CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Pat and Michele Smith moved into their house in Taft as newlyweds.
Michele calls it their forever home.
4 other people live with them, so they were pretty cramped.
That's why they paid a lot of money to have it remodeled, and an addition built on to it.
More room for everybody.
The work began in October 2018.
"This is not just a house. It's not a pile of wood and screws. This was actually our home, whether it was glamorous or not," they told the Troubleshooters.
We saw the house for the first time last week, when we met Michele there.
She told us she, her husband, and the 4 other people who live here, haven't been able to live here since Halloween 2018 because they can't.
Because they can't, because they've been displaced, Smith estimates they've paid more than $10,000 renting 3 different places.
And that's because, she told us, Jennifer White and Island Partners Remodeling of Port Aransas, the contractor she hired in October 2018, has missed promised deadlines.
In fact, Smith says they just walked off the job in January 2019, over money.
"You have paid her a total of...$98,000.00. $98,000.00."
There are wasp nests throughout the house now, but the real stinger here is that Smith told us Jennifer White came to her in December, asking for $4000.00 to make payroll, or her crew would walk off the job.
Smith says she paid it.
But the crew still walked off the job in January.
Smith says she hired Island Partners because they had done good work for people she knew.
And, they are veteran owned.
Her dad's a veteran.
"Her sign. Veteran owned and operated. That gave me so much pride to have it in my yard. I'm helping a veteran. Somebody that served our great nation. They're honorable people, and she made this such a dishonorable situation. How do you do that ?"
She further says Island Partners told her they'd have to build 'up' in order to give the family the room they needed and wanted.
Smith showed us some invoices she says White sent her.
None of them total $98,000.00.
in fact they each have different amounts.
Smith claims she's asked White for receipts, but White hasn't provided any.
In a text message exchange between the 2 women in June, Smith read what White wrote.
"If you have anything further to demand, while I'm actually owed over $12,000.00, speak to my attorney. I was being nice and was going to take a complete cut to help y'all finish the house because I thought y'all were nice people."
Smith emphasized that she and her family just want Island Partners to come back and finish the job the way it's supposed to be done.
We made multiple attempts to contact Jennifer White of Island Partners Remodeling.
We left her a message before noon today.
We also left a message with her attorney.
We went to her home last week.
There was a truck with an Island Partners sign on it, in the driveway.
We knocked on the door. No one answered.
As we were leaving, a young man, who identified himself as White's stepson came out.
I gave him my card.
Explained why we were there.
And asked him to tell his mom to call us.
She has not.
By the way, the company is 'A' rated by the Better Business Bureau.