5 On Your Side

Triangle contractor's mother faces charges

Posted September 8, 2009 5:20 p.m. EDT
Updated September 8, 2009 5:59 p.m. EDT

— The mother of Triangle contractor Richard Stacy appeared before a judge on Tuesday facing charges of extortion and fraud relating to her son's business.

Sandy Danielson spoke to the judge in a soft, strained voice and walked slowly with the use of a cane.

Danielson appeared much different in court than the way customers of her son’s construction business have described her. Customers, like Amy McCool and Debbie Dunkley, said Danielson continually screamed, threatened and cursed at them.

“She has the appearance today of a very sad-looking elderly woman,” Dunkley said. “She’s playing a part today. There’s no doubt.”

“I think she’s trying to work a sympathy factor that she’s an older woman and she hasn’t done anything wrong and I’m not falling for it,” McCool said.

The women are two of at least 11 people who, combined, paid more than $100,000 to Stacy for home improvement projects he never finished. His company operated under several names including Customized Contracting, RPS Contracting and RPS Builders.

A healthier looking Danielson was in court six weeks ago when Stacy pleaded guilty to 27 felonies, all but one having to do with his remodeling business.

Prosecutors accuse Danielson of felony extortion and fraud – saying she threatened customers and falsely represented her son’s qualifications.

Danielson would not talk to WRAL News on Tuesday, but in the past she told 5 on Your Side she was simply Stacy's office manager and not directly involved in his business dealings.

“I spoke to her on the phone or e-mailed more than I saw or spoke to Rick,” McCool said. “She was the only person we spoke to from a business standpoint.”

“She was the contact throughout everything,” Dunkley said. “She was the one who asked me to give $3,500 to bail him out when he was arrested.”

Danielson received a court appointed attorney, saying she can't afford to hire one on her own.

Dunkley, McCool and many of the other victims just hope for justice as the case moves forward.

“I think it’s coming full circle now. I think Sandy was just as involved as Rick in this whole debacle,” McCool. “And it’s about time that she is punished like her son was.”