News for LaBelle, Clewiston, Moore Haven and the Lake Okeechobee area
Online News Since 1996
June 19, 2016
This Week's Big Stories:
Consumer Alert - Bruno Air ConditioningFORT MYERS, FL. -- 27-year old air conditioning business owner Louis Joseph Bruno IV buys lots of radio time for weekend hour-long early morning radio shows, and frequent daily spot ads featuring $29.95 air conditioning maintenance checkups by his four-year old Bruno Air Conditioning of SWFL.
Bruno wants to sell you maintenance contracts, "Bruno Signature Series" air conditioners, mold protection units, surge protectors, and do all your electrical and plumbing work. And they love to take your air conditioner system apart and clean all the components.
But before you give anyone your business that may take thousands of dollars from your pocket, it's a good idea to do a bit of checking on the company through the BBB and other references. We did, and found some interesting facts.
According to the BBB, Bruno Air Conditioning is not accredited and it's rating was revoked in November 2015 by the Better Business Bureau. The BBB says "On 11/18/2015 this company's accreditation in the BBB was revoked by the BBB's Board of Directors due to failure to eliminate the underlying cause of complaints on file with the BBB."
The BBB says Bruno had 30 complaints made to them in three years, and 23 in the last 12 months, including 20 complaints about service and products, six about sales and adverting, three about billing and collection, and one about guarantees.
The BBB said, "BBB has received a pattern of complaints from consumers alleging that the business misdiagnosed or misrepresented issues related to repair or replacement, which lead to higher costs or estimates for the consumers. Additional complaints allege issues with the quality of service performed when the business is repairing or installing an air conditioner."
"In July 2015, BBB sent a request to the business to address this pattern and what actions the business has taken to help eliminate the causes of complaints. The business does not believe that it has a pattern of complaints, and stated that it believes in being upfront and honest with its customers about issues or potential issues their air conditioning may have."
Despite the BBB accreditation revocation and complaints, Bruno's website still carries the "BBB Accredited Business" logo.
In further checking their air conditioning contractor license, Bruno Air had a complaint (#2014006671) filed with the Department of Professional Business Regulation February, 13, 2014 and a citation was filed May 8.
Bruno also advertises they want your electrical and plumbing business. Their electric division sells house surge protectors, and the plumbing section sells drain cleaning.
Bruno does not personally have a state plumbing or electrical license, but instead uses the licenses of others who are not owners of Bruno's company. Consumer protection experts say use caution hiring companies using licenses of other people who are not actual owners of the company.
Bruno uses a non-owner of his company, John P. Cordone as the qualifying agent for his new plumbing contracting service. Cordone has a complaint (#2015052414) filed with the DPBR for unlicensed activity December 3, 2015 and was issued a notice to cease and desist December 17. He did get a license a short time later on January 8, 2016. Cordone has his office address at a 3-bedroom home in Cape Coral.
Bruno uses a non-owner Stephen Mohrbacker, as the qualifying agent for electrical contracting. Mohrbacker has been licensed as an electrical contractor since September 2014 at a 4-bedroom home office in Naples and has operated SGM Electric Service LLC since 2014.
What Do You Get For $29.95?
Responding to an ad for an AC check up, what one of Bruno's employees will try to sell you after the radio advertised $29.95 checkup is a yearly maintenance agreement and in some cases a Bruno "Signature Series" air conditioner unit, a home surge protector, cleaning of the air handler coils and fan and maybe new ducts. Chances are Bruno admits, you'll end up writing a check for a lot more than $29,95.
Bruno says 82% of customers visited buy a maintenance agreement, with 70% renewing for "life." Bruno says additional service charges can be expected for disassembling and cleaning coils and AC fans with a chemical spray, or for new parts or equipment installed.
It's not clear if Bruno's technicians are paid on commission as most air conditioning company's techs are actually sales agents. Bruno does say he hires people with no experience from the hospitality industry, hotels and restaurants, and trains them at his "Bruno University."
