Contact 9: Church leery of man moving chapel - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Contact 9: Church leery of man moving chapel

Pontchatoula, la (WAFB) -

The director at Rosaryville Spirit Life Center, in Pontchatoula, says they paid a man $17,000 to move an old church chapel to their retreat center. They put up the partial payment for the job in the fall of 2013, but none of the work has been done. It's not the first time Contact ( has heard about the person paid to do the work.

The life center serves as a retreat for those who want spiritual growth and deeper spiritual relationships. There are reminders of the holy ground all around the property and the sisters who are associated with the center just wanted a few more things moved there. A chapel, built of old cypress in the 1800's and a fellowship hall that currently sits beside it.

The director of the center says they hired Darral Dukes to move both buildings. They say Dukes quoted them $30,000 to do the job. The director says they paid part of that up front and were promised the work would be done by Thanksgiving, then Christmas. To this day, they say nothing has been done.

A woman by the name of Anny Mouton says she soon heard from the director.

"They were looking to make sure that he had insurance," Mouton said.

Mouton works for State Insurance Services. She says Dukes does have a policy, but it is only to move mobile homes. When she heard that the church had already paid $17,000 to Dukes she became concerned. She says a search of the Internet turned up a Contact 9 story from April 2013.

In that story, a woman named Sinda Craige said she had hired Dukes in 2009 to move her home six miles. Craige paid $11,000 for the work, but the job was never finished. Her house is still on top of his flatbed. She successfully sued Dukes and a judge awarded her $25,000. She says Dukes has never paid the money and stopped answering her phone calls.

Tuesday, we spoke with Dukes by phone. He told us he ran into problems with Craige's house but said he would get the job done this weekend. That's because he needs the flatbed her house is on to move the chapel to the Rosaryville Spirit Life Center.

We questioned him about that move. He claims the hold up is not his fault, the church needed to cut down trees around the chapel they want moved. He soon cut our interview short.

"Let's do this," Dukes said. "Uh, I don't want to talk no more. Let me just get this done. I'll talk to you Monday after I complete all this."

The church says they'll give him until January 31, 2014 to move the chapel. Otherwise, the director says, they will seek legal action.

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