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Thousands of dollars paid a year ago, porch work never started

ST. JOSPEH COUNTY, Mich. -- Darlene and Brian Holtz entrusted a man to build a porch for Darlene's 83-year-old mother in November 2017. However, their $3,700 cash deposit paid to Joseph Mashburn still hasn't gotten them anywhere.

“We were kind of in a spot that we were almost desperate," Darlene Holtz said.

The Holtz, who found J 'n A Construction on Facebook, said Mashburn only gave them excuses.

“It was too cold. It was too hot. It was too rainy. Their truck blew up. Um, they didn’t have enough help. You name it, there was every excuse," Darlene Holtz recalled.

To try and figure out what's really going on, the Problem Solvers called Joe’s former girlfriend and business assistant Laura Jibson, who agreed to chat on the phone.

“I am appalled at the fact that I was with somebody who can’t even run their own business or perform business," Jibson said.

When asked where the money is, she said, "I had the money put up, and it was in an envelope in our room. And I’m assuming that it’s gone now.”

“It’s very frustrating," Brian Holtz said. "You can get more response talking to a wall.”

The Problem Solvers stopped by Mashburn's home in Bloomingdale. While waiting, another man appeared in the yard. Then Mashburn came to the door. Before slamming the door, he said, "You may leave my property now."

As we reached the road, the unlicensed contractor yelled at us again. He didn't even want us talking to his buddy.

"Leave my property now!” he shouted from a window.

Needless to say, Mashburn wouldn't listen to our questions. But Holtz said his response should be simple: “We just want it made right. We want our money. I don’t trust them to put the deck on. I’ve seen so many people step forward and say they did horrible, terrible work. I just want our money back, and I want to warn other people. I don’t want anybody going through this.”

The Holtz said they plan to take action with the St. Joseph County Sheriff's Department.

A few tips: don't pay cash, always check to make sure through the state's website that a contractor is licensed, and ask for proof of insurance. These things aren't foolproof, but you'll have a little more protection should something go wrong.

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  • C

    The second sentence mentions that the deposit “hasn’t gotten them nowhere”. Did Darren skip English class the day they talked about double negatives?

    • Darren Cunningham

      No, Barbara. I had perfect attendance. I was rewriting the sentence and overlooked changing the ‘other negative’ — hence, the typo.

  • Wendy Johnson

    Joe Mashuburn did the same to us Fall of 2016. We purchased all the material and paid Mr. Mashburn several thousands in which he started the work and never finished. Every time he came to the house he requested more money. When he was supposed to start the remodeling, five workers showed and no Mr. Mashburn for the first couple of days. They had no idea what to do. Joe didn’t even pay them after he received money from us, so needless to say, all his crew quit. We sit here today with an unfinished home. We have crown molding that needs to be put up and flooring that also needs finished. He dodged our attorney letters and phone calls. I feel he took advantage of us, I was recovering from a stroke and my husband was out-of-state taking care of his terminally ill brother that had lung cancer. We our unable to get our house finished as we are disabled and have no funds to pay someone else. Everyone needs to know about this contractor or he will continue taking advantage of good people.

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