Andy Wise updates contractor rescue of ripped-off veteran

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Our 'dream team' has framed the new garage for the veteran framed by unlicensed contractors.

Three weeks into our rescue of paraplegic Army veteran Earnest Sanders, Jr., of Frayser, his handicapped-accessible garage is coming together, just like the team of licensed contractors Todd Hart of Hart Family Construction assembled to make it right.

"It was a no-brainer when he called us," said Pace Pannell, owner of Crown Construction & Development, LLC. Pannell's crew got the call to tear up and re-do the concrete foundation and driveway of Sanders' garage.

Our original investigation exposed how unlicensed contractors Jerry Ward and Charles Jones, whose company's business license expired in 1999, duped Sanders into pulling his own building permits, took him for more than $40,000, then abandoned him with a garage project that was supposed to accommodate the veteran's disability. Instead, it was a disaster: shoddy framing and a dipping, sloping concrete foundation that flooded and pooled with rainwater, destroying furniture and Sanders' late wife's belongings stored inside it.

"It was very unprofessional," Pannell said. "Once we saw how bad of a job it was, we were all in."

So was Ray Hogan, owner of Hogan Construction of Somerville, Tennessee. After our demo crew destroyed the unlicensed contractors' work, Hogan and his guys started re-framing. They're building a better garage, one worthy of a man who lost his wife and served our country, only to be disrespected by a couple of unlicensed hacks. "The guy's a veteran, and they done him wrong, and that just sets wrong with me," Hogan said.

Slowly but surely, our dream team is turning this wrong into a right. "Looks that way to me," Sanders giggled. "I'm pleased with the progress, and I don't think anyone else could have done anything better."

We'll continue to follow the progress at Sanders' home. For the complete roster of our construction dream team, click on this story.

To access Andy Wise's checklist for shopping a building contractor, please click on this story.

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