PORT ARANSAS, Texas — It’s coming up on three years since Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc in the Coastal Bend, and we’re still dealing with the fallout from that.
A Port Aransas business owner trying to rebuild after Harvey wants help finding the contractor who took her money, didn’t do the work she paid him to do and has apparently disappeared.
Linda Halioua says Jack Dempsey Murvin is the contractor she hired in October 2017 to repair what Hurricane Harvey did to her business.
She showed us a list of the repairs Halioua wanted done, and was willing to pay Murvin to do, because he had been recommended by good friends.
The contract called for the job to be done by February 2018, but it didn’t get done until April 2018.
And it was done by a different contractor Halioua had to hire.
She told the Troubleshooters the delay cost her a lot of money.
So after writing checks to Murvin totaling more than $60,000 by January 2018, but the work not getting done, Halioua had had enough.
“Well, the Italian in me, I would solve it in a different way, but I would rather do it the legal way,” she said.
On March 8, 2018, Halioua’s attorney, Arnold Govella, sent Murvin a letter letting him know he was fired.
Halioua then sued Murvin, accusing him of using false, misleading, and deceptive acts, prohibited by the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“Talked her into signing a contract when he was not authorized or approved by the city to engage in business,” Govella told us by phone.
Govella further told us, discovery in this case shows Murvin did not pull permits for this job until February, months after the work began. And, since Murvin wasn’t bonded or licensed when he and Halioua signed the contract, there is no bonding company to hold liable. Govella calls what Murvin did to Halioua as fraud.
On June 19, 2019, a judge awarded Halioua a settlement of $170,000.
But she still hasn’t collected a penny because nobody can find Murvin.
The person who answered the door at this house in Flour Bluff, told the Troubleshooters Murvin is long gone, possibly to Alabama.
If he is served paperwork notifying him of an Aug. 10 court date, and doesn’t show up, a warrant for arrest will be issued.