Troubleshooters: Elderly woman pays local repair business $83,000 for work her neighbors say she doesn't need

Posted at 7:14 PM, Nov 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-22 20:14:14-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A woman says she's lived in her home in Portland nearly 60 years.

Never needed any kind of major repairs done. But just since October, she has signed a contract, and written checks totaling more than $83,000.00 to a company that said they've been in business more than 40 years, for foundation repairs and other work.

The company claims the woman told them to make the repairs. But some of her friends aren't buying that, and they've asked the Troubleshooters to check it out.

"He found some places on the roof that needed fixing. And then he'd find something else.
And each time he'd come back, he'd need some more money. So stupid me, gave it to him," Helen Penn said.

And that's how the 94-year-old Helen Penn's story begins.

She said she lived in this house with her husband nearly 60 years before his passing a few years ago.

She remembers it was August this summer, when a man knocked on her door and began pointing out repairs he noticed that she needed at her home.

The owner of ABC Foundation Repair, Glen Alexander, told the Troubleshooters by phone, that he fired the employee who knocked on Mrs. Penn's door during the summer. A permit is required to do any soliciting in Portland.

He further pointed out that he's been in business over 40 years, and has an A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau.

His side of this story is that Mrs. Penn called his office 3-4 weeks ago, giving them the "go-ahead" for the repairs.

And since then, according to her records, she's paid ABC more than $83,000.00.
"It didn't dawn on me that I was being taken to the cleaners," she said. "Is that how you feel?" we asked. "Yeah. They took me to the cleaners. I think they did," Penn told us.

"What's up, guys? I'm Andy Liscano with Ch. 10."

Two workers happened to be outside, at the house, while we were there.
It does appears some of the old cast iron pipes underground, need to be replaced.

But remember, Penn told us she's never had any foundation issues.

Records show that on Oct. 18, ABC Foundation Repair pulled permits from the city of Portland for 22 press piers to be installed on the garage and back right side of the house.

And on Nov. 15, Haynes Electric pulled permits to replace a panel and sub panel at the house.
"What do I know about these things?" Penn wondered. "I don't know nothing about them."

Alexander insists no work has been done at the house without Penn's permission and approval, and that the job should be done in 3-4 weeks.

The people who contacted us about this story believe Helen Penn is being taken advantage of by ABC Foundation Repair.

They don't feel the repairs were necessary. They're looking out for her.
And the city of Portland Code Enforcement is now looking into this case.