Bruno claims his 170 employees make 300 home visits a day in scores of yellow trucks with a Polar Bear graphic on the side. In addition to the Fort Myers office, his website shows offices covering Orlando, Sarasota, Tampa, and the Villages. His taped radio shows are apparently broadcast statewide, with cut ins for each market naming the area of service coverage for that station.
He says he has a 1% to 1 1/2% complaint rate and hires only those who pass drug and national criminal record checks. He's very careful about hiring. Bruno claims that one of the trades taught in prisons is air conditioning and says although ex-cons deserve a second chance, he doesn't hire them. He does like to hire people who are "customer oriented" from restaurants and hotels and train them at his "Bruno University." No air conditioning experience necessary.
His website claims his air conditioning "technicians are all NATE Certified" but a check online at the website North American Technician Excellence, a certifying organization in Arlington, VA, did not show Bruno Air Conditioning in Fort Myers listed, although six other local air conditioning companies were listed. Nonetheless, Bruno's website displays the NATE logo along with the BBB logo.
He says his company buys between $10 and $15 million in parts and supplies each year and trains his employees at "Bruno University."
Bruno promises a one and a half hour visit with a chemical wash of the outside condenser unit which he says will save $200 in electric bills every year. The technician will be checking electrical components, (usually the electrolytic capacitor, a $35 wholesale device, which can fail), check the inside air handler unit drain line which can get clogged and spill water, check and clean the coils, check the blower fan wheel for dust and clean it with chemicals at extra cost along with disassembling the coils at extra cost, check the inside electrical connections (again an inexpensive electrolytic capacitor). You may be asked to install a surge protector, and a UV light unit to kill mold.
The technician will check the duct size, explaining if ducts are undersized your unit will not last as long as designed since it will be running twice a long. You can expect to be told there's mold growing and should be eliminated. And sold an ultraviolet light system, basically one or more UV light bulbs. The UV light bulbs need to be replaced when they burn out at several hundred dollars a pop. Experts say that the ultraviolet systems are not needed. New-Press story on UV light complaint and Bruno.
Bruno is a partner in a biocide company, Biocide USA that will take care of the "mold." Cleaning of coils and blower fans seems to be a large part of Bruno's service profits.
Bruno says he started out at 17 as a helper at a small air conditioning company and now runs one of the fastest growing air conditioner companies in Florida.
Operating as Bruno Air Conditioning of SWFL, a fictitious name for Louis Bruno LLC, on Crooked Creek Lane, in a very large 3-bedroom home in Gateway, Louis Bruno started the Fort Myers business as a 23-year old in September 2012. It appears that he has since moved from that location even though no other address appears for the company on theSecretary of State records.
He bought the assets of Air Genie, owned by Gene Slade, a Bonita Beach company with negative consumer reports and a "D-" rating from the BBB . Some customers complained of over aggressive sales tactics and overcharges for service. Slade now operates Air Ninja LLC. Bruno appears to be following some of the same business practices. See Ripoff Report from former employee of Air Genie.
Louis Bruno LLC now owns the Air Genie company at 4395 Corporate Square, Naples.
The Lipman Connection - Tomatoes And Air Conditioning
The Florida Secretary of State shows Louis Bruno IV a partner with Larry and Arby Lipman in Biocide USA LLC in Cape Coral. The Lipmans also partner with Bruno in ALLLLB Holdings LLC and LJ Stolli LLC at the same South Cargo Court office.
Larry Lipman is the retired CEO and son of the founder of Lipman Produce, Immokalee, the nation's largest producer of tomatoes for the fresh market. Lipman, 68, reportedly bought a 20 percent stake in Bruno's company and one of the investors in the building that houses the Bruno offices. Larry's son, Arby Lipman 27, is one Bruno's friends.
