Family claims contractor took their money after community raises funds for them to rebuild

GREENVILLE, Mich. -- A family in Montcalm County whose home was destroyed in a fire is facing even more stress after they say the contractor they paid with money raised by the community never did any repairs.

Greg Krause was on duty for the National Guard in Montague on May 17 when he got a call saying the compressor of his refrigerator burned the whole inside of his family's home.

After the community raised close to $2,000 for Krause and his family, they thought there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Krause says they met a man named Thomas Nester, who owned a double-wide mobile home they were trying to buy. However, once they found out it would be more expensive than they thought because of new city ordinances they decided not to buy it. They claim Nester then told the family he could have their home looking brand new in two weeks.  He says he wrote Nester a check for $2,500 as a down payment. The contract Nester hand-wrote said the price would not exceed $7,000.

"He never showed up," Krause said. "He said he would show up Monday to start work and two weeks later he never showed up, so we asked for the money back."

FOX 17 visited Thomas Nester to get his side of the story.  His girlfriend said he wasn't home, but said they tried to send money back to the Krauses, claiming they had the wrong address and it got sent back.

Krause says they know the right address because it's in their hand-written one one of the two contracts.

FOX 17 talked with Nester again to see if he'd be willing to give back the money. Nester claims the family told him not to come near their home, and tried to mail it, but it got returned.  He said he's working to set up a time on Wednesday afternoon to try to return it.

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