5 On Your Side

5 on Your Side Settles Woman's Sod Situation

Posted May 8, 2007 7:35 p.m. EDT

— 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.”