Alden A. Rumfelt, Attorney At Law
202 E. Ventura Avenue
Clewiston, Fl. 33440
Kiwanis Club Of LaBelle The Kiwanis Club of LaBelle is proud to sponsor three Service Leadership Programs
Website for Kiwanis: www.labellekiwanis.com
KEY Club LaBelle High School- Sponsor, Tracy Nobles
Builder's Club West Glades School - Sponsor, Doreen Backes
AKTION Club LaBelle - Sponsor, Martha Stephens
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661 South Bridge Street, LaBelle, Fl. 33935
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Phone: (863) 675-6777
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Once upon time in a fit of rage, resentment, and outright, malicious, malfeasance, "Cain", while he was still, "Able", piloted a research program leading to the creation and observance of what we call "Father's Day", to this day. In more recent times, my "sons" used to scurry home to watch the modern day version, called "ALL MY CHILDREN!!"
Maybe that's not the way you remember it, but give me the benefit of the doubt, as I, as always seem to be the GUY, in a room of BLACK tuxedos, wearing the "BROWN" shoes.
That goes for my use of the word "PARENTOLOGY" as a categorical attempt to shine a light on what's happened in the past few years to the role and, even the "need" for a FATHER. Maybe it's my astigmatism that makes it difficult for me to fathom the elimination of the "family" as an institution of worth and merit. It's like an alphabet soup of "mores", with choices of "same" sex marriage, single mother families, and a "transsexual" extravaganza of multitudinous dimensions and circumstances.
I entered the "Father" characterization in 1952, as a 24 year old, "nookie" rookie, and graduated in 1961, as a full "fledged" Father of five fantastic sons, who made us very proud. Blessing us with 10 grandchildren and, to date, 6 great grandchildren, including our first set of twins.
My motive in writing this article today, is to set the stage for my article on the 19th which will be the official Fathers day and coincidentally, not by request, the FIRST anniversary of the death of our Matriarch of 65 years, Mrs. Betty Neville. Until, we meet again, on Fathers day, congratulations TO any and all of those who are still resisting the "attacks" on the "SANCTITY" of "ONE" man and "ONE" woman MARRIAGE, and the "FAMILY" way of LIFE!
Test Your Business Knowledge
Take this quick test:
1. What Auto Dealer In Cape Coral sells 1000 cars a month?
2. What carpet cleaner has a $99 offer?
3. What online news site has more readers than any other Hendry or Glades newspaper and much, much lower ad costs?
If you know the answers to the quiz you need to place an advertisement here on the Sunday Morning News for one low price. The reason you know two of the answers is because of advertising. Advertising that's constantly before your eyes.
Get your brand name recognized, just like Fuccillo Kia and Stanley Steemer by advertising regularly, and get your message seen by more readers than any Hendry or Glades county, and save 50% or more compared to their advertising rates.
Mention you saw this and for only $97 your ad will run every day here for up to 6 months. Call (863) 800-0010 or email for best rates too on Southwest Florida Online as low as $25 per full-color insertion of any size ad that fits the page!
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LABELLE, FL. -- For those who would like to listen to the Sunday Morning News stories instead of reading, you can subscribe to all the news stories in audio format using one of many podcasts services and web news readers.
You may go directly to the iTunes store to listen or subscribe to the audio podcasts: News Audio on iTunes
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Choose one of the links below to try out the Sunday Morning News audio podcasts and see how it works. Now you can listen to the news for those times when it's not convenient to read the stories.
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The Way Back Machine - News Archives
Look Back To 1999 Editions Of The Sunday Morning News
LABELLE, FL. -- Looking for a Sunday Morning News internet page from a decage ago? You can find many archived web pages from the past at the "Way Back Machine", a feature of Archive.org, keeping for posterity webpages from the past.
The Sunday Morning News is archived as far back at February 1999, and includes over 100 weekly editions of the Hendry and Glades area news pages. Most of the important editions of the Sunday Morning News/Southwest Florida Online pages can be found at the archive.
