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Homeowner says contractor failed to complete job

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Rebecca Perry's home Rebecca Perry's home
HOPKINS, SC (WIS) -

Rebecca Perry just wanted to treat a termite problem and modernize her home. One year later, there's been little to no progress and she and her daughter are out more than $40,000.

"I don't really like to talk about it now because I cry all the time," said the 81-year-old Perry. 

She just wants to go home.  Perry lives with her daughter, Mary, while the renovations on her home next door are at a standstill.

Perry described the progress on her home as "slow."

Last February, Perry and her daughter signed a contract with Michael Holt of Holt Contracting based out of Charleston. They wanted the termite damage fixed, along with the foundation, new drywall, and a long list of other repairs.

The job was supposed to take between eight and ten weeks and cost about $48,000.  It's been 52 weeks and the Perrys say they have not seen Holt or his workers in months.

"I know what construction looks like when it's being done," said Mary Perry. "It's going to be a mess. But over there it looks like we had someone out of high school working in shop."

Cracks in the drywall, sloping floors, half finished electrical work. The home is far from livable.

But Perry already paid more than half the price up front -- close to $41,000.

"When I saw the 80% on the contract I was like, 'Wow that's really high,'" said Mary Perry. "But I'm thinking, 'Well, this is for my mom. So what he may do is get all the material that he needs and we'll get the process done faster.'"

According to the state Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Michael Holt's builder's licenses expired in 2008. When Holt stopped showing up, Mary called and e-mailed, often with no response.  When he did answer, she said all he offered were excuses.

"'I'm working on projects in other places,'" said Mary. "'I'm going to get to your house. It takes time.'"

WIS has called, written a letter and sent text messages to Holt.  We did get a call back. He left a voicemail.

"One of the facts of the matter," said the voice mail, "The Perrys allowed the materials and a bulk of our equipment to be stolen from the house. And we were not welcomed back on the property."

Mary has filed a lawsuit.  In court documents, Holt made the same claims. Mary said none of it is true.

"You have people out there trying to prey on vulnerable people when they're just trying to better themselves," said Mary.

Mary said she wants her money but more than that, she just wants her mother back in her home.

"I'm used to having my own," said Rebecca. "I want to be in my own house. That's all. I just want to go home."

There's no timetable for when or if the home will ever be finished.

Mary Perry said a friend referred the contractor to her. She now knows she has to research thoroughly, even when it's a word of mouth recommendation.

If you find yourself in a similar situation your options are filing a police report, having LLR investigate or filing a lawsuit.

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