The Investigators: Unfinished Business Part II

The Investigators: Unfinished Business Part II
Wyatts' home (Source: WAFB)
Wyatts' home (Source: WAFB)
Wyatts' home (Source: WAFB)
Wyatts' home (Source: WAFB)
(Source: Angela Bell)
(Source: Angela Bell)
(Source: Angela Bell)
(Source: Angela Bell)

LIVINGSTON PARISH, LA (WAFB) - Homeowners who trusted a local contractor to build their houses and make renovations claim he made them a dirty deal.

In May, the 9News Investigators looked into Royce Wynn, the homebuilder accused of taking people's money then not finishing the work, and uncovered several cases against him where homeowners are still trying to settle unfinished business.

The houses are stunning, built to suit each homeowner's idea of a dream home. But some of the families who live in them said they are in the fight of their lives with the builder Royce Wynn, the owner of Wynnco.

Law professor Angela Bell said she hired Wynn two years ago to build a home office, to renovate the master bathroom, and to convert a playroom into a bedroom.

"As soon as that money changed hands, the problems started," Angela Bell said.

The agreed amount for the work was $41,000. She said she cut him a check in August 2013 for $7,250 and another check for $10,500.

"He refused to give us any invoices. We repeatedly asked for invoices, we couldn't get them. Then he would not show up to do work for any long periods of time," Wynn said.

Bell said she got a notice that a lien had been placed on her home by a subcontractor who said Wynn had not paid them. Bell said after she filed a complaint with the state Attorney General's Office, the lien went away.

Still, Bell said Wynn left her house in shambles including the floors in the home office and her bathroom. She said she had to come up with $11,000 more to get someone else to finish the job.

Bell also reported Wynn to the The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) and the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office. She has a civil and criminal case against Wynn, but she said her case is crawling slowly through court.

"We've gotten no money and no justice," Bell said.

Bell is one of a handful of people waiting on a court date and a refund. 21st Judicial District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said legal claims against Wynn are widespread, including criminal charges.

"We have several pending cases with Mr. Wynn, unusually for us, in all three of the parishes in the 21st [Judicial District]. They include Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa," Perrilloux said.

Sean and Angelle Wyatt, a Denham Springs couple, said they are out $134,000 after they hired Royce Wynn to build their custom home. According to their contract agreement with Wynnco, they put down $10,000 to begin paying for permits, fees and ordering materials.

The Wyatts' bank records show they made that payment on July 14, 2013, the same day they signed the contract. Payments of $15,000; $43,000; $34,000 and $32,000 followed.

When they thought their house was ready to enter the construction phase, they learned four liens had been put on their property to the tune of roughly $57,000. They said Wynn agreed to pay off the liens, but never did.

The house was done in March 2014, the same month Wynn filed bankruptcy. The Wyatts are just one of 120 plus creditors listed on that document. They filed criminal charges with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.

LPSO arrested Wynn and charged him with felony theft, but he did not stay behind bars long.

"In the eyes of the law, he is presumed innocent. He is only charged and the system that we have, that's the way it works," Perrilloux said.

LSLBC revoked his license in August 2014, but the 9News Investigators learned that Wynn may still be involved in the home building business. Records obtained from the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office show Wynn is a registered agent with a company called Homes by Sawyer.

Perrilloux said while his district does have four pending cases against Wynn, these cases typically take anywhere from 9 to 12 months to litigate.

The 9News Investigators tried to reach Wynn by phone, but our calls were not returned.

The Wyatts have also hired an attorney in hopes of recovering some of their money, but Perrilloux said that will be up to a judge.

Wynn is scheduled to appear in court in Livingston Parish on August 13, 2015 and in Tangipahoa Parish on September 16, 2015.

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