BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A war veteran is in the middle of a fight he said he never prepared for. It involves a roofing contractor who allegedly walked off the job with thousands of dollars.
Noveritte DeLavallade can't seem to catch the Christmas spirit this year.
"If I can just get my house in livable condition where I don't have to sit in here and frown," DeLavallade said.
DeLavallade has a nasty problem hanging right over his head.
"When it rains, water comes from out the fan, down the blades, and I have got to put two or three pots out to catch the water," DeLavallade said.
Nearly every room he walks into is a painful reminder of an unfinished roofing job that has left his house in shambles.
"All the insulation is gone and all the ceiling tile. The water seeped down and went to my laminated floors and I had to pull up a section of that and I just put those floors down three months ago," DeLavallade said.
DeLavallade said he hired Tyrone Dewey of Off Top General Contractors in September to install a new roof. His insurance company covered the total cost of $16,413.
According to the signed agreement between the homeowner and Dewey, the contractor, that amount would cover materials and labor. DeLavallade's insurance company cut him a check for $7,400 dollars on August 10.
According to the contract, the remaining amount for the work would be due when the work was complete. He said a month later, the problems started when Dewey told him he needed more money for materials.
"I wanted my roof fixed. So I ate the $1,100," DeLavallade said.
DeLavallade said he figured Dewey would refund the money when his insurance company cut him another check for the rest of the work, but he said that never happened.
"When they sent a second check for $8,500, I signed it and cashed it, gave him the money, and he gave me the receipt," DeLavallade said. "I thought he was going to get the materials then he came back and said he wanted more money. I said, 'What money?' He said, 'Well you've got a big house.' I said, 'You signed the contract with the insurance company' and he said 'I'm not going to do it (the work).'"
DeLavallade said Dewey never returned to finish the work. The front of the house is finished, but the backside is covered by tarp. It has done little to protect his home.
"This is what my roof looks like under the tarp. This is all tar paper that has buckled and there's no shingles at all on it," DeLavallade pointed out.
He has complained to the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) and the Louisiana Attorney General's Office, and has even filed suit against Dewey in small claims court. DeLavallade said he has talked to Dewey since then, but the contractor does not seem to take the situation seriously.
"He told me it's going to be tied up in court, the money is going to be spent, and we both will be dead before this settles," DeLavallade said.
However, the Vietnam War veteran said his fight is far from over.
"I asked him, I said, 'if I went and fought for my country what makes you think I won't fight for myself,'" DeLavallade said.
Carl Bourque, an investigator with the LSLBC, said Tyrone Dewey is not a licensed contractor. He added that Dewey was never licensed according to their records.
Bourque said Dewey has been summoned to appear before the board. If he does not show up, he could be fined 25 percent of the contract amount plus court fees.
Dewey disputes the claims and said he was never paid for the work.