Tree trimming company owner makes amends with Blount County widow

LOUISVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The operator of a tree service business has come to the aid of a widow from Louisville. He returned to her home, cut more trees and cleaned up her yard – work scheduled to have been completed last fall.

Dawn Isenberg’s husband used to trim and prune the trees in their big yard, but he died last year. Isenberg hired a tree service to cut some of them down in September. One of the workers returned to do more work in November and December, but never finished it. The last time he showed up, Isenberg paid thousands of dollars for a job that was never started.

The owner of the company returned a few days ago. At long last, her big oak tree is now just a stump.

Previous story: Blount County woman loses thousands to tree trimmer

Isenberg waited more than half a year for the tree surgeon to cut it to the ground. She had paid $4,400 in the fall to have the tree cut and debris from the tree removed from her yard. Yet months later, it still littered her property in Louisville.

She had hired Elite Tree Service of Blount County in September. Isenberg said the contract from the company’s owner Stacy Ridge outlined tree limbs to be cut and debris hauled away. She said David Marlow did most of the job. Isenberg had worked with him before successfully, and although several trees in her yard were trimmed by Marlow, the work was never completely finished.

She said Marlow returned and received another $2,500 to cut down the big tree, but it was only trimmed. Isenberg wrote Marlow another check for $4,500 to level and then lay gravel on the driveway. She then changed her mind and cancelled the job, but never got that money back.

Ridge told WATE 6 On Your Side he fired Marlow at least six months ago. As he listened to Isenberg’s situation, he promised to make things right, and he did. He cut the big oak to the ground, trimmed other trees and more.

“In addition to getting all the brush up that was piled, he went ahead and took the pieces that were left of the tree and piled them up very neatly in the woodshed,” said Isenberg.

Isenberg was still out $4,500 paid to Marlow months ago for gravel on the driveway. When she changed her mind about that job she called Marlow, who told her she wasn’t getting the money back.

“He just said that he would see me in court when I told him I wanted my money back for the driveway. He claimed that he had already bought the gravel back in January,” she said.

Marlow told WATE 6 On Your Side since Isenberg had cancelled the job and he had purchased the gravel, Marlow was keeping the money. When asked to see the gravel Marlow claimed he had purchased, within a day he called Isenberg and told WATE 6 On Your Side that he will return the $4,500.

Isenberg said she has learned to know who she’s dealing with. She says she has not yet received the money, but will hold Marlow to his promise.

Marlow maintains he has done nothing wrong, but under a new Tennessee consumer law, if a contract is signed, money is exchanged, but no work is done within 90 days, you have the right to file a felony charged against the contractor as long as you give that person written notice.

Isenberg says she was hoping to use that $4,500 to buy a grave marker for her deceased husband, so she is holding out hope she’ll get her money back.

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