Grainger County couple says they’re owed thousands for trees removed from property

WASHBURN, Tenn. (WATE) – A Grainger County couple says they’re owed thousands of dollars for trees that were logged on their mountainside property. The work began two years ago, but they didn’t take action until seeing WATE 6 On Your Side’s story last week about a couple in Jefferson County with a similar problem with the same company.

East Tennessee Firewood and Logging has an advertisement that says it will buy standing timber. A couple in New Market claimed they never signed a contract with the company, yet dozens of trees were taken from their property. Another couple who saw that story called WATE 6 On Your Side soon after it aired.

Dale Schreieck and her husband Ray Dillman own a 40 acre farm in Washburn, thick with a variety of old trees and vegetation. Nearly two and a half years ago they had a logger harvest some of their trees, but soon after he began, problems developed. Logs were left laying on the property and debris was never removed though it should have been. The couple is also owed money.

Previous story: Ancient trees clear cut at Jefferson County couple’s home, they say without permission

Dillman said he and his wife saw this ad in the paper saying, “Want to buy standing timber.” The business is East Tennessee Firewood and Logging, operated by LC Barnard from Mooresburg. Schreieck said she had Barnard harvest trees to help pay for some home repairs she had planned.

“He said, ‘By law I have to come back when I’m done, reseed your property, clean up everything,'” said Schreieck.

The couple says there’s been no reseeding and very little cleanup.

“Then everyday it was a sad story. Oh, this or oh that. Then it came to the point where he said, ‘I got to leave for two weeks,'” said Dillman. “The agreement with him was half, split it. That’s the way we was doing it. He takes half, we take half.”

Schreieck said Barnard started work on Feb. 5, 2015. She checked off the trees harvested during February and March and produced receipts of where Barnard took the trees to Clinch Richer Hardwoods, who bought them. Her calendar shows the logging ended in April 2015. However, Schreieck said Barnard still owed her for loads of trees taken from her farm. She got him to sign an I.O.U.

“I’ve left him messages. I hope you are enjoying whatever you are doing with my money,” she said.

Patrick Somma in New Market also had problems with Barnard. Somma says Barnard clear cut dozens of expensive trees last month, but had no written contract to cut them. Barnard told WATE 6 On Your Side he did have permission to cut trees for Somma and plans on paying the Sommas for the trees, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Somma’s story resonated with Schreieck and Dillman when they saw it last week.

“The other night when I saw you on TV, it was like a Godsend saying, well he’s done somebody else,” said Schreieck.

Court documents show Barnard will be arraigned in Jefferson County Sessions Court for theft in Somma’s case. Schreieck and her husband have talked with Somma and shared their feelings with East Tennessee Firewood and Logging. Based on her bookkeeping, she hopes to have her day in court with Barnard as well.

“I’d like to see him never do it to anybody else and I’d like to have some money,” she said.

Barnard has not yet responded to a request for comment on Schreieck and Dillman’s case. He was charged with theft a decade ago in Bean Station. He also has a record of writing bad checks, according to police reports.

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