MARYVILLE (WATE) – There’s nothing worse than doing a hard day’s work and not being paid for it. Despite several promises, some roofers in Blount County have been waiting weeks for their checks.
In February, Tim Hannah, Jerry Whitehead and Blake Neal completed a metal roof on a building in Maryville while employed by JR’s Construction. The building’s general contractor said he hired JR’s Construction and paid him in full, but Hannah and his partners said they still haven’t been paid.
Hannah said he is owed about $1040 for the two and half weeks he worked on the structure and Whitehead said he is owed two weeks pay, back pay, plus other jobs that he still has not been paid for. Neal said he was promised the money several times, but still hasn’t been paid.
“I’ll text them every day and they’ll tell me they’re going to pay me. They never do,” said Neal. He says he is owed about $1,100.
The man who operates JR’s construction is Dwayne Meece. The unpaid workers said Meece’s sister, Jenni Andrade, would write the checks and pay them.
WATE 6 On Your Side spoke with Andrade and Meece separately. Both said the men had been paid in full and aren’t owed a dime. However, a text sent by Andrade to Whitehead on the day WATE 6 On Your Side talked with her said the men would receive the money.
Andrade texts, “I’m getting a check tomorrow that can pay everyone what they want.” However, Neal says the money never showed up.
“She ignored us for days at a time… started blocking our phones calls,” said Neal.
According to court records, Meece was found guilty of delivering crack cocaine in a drug-free zone in 2014. He served 365 days at the Blount County Jail. In 2015, he was sentenced to two years probation for child neglect.
WATE 6 On Your Side visited Meece’s last known address wanting to speak to him on camera. No one was home.
Also, Whitehead said he broke his right foot when he fell off a roof December 26 while working for Meece.
“The wind picked up and spun me around. I went down. Blake drove me to the hospital. Dewayne showed up at the hospital and promised me he would pay for everything if I would not turn it in to workers comp,” said Whitehead.
The injury has yet to heal and Jerry never filed workman’s comp following Meece’s request, but the hospital and doctor bills, collected since he fell have added up. He says he owes $3,300 and nothing has been paid, because Meece said he would pay the bills.
When WATE 6 On Your Side talked with Meece on the phone. He claims Whitehead was not hurt while on the job. The men said Meece has employed a new crew working on jobs in the area.
“I just don’t think that they’re a reputable company. I think they’re trying to pull the wool over everybody’s eyes. You shouldn’t do business with people like this,” said Whitehead.
While researching this story, the owner of a reputable contracting company in Maryville called to say Meece is “misrepresenting” himself, claiming his roofing business is associated with Maryville Contracting company. The company owner said he is not.
Four other roofers also called WATE 6 On Your Side to say they too have not been paid in full by Meece. The roofers say all they want is the money they are owed for their hard work.