is before the arrest and the bail was only $5000.....NOT $275000

  • uspvteyes posted at 12:25 am on Fri, Apr 4, 2014.

    uspvteyes Posts: 1

    Its no longer Government by the people for the people.
    99% of people I talked to said they don't want permits for small repair jobs, windows, broken down garage door. Its all about the money, why do we have to buy permits for these things when 99% of the people don't want them, isn't this our country.I know a person who installed garage doors for over 40 years, now they tell him he needs a state license, for what, to start with there is no state license for a garage door installer, I did check on it. They just make this junk up to get money. They told him he needs a permit to install a door, then tell him he needs a state license to pull the permit.Then they set out to try and catch him so they can fine him, its all about the money, they put the old mob Boses to shame in New York, its all a scam, people need to wake up, if you don't want permits,get rid of the elected people who are doing this, get it on the state ballet and make it illegal to require some one to get a permit for a small repair job.I'm working on it. A lot of small repair men are out of business because of this.


Right Now











Send your photos & videos to Pix@MySuncoast.com and you could be featured on ABC 7 & our website.