5 On Your Side

Volunteers to Fix Botched Remodeling Job

Posted July 25, 2007 6:15 p.m. EDT
Updated July 25, 2007 6:36 p.m. EDT

— Contractors and others have volunteered to remodel the house of a local couple after an unlicensed contractor left the project unfinished.

Carol McPhaul hired John Shearers and his company, Home Remodeling Solutions, a year ago to make the home more accessible for her – she is legally blind – and her husband, George, who is recovering from a stroke and is on oxygen therapy.

Shearer received almost $125,000 from the couple, but left them with unfinished rooms, holes in the floor and live wires dangling from the ceiling. The state Attorney General's Office last week sued Shearer, accusing him of deceptive and unfair trade practices.

A judge barred Shearer, who doesn't have a North Carolina contractor's license, from doing other remodeling projects, pending a court hearing next Monday. The state is seeking a permanent order preventing him from working on such projects.

Shearer disputes the allegations in the state's lawsuit.

"I'm going to be vindicated from these lies that are being told, and there are many lies being told," he told WRAL in a telephone interview.

He blamed the problems on Carol McPhaul, saying she "kept changing the plans." He is, he said, "not being treated fairly."

Meanwhile, contractor Mike Marguerat volunteered to help fix the McPhauls' home after he saw a 5 on Your Side report about the  mistake-filled makeover.

"There's so many things wrong, and with them living in the home, it's like, where do you start?" said Marguerat, of Landmark Construction. "There's a lot of the work that does not meet code."

Marguerat and Wake Forest building inspectors said almost everything that was done in the house needs to be redone.

The problems include cabinets that aren't joined together, a floor that is almost 2 inches out of level, the dryer being vented into the attic, hanging wires and holes in the walls, roof and floor.

Lowe's Home Improvement and Stock Building Supply have offered supplies for the project, and Wake Forest officials have waived building permit fees. Church groups, community organizations and individuals also have offered to donate labor and are raising money to help the McPhauls.

Marguerat has set up a phone line at 919-556-9107 for people to volunteer their help. He said he still needs a couple of plumbers for the project, but he said he hopes to start construction next week.

"I can't believe it. Pinch me, and I'll know it's real," Carol McPhaul said. "I feel happy now. I could cry – happy tears now."