WATSON, LA (WAFB) - A Waston man is fired up after he said a contractor allegedly defrauded him out of more than $20,000 and then slapped his family with a lawsuit after they fired him.
Exposed wires, a makeshift kitchen sink and jobs left incomplete is part of a frustrating reality for Mark Tibbetts and his family after he said they were taken advantage of by Mike Simmers, owner of TWG contractors.
"TWG knew full well what we were going through and took complete advantage of us to extremely get as much money out of us as they could," Tibbetts said.
Tibbetts first hired the contractor in October after his family had already gutted the home and done most of the work to get it ready for construction. He said they were promised the job would be done for $82,000. After putting down an initial $25,000 deposit to sign the contract, he said they were never given a breakdown of the total costs.
"We never received it. What we did receive down the road, though, was a bill for $40,000, then a bill for $58,000," Tibbetts added.
About three weeks into the job, Tibbetts said they were asked to sign a new contract with new charges in order for the work to continue. After questioning the inflated prices and refusing to sign, he said the contractor slapped them with a lawsuit.
"Now, I'm getting sued for $96,000 for breach of contract because we let them go because they kept giving us all these fraudulent bills," Tibbetts explained.
It is a fight, though, the Tibbettses are not taking lightly. They have since hired a new contractor and filed a police report with the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.
While they are finally on the right track, Tibbetts hopes other families will really do their homework before letting someone into their home.
"If you just jump into stuff because you're trying to get everything back to normal and get all your kids back straight, that's when folks will take advantage of you," Tibbetts said.
9News reached out to the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office about the claims. A spokeswoman for the office said deputies have not made an arrest, but are investigating the alleged fraud.