HEISKELL (WATE) – Yet another family is angry and disappointed by work left undone by an East Tennessee handyman business, but this couple is fighting back by taking legal action.
Work on Amy and Michael Sturgill’s garage in Anderson County started in mid-May, but ended suddenly just a few weeks later.
“They said their projected completion date would be before July 4,” said Michael Sturgill.
The couple’s two-story, three-car garage was wrapped recently to protect the wood from the elements. Work to build a concrete pad never got underway before the contractors quit, leaving behind a heap of nails and a pile of scrap wood.
“They never showed back up, so then we started calling, emailing and texting and got zero response,” Michael Sturgill said.
The couple hired EPM Handyman Services. The contractors are Warren Presley and his brother Jonathan. The $44,500 deal was signed by Jonathan Presley, who required a lot of money quickly. The Sturgills first paid $10,875, then a second payment of $11,500, then a third of $15,000 to buy garage doors, siding and roof singles. The Sturgills trusted the Presleys, which is why they paid 85 percent up front.
The Sturgills are not the first customers of Warren and Jonathan Presley who have complained to WATE 6 On Your Side. A number of others have showed their incomplete work.
One woman who said she worked as a painter for the Presleys said they have a history of starting jobs, then suddenly walking off the site. However, they leave customers believing they’ll be back. She said the Presleys believe they’re immune from prosecution.
“They can leave those supplies on the premises indefinitely and not complete the job and charge the person the majority of the contract. They actually admitted this to me,” said former employee Mikael Moses.
The Sturgills have found out criminal prosecution is a possibility.
“We’re going to do everything we can, press criminal charges,” said Amy Sturgill.
In 2010, the Tennessee General Assembly signed a new law designed to protect unsuspecting homeowners from contractors who leave work incomplete. Criminal theft charged can be filed if a job is started then stops without explanation. Once a “demand letter” is sent and if work is not resumed, the contractor could end up before a judge.
A Knoxville UPS store is listed as the business address for EPM Handyman Services. State records show the Presley brothers have no contractor’s license. The brothers have never responded to WATE 6 On Your Side’s requests for comment.
Another customer, Peggy Ogle, has already talked to the Knox County District Attorney about filing theft charges. The Sturgills question whether they’ll every get their money back from the Presleys. They worry about potential customers who may hire the brothers.
“Don’t [hire them]. Run,” said Amy Sturgill.
Unfortunately, it may take another $20,000 to finish their garage.