Rumour Has It

NOTE: As of September 23, 2009, this post has been edited in
accordance with a court-mediated settlement. The names of the
contractor and his excavation subcontractor have been replaced with

A neighbor came over today and introduced herself, and gave us a tidbit of gossip about our project.

Did you know that apparently we were trying to turn our house into units (rental units, that is, not units of length or something abstract like that) and could not get the permits, and had pressured Contractor A (that's the guy who showed up drunk on the job site) into working without them, and that's supposedly why they walked off the job?

I could go into how this has elements of what really happened in it and how they got twisted into something totally false, but much of the story is already up here so I won't. It's just so damned funny to think that nobody really ever believes that all we ever wanted was a storage space for our tools, and they have to make up other possible reasons for our motivations in this debacle.

(Some time after posting this, we were told by another neighbor that the person who had been spreading these stories around the neighborhood was Contractor A, who they recognized from photos on this site. We can't think of a good reason why he would want to tell lies like that about us to our neighbors -- it doesn't even make sense in the "get revenge on them" view of things, since the first thing they did was come by and ask us to set the story straight for them. But you know, Contractor A did a lot of stupid stuff and said a lot of really dumb things in his dealings with us, so in a way it kind of fits, whether it's totally true or not.)

posted by ayse on 09/24/05


Folks around here spread the rumor that we hated it in Eutaw and were selling our house and moving back to town. We never said anything remotely similar to that! Who knows where they get this stuff?

Well, we know the former contractor walked all over the neighborhood talking to contractors about our job, and what he said is sure to be his side of the story, but some of this seems to be a game of telephone. Nobody seems to understand the concept of having a cellar for storing things, so the actual story doesn't make any sense to them. They edit the details to make it seem right, and suddenly it bears very little likeness to the truth.

[This comment has been edited to remove the name of the contractor in accordance with a settlement agreement.]

Wait. Wait. I never understood the genesis of all the problems with Contractor A. Is it that you asked them to put in a cellar, and they didn't understand how to do it but took a stab at it anyway?

Or maybe don't explain, because just thinking about all this makes my head hurt.

You gotta love it. You know what they say, a contractor spurned and all that. Who's is that colorful house across the street? I'm excited to see your house when it's done. -Tabby

NOTE: As of September 23, 2009, this comment has been edited in accordance with a court-mediated settlement. The names of the contractor and his excavation subcontractor have been replaced with pseudonyms.

So here's the deal, short form:

We needed to have the foundation replaced. Contractor A (who was given to bragging and talking big while acting small) told us they could add in a basement space (which we wanted for storage) for only $X more, where $X was reasonable given our budget.

Then Contractor A (who had not, in fact, gotten this information from the city) told us the City said the space had to be livable space, rather than storage space -- that means lots of windows for natural light and ventilation, and an internal staircase, and ceilings at 7'-6" or more -- this stuff all costs lots of money and requires the project to go through what is called a major plan review with neighbor approval and all that; a real pain in the ass when we really were not going to use the space for anything but storage.

Contractor A (who had been lying to us about having discussed this with the city) was supposed to obtain the permits, according to our contract, but they did not, because there was no way the City would let them put in livable space without a major design review. Contractor A (who had been trying to bully us into vastly increasing the scope of our project) just dumped the whole permit process on us and let us sort it out (and said he was going to go to the bar).

Fortunately, the City, when we went to them directly and asked, prepared to beg and plead for a simple cellar, was quite reasonable. They said that in fact it was perfectly fine to make a basement that is just storage space, with lower ceilings and no windows and all that, no major design review required. They told us that no way would they have told Contractor A (who had already lied to us about several other things in this process) anything else, though he claims they did. Anyway, we got the permit for storage space, and that is what we are building. It could possibly be turned into living space someday, but lord knows we don't care for the trouble.

But that's not the real conflict with Contractor A (whose real specialty is in bullying his clients). The real conflict is that they claim to have lost $40,000 on the excavation alone. I'm not going to go into detail about how and why (at least not in this comment; we'll detail his alleged finances and the shell game he tried to play with us over them in a post), but we don't feel that number is anywhere near correct, and we were not going to pay three times the original estimate to have them finish the work. So we fired them.

Note: We're getting pummeled with spam comments, so I've turned off the ability to use any HTML or include any links for the time being. Email with any issues.

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