5 On Your Side

State Sues Man Over Botched Home-Remodeling Job

Posted July 19, 2007

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— Attorney General Roy Cooper filed suit Thursday against a Franklin County man who received almost $125,000 from a Wake Forest couple to make their home handicapped-accessible but left them with unfinished rooms, holes in the floor and live wires dangling from the ceiling.

John Shearer, who does business as Home Remodeling Solutions, was ordered not to perform any more home repairs, pending a July 30 court hearing to address the allegations against him.

Carol McPhaul hired Shearer a year ago to remodel her 1,100-square-foot Wake Forest home to make it more accessible and comfortable for herself -- she is legally blind -- and her 79-year-old husband, George McPhaul, who is recovering from a stroke and is on oxygen therapy.

Over time, she has paid Shearer $124,463 for repairs, the suit alleges. He also charged about $20,000 to her credit card for supplies that were never delivered to her home, according to the suit.

The kitchen in the McPhaul's home now features missing counter tops, unfinished cabinets, a dishwasher sitting in the middle of the floor, exposed electrical outlets, a hole in the ceiling and a couple of others in the floor that go down to the dirt in the crawlspace.

"I'm heartbroken. I'm really heartbroken. (It's) all I can do not to cry every day," Carol McPhaul said. "Mentally, I'm beat. Emotionally, I cried for weeks and weeks."

Shearer never started work on a bedroom and handicapped-accessible bathroom for George McPhaul, the suit alleges.

"This is what we have, and all of our savings are gone," Carol McPhaul said.

Shearer isn't a licensed contractor in North Carolina and never obtained building permits from Wake Forest for the project.

The suit alleges that he pressured the couple into various change-orders that ran up the bill before stopping all work in April.

Cooper called Shearer a "fraudster" in a statement issued Thursday, alleging he is guilty of unfair and deceptive trade practices.

“We've stopped this so-called contractor from ripping up any more homes and ripping off any more consumers,” he said in the statement. “This couple spent their hard-earned money trying to improve their home but got left with a disaster.”

Shearer told WRAL that he has done nothing wrong. He said he has already put about $91,000 of work into the McPhauls' home, including a completed hall bathroom renovation.

"Nothing shady has been done here whatsoever," he said in a telephone interview from Delaware. "I'm a nice guy. I'm honest. I try to do the right thing. I've done nothing wrong and would love nothing more than to get this straightened out."

Shearer called the McPhauls' situation "horrid" and said he stopped work in April because they couldn't afford to finish the job. Problems from a fire at the home a decade ago were much worse than he first accounted for, he said.

The temporary restraining order issued Thursday by Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones also requires that any proceeds from the sale of Shearer’s own home, which is on the market, go to the court to potentially be used to reimburse consumers.

The lawsuit seeks a court order that would permanently bar Shearer from handling home remodeling projects and would require him to reimburse affected consumers.

"I never sleep a full night anymore," Carol McPhaul said as she surveyed the disarray inside her home. "I get up, and I walk around and say, 'I can't believe this. I just can't believe what is here.'"

32 Comments

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  • Iwasasoldier4u Jul 21, 2007

    I am a transplant from the north and the statements made here that most are from the north are arrogant and no it alls is not at all true. What is true that most are no different than the people here and a small percentage are the arrogant ones and those are from an area between here and the northeast. The next time you take a vacation I urge you to go to Maine, Upstate New York, New Hampshire or Vermont and I think you will find the people there are very nice and extremely friendly and no different than most of the people here. It seems that one bad apple from anywhere puts a label on all from the same area which is really sad. Calling people names and bad mouthing a geographic area is not what this story is about, these people need help and need it now. That being said I love living here and I am not leaving for nothing and nobody. When I buy a tv I will judge it by its color and where it came from not the people in the state I live in.

  • blossom3100 Jul 20, 2007

    What happen to the premises in our country that you are innocent until proven guilty? The contractors side has not yet been heard, other than that he said he wants to resolve this case. When will we stop believing everything we hear on tv or see printed in the newspaper? I for one would not donate a panny to someone who called a Tv station to play of the sympathy of good hearted people. UNLESS I was sure of ALL the facts. How many Honest contractors out there have been ripped off by consumers who just don't pay their bills?
    Vtech

    Her house is only 1100 square feet. There is holes in the floor, open wiring, and all the other stuff. The paid out a total of close to $145,000. You could build a new house that size for that. This guy is as guilty as they come, why else did he leave the state.

  • oneday8035 Jul 20, 2007

    Sorry Snot, I was talking on the phone and not proof reading so don't call me a hick for the couple of speilling errors. Actually, just seeing if you were really paying attention.

  • MarvinsWife12 Jul 20, 2007

    Snot, obviously you don't agree with the rope solution, I don't either, but there is no need for name calling.

    And as a transplant, I agree with others on the board, go back from whence you came. You're giving the rest of us transplants a bad name.

  • oneday8035 Jul 20, 2007

    Oh,and buy the way Snot...English is not my major. I have a Masters degreee in Mathemathics and a minor in Engineering. I'm a blonde female to boot; how scary is that?

  • Vtech Jul 20, 2007

    What happen to the premises in our country that you are innocent until proven guilty? The contractors side has not yet been heard, other than that he said he wants to resolve this case. When will we stop believing everything we hear on tv or see printed in the newspaper? I for one would not donate a panny to someone who called a Tv station to play of the sympathy of good hearted people. UNLESS I was sure of ALL the facts. How many Honest contractors out there have been ripped off by consumers who just don't pay their bills?

  • oneday8035 Jul 20, 2007

    Snot...well at least you are proving to have some sense by saying that you are here to stay. You should say what you mean and not call names if you don't mean them. It's very easy to take offense when an obvious Northerner uses terms such as "dumb hick and y'all" as an obvious slur on Southerners. It would also help if "yous guys" might stop to understand how much justice in a courtroom costs as opposed to the cost of a good cord of rope and that we are not really serious. We might not be as dumb as you think. After all...we were born in the place that you Yankees move to the first chance you get...think about it!

  • shine Jul 20, 2007

    JOKERS WILD II......... Get WRAL to keep the site open and I will go and we can volunteer and make these folks a place to live. I am a decent carpenter and a better finger pointer. I am going out of town - today or tomorrow but LETS DO IT! A GREAT IDEA! Let me know how to get in touch with you.

  • Mmaker52 Jul 20, 2007

    Since Extreme Makeover-Home Edition was here so recently, I'm not sure they would do it again here. Could Habitat for Humanity help get this done?
    aquamama

    Holmes On Homes TV show does this type of work all the time. He is fantastic!!!

  • DevNTaysMom Jul 20, 2007

    Snot...go back to where you came from

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