A local contractor is given jail time in 78th District Court Thursday after residents said he has taken thousands of dollars from them and not completed projects, often never returning or returning calls.
“If this house doesn’t get completed, we’ll go bankrupt,” said Austin Longacre.
Longacre and his two business partners’ new adventure of flipping houses turned into a little more than they bargained for.
“We found this house on the market and went through and bought it and did a lot of things ourselves,” Longacre said. “We did all the demolition, we cut the concrete out to make way for the pipes and the plumbing.”
After their initial work, they hired Chuck Dalton, owner of Chuck’s Plumbing and Construction, to help finish the job.
Longacre said he was told the job would be completed by July 31 of 2017.
“Plumbers came in when we were still paying him, got some of this stuff started as you can see, and at the end of the last payment, that’s when all the work stopped,” Longacre said.
Longacre said they gave Dalton several more months to complete the project, but he never came through.
“We found about 10 to 12 people affected the same way, were told things multiple times and things were never followed through on and that’s when we found out he owed almost $200,000,” Longacre said.
Some of the other allegations include a woman who said she was left without running water for 8 months and a homeowner in Oklahoma whose home was hit by a tornado said she gave Dalton the insurance money, but her home was left unlivable.
“We want consumers to contact us, see what we have to say about a company before they hire anyone,” Monica Horton, Wichita Falls President of Better Business Bureau serving North Central Texas, said
Horton said reviews that past consumers leave on the BBB website can help individuals choose a trustworthy contractor.
“We encourage consumers to get three estimates from at least three different businesses. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples with all of those estimates,” Horton said.
Horton said it’s important to have everything agreed upon written in a contract, including when the project is supposed to be finished.
“We’re just hoping that the injunction will compel him to complete the house. We’ll just get it on the market as originally agreed. It’s all we want,” Longacre said.
Longacre also said they do not want what happened to them to happen to others.
Dalton told the judge he’s had several things happen in his life recently he’s been working through and that he’s trying to get caught up.
Judge Barney Fudge said Dalton could think about how to make things right by spending weekends in jail until the jobs are completed as promised.