5 On Your Side

5 on Your Side Settles Woman's Sod Situation

Posted May 8, 2007

— When Mary James found out that the city planned to put a sidewalk through her yard, she made arrangements ahead of time to save the sod that was going to be ripped up.

A contractor with Lanier Construction in Snow Hill promised James she would receive notice before they started demolishing her grass. When that didn’t happen, she called 5 on Your Side for help.

“I asked them … ‘Will I have some notification or will you just come in here and start doing it?,’ James said, recalling the conversation. “[They said], ‘No, no, no. We'll give you five days notice.’”

But she didn't get any notice, just a call from her husband that contractors were tearing out the sod.

“I said, ‘They didn't tell us they were coming. Go out there and tell them to put the grass in the yard. Tell them not to throw it away,’” James said to her husband.

The workers agreed to set the grass to the side, according to James, but when she got home, it wasn't there.

“The other worker was like, ‘It's probably in the dump truck. We've already taken it to the city dump or it's down there in that pile where they had shoveled everybody else's grass.’ And I was not happy,’” James said.

She immediately called Lanier Construction and spoke with Vice President Henry Lanier. James said Lanier told her he would have to talk with city supervisors. Meanwhile, James got two estimates to replace the sod - both for about $500. She spent the next several months going back and forth with Lanier about her sod situation.

WRAL’s 5 on Your Side called Lanier and a representative with the city. Lanier then sent James a check for $491, only after City Engineer Saeed Ghori threatened to withhold Lanier’s next payment from the city.

“I'm glad. I can go get the grass,” James said. “I can get it put back in the bald spots in the yard.”


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  • Slip Kid May 10, 2007

    Just goes to show you, if government is involved, you'll likely be disappointed. Ms. James only mistake was to get in the middle of a government 'project'. I'm glad they got the money for the sod, but I wouldn't hold Lanier completely responsible, either. A phone call/conversation does not make a contract with a contractor - live and learn. My 2 cents, you can get change back if you want :)

  • baracus May 10, 2007

    Maybe you guys need to read it again before getting on this woman's case. The only thing she asked for initially was some warning so she could take care of it herself beforehand. When they didn't follow through with that, she merely asked that they not haul away the grass they dug up. Either request could have been satisfied with minimal effort.

  • I just care May 10, 2007

    Good for you, Stand up and fight, if someone says they are going to do something, well then do it.

  • penny for your thoughts May 10, 2007

    Guess I won't be doing business with Lanier Construction when I want a house built!

  • tmlcary May 10, 2007

    And the worst part is the city of Raleigh basically blackmailed the contractor into paying her.

  • lapj May 10, 2007

    Wow, Five on Your Side must not have any "real" problems to deal with if they took this one on.

  • Jokers Wild May 9, 2007

    uhh..ok, so the City was putting a Side walk through the yard, which the City probably had "right of way" anyway. Sounds like to me She should have gotten a shovel and had it moved before hand! I agree that the contractor should have done what he said, however they should have left the ball in her court! She knew they were gonna come through, either dig it up or get a contractor of your OWN to dig it up! She would have not gotten my money, or a promise to "save" her grass. It amazes me that people always want something for nothing!

  • Me2 May 9, 2007

    If you say you gonna do something, do it. Else, you make youself out a liar.

  • tmlcary May 9, 2007

    since my last post was deleted, I'll just say I agree with you refiman.

  • fritobandito May 9, 2007

    i guess the grass is greener but not in her yard