A fire in June 2016 destroyed a Kingsville couple's home. They told the Troubleshooters about their experience with one of the contractors they hired to rebuild it, and why the couple believes the contractor owes them a lot of money.
Gabriel and Janie Perez's home on Shelton in Kingsville is very nice. On June 27, 2016 it was nearly completely destroyed by fire.
In July 2016, they hired Lone Star TRS LLC to repair it. "These people supposedly are big contractors," Perez told us. According to Mrs. Perez, Lone Star agreed to do the job for nothing down and wait for the insurance money.
So she admits she gave them complete control of the deal. "That they can handle the whole thing. Insurance deals with the bank and everything." Lone Star agreed to make the repairs for approximately $140,000 to $150,000.
On August 22nd Perez paid them $40,000 from an insurance payment. But she remembers thinking, where's all this money going? "I kept seeing them buying new tools," she recalled.
On August 26, 2016 Perez gave Lone Star a $5,000 personal loan. She claims Eric Gutierrez with Lone Star told her they needed it to meet their payroll. But that they'd pay her back by September 1st. Wait a minute Perez says she thought.
"My gut feeling kept telling me these people are crooked." So on September 6, 2016, Perez sent Martin Ortiz, president of Lone Star, this letter basically firing Lone Star.
And further, both sides agree to release each other from the contract. "In my eyes, these people were not working as a well organized...or company that's been doing this for years," she told us.
The Perez's hired a second contractor to get their place looking like they wanted it to. But they'd still like Lone Star to reimburse them the $40,000 they paid them for work they claim wasn't done.
The Troubleshooters spoke with Martin Ortiz by phone. He's surprised Perez called us. He admits he started the job fully aware he'd have to wait for the insurance money.
But three months? And then just a few days after getting paid $40,000, Mrs. Perez told him his services are no longer needed. He also reminds us that he and the Perez's signed a letter releasing each other from any claims or terms or anything related to the contract.
In fact he says he could sue Mrs. Perez for breach of contract.
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