The "Way Back Machine" can search for any web address, just type it in and see what the web page looked like in the past.
http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://members.aol.com/kq4ym/news.html - Sunday Morning News "Way Back" Archive from 1999
Over Three Million Views To LaBelle's Live Video Webcast
Click Here To Visit The LaBelle Videocast's Archived Video
Millions visiting LaBelle, Florida via Live internet video broadcast
LABELLE, FL. -- Don Browne has been publicizing LaBelle and Hendry-Glades county for over 14 years though his Southwest Florida Online web pages featuring news and information about the Hendry-Glades-Lake Okeechobee region.
Browne's web camera page has added a new twist to social networking while promoting the Hendry county area. In mid-November 2007 through 2010 the live video cast began to spread the word around the world about Southwest Florida, and the LaBelle/Hendry/Glades county area. In February 2009 a 3-D video camera was added.
A "featured producer" on Justin.TV, Don broadcast primarily on the weekends and his broadcast page had 10,000 to 20,000 viewers pass through each hour that he was broadcasting live. In October 2010, over 1,000,000 new viewers visited LaBelle online. Now, there have been over 3,000,000 views to the LaBelle, Florida channel.
LaBelle's "lifecasting" video page attracted viewers from all around the world, even a surprise visit from a French man who was climbing Mournt Everest, the world's highest mountain. A map on the webcast's page showed from where the visitors were coming.
Watch any of hundreds of Don's previous shows from the last several years, available from the clips section on the video channel at http://justin.tv/kq4ym/all
Today, newer technology has arrived for live webcam broadcasting including Google's "Hangouts On The Air" which incorporates live YouTube broadcasting. Don has been making live webcast in recent months with up to 10 simultaneous webcasters broadcasting live on his YouTube channel. One of the recent 4 hour long YouTube Live broadcasts with 10 people.
Stories written about LaBelle's live webcast:
USA Today - Article On Live Video Broadcasting mentioning Don Browne
Indianapolis (In.) Star - Article About Don Browne And Live Video
Contest (Clue - Near Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis)
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10 Port LaBelle Quarter-Acre Residential Lots - In sections 1 through 12, excellent location in west Hendry County in largest subdivision in county. Sell or trade. Call (863) 800-0010.
Port LaBelle Banyan Village - Two nice very private lots: Olympia Cir. Unit 12, and Morning Lane Unit 10. Port LaBelle Water lines installed. Newest of Port LaBelle neighborhoods, rural setting, beautiful pine tree lined street setting eight miles east of LaBelle and south of State Road 80. Be the first to build in this great area. Email
Port LaBelle - 9045 W. Justice Cir. one mile south of Labelle middle school, buildable quarter-acre with utilities in quiet private section south of Cowboy Way. Email
Clewiston Harlem - -vacant lot zoned single family , build your home here or buy for investment! Buy your investment lots now while prices are low! Click here for map: 1130 Virginia Ave. Email
For Sale 1.29 Acre on State Road 80 east of Pioneer between LaBelle and Clewiston. Last of Joe B. Hendry's personal land holdings who held this lot since 1949. Lot is located just north of SR80 across from Everhigh Acres Rd on the Hilliard Canal. SR80 will be four-laned here in the next few years. Zoned Agricultural (A-2) Email.
See Hendry County Real Estate page for additional real estate details and photos
Real Estate Services
Get a current photo of your Hendry county lot or real estate emailed to you within 48 hours. Low cost photo service for property owners. From $39. Email for info.
Advertise your property or real estate for sale or rent! From $20 monthly for 20 words on our classified ad page. See Classified Ads For information: email
Internet access for LaBelle and Clewiston by StratoNet. StratoNet, serving Florida since 1992 offers the LaBelle and Clewiston communities a local internet access number. StratoNet has been in the internet business since 1992, and is one of the oldest internet service providers in the state, and now offers LaBelle and Clewiston area internet users a local phone number to access the internet. Rates include unlimited access to a local phone number to access the internet from the LaBelle area. StratoNet has unlimited free technical support for customers and free personal web page space. Call 888-382-8503 or go to for details.
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