Remodel4Less, LLC — Horrid workmanship and unethical behaviour
Considering hiring a contractor to provide materials and labor for your project? Or maybe you are one of the smart ones and are going to purchase the materials to assemble some or all of it for you.
Here has been my advice to readers: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2013/07/contractor-6/
Long time readers will remember the story of Judy’s motorcycle crash back in September: http://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/10/when-life-changes-in-the-blink-of-an-eye/
She was discharged from Craig Hospital December 17, and needing a place to go to which was wheelchair friendly, returned to her partially finished home on the South Dakota side of Lake Traverse. I say partially finished, because it did not yet have floor coverings. Last summer she had carpet all picked out, but for whatever reason – didn’t get it ordered, which is good as her power wheelchair would not have liked her choice very well.
Hardwood flooring is now being installed in the building (primarily oak, with small amounts of maple and Brazilian cherry for accents). The installer, however, does not do the sanding and application of the polyurethane to complete.
In an effort to speed along the process, I ran an ad in Craigslist in both the Fargo area, as well as Northeast South Dakota. Not too many folks in this part of the country, so it takes a shotgun approach to get quality work done at even semi-affordable prices.
One of the responses to my ad was from Bryan Sticha of Remodel4Less, LLC is Fargo. He did have a website, which is more than I can say for any of the other respondents (http://remodel4less.net/).
Via emails, we arrange for him to come to the house to view the work to be done on Tuesday January 5. In his presentation he sounded competent and made some suggestions, including the adding of a window in the rear wall of Judy’s sewing loft. We agreed upon a price per week for his work, after being assured he was one of those people who would put in 50-60 hours per week.
Bryan told a sad story of having worked for a contractor in North Dakota who had stiffed him for most of his pay. He was also supposed to be starting a big job for a couple in Horace, ND, however they kept putting him off, so he was currently between clients.
He asked for a week’s pay up front, so I wrote him a check, then he asked if I had any cash as he didn’t have any money for gas to get back to Fargo (red flag). Knowing he would be back Friday to begin work, I gave him my credit card to get a tank of gas with.
From here I will relate by the text messages back and forth (typographical errors are due to reporting exactly as received):
Thursday January 7
Bryan 6:17 PM You all get hit with the snow? Im bringing a rental trailer dwn with my saws and tools
Me 6:55 PM About ½” last night is all
Bryan 6:59 PM Fargo 6 to 9 depends where I wish not ti invade upon Judy. Lunch hr ok Mike? I have to put tarps down for wet saw in garage.. put groceries away. Make the bed etc… You.n.Judy tell me how you want my shop area set up!!
Me 8:33 PM Actually we were thinking 9 a.m.
Bryan 9:01 PM May be around lunch. I have to check boilers for buddies properties, load trailer, simple things. Thank you Mike Bry
Friday January 8
Bryan 9:01 AM After the snow fall and cleaning it up, i got a no neat call. Ive been cleaning up water and had to change the “PRESSURE RELEASE” valve on the boiler. Now im bleeding air from my buddies tenants radiators in there units. I have an inkling this going to be a day in fart land running back n forth. What time would Saturaday work? Sorry.. but he paid me a retainer last winter to take care of the buildings. Im his main man with all the keys.
Me 9:36 AM 9 a.m.
Bryan 9:37 AM I pick up trailer at 9 sharp load n hot the road
Bryan 3:59 PM Get last message or was it dropped
Me 4:08 PM Got it, sounds like you will be getting settled in tomorrow afternoon, and be ready to start work Monday morning at 9.
Bryan 4:11 PM Yes sir
Me 4:12 PM You can set up any tools in boat shed on west side of building
Bryan 4:15 PM Im bringing food, my tools, sleepin bag, etc.. If you wont be around just send door code. But write istructions on paper for me to follow on where to stage my tools. And tape to inside on the door. Bry
Me 4:16 PM Judy will be here if I am away
Bryan 4:16 PM 10-4
Saturday January 9
Bryan 9:46 AM Im head out
Me 10:35 AM Cool
Sunday January 10
Bryan 10:57 AM My water pump blew on way back. Mon morning I have to bring to OK TIRE. Have to borrow room mates farm truck. Probably wont get to ur place until late afternoon. I shall keep u informed. Bry
Me 12:01 PM Might just try for Tuesday morning at 9
Bryan 12:03 10-4 Just barely made it back.in fargo. God was watchin over me!!
Tuesday January 12
Bryan 6:32 AM I will get dwn as fast as I can. I gotta stop by where my truck is and give the last of my money to get her fixed and sgn papers. The farm truck runs good but isn’t going to spoil me like me own vehicle.
Me 6:54 AM See you soon
Bryan 6:57 AM 10-4
Bryan 11:15 AM Im finally headin out of fargo. With the cold, the borrowed truck wldnt start.
Me 11:15 AM See you soon
Bryan 11:16 AM 10-4
Bryan did finally arrive and started work at 1:30 in the afternoon. His first mission was to paint the bedroom, master bath and its walk in closet. In the midst of doing so, he managed to fall off a ladder, he appeared shaken, but otherwise okay. About an hour later, he was showing me photos he took with his cell phone of the bruises to his legs. He did work until 8:30 in the evening, so put in seven hours including his frequent smoke breaks and talking nearly constantly on his cell phone. He did paint over a popped nail in the drywall, which I pointed out to him and told him it was my pet peeve – he assured me it would be fixed. He never did fix it, but he did paint over it again.
As Bryan had suggested, I had ordered the window for Judy’s sewing loft. He told me, after he came to work, he would not install it, I would need to hire someone else to!
Wednesday January 13
Bryan 8:47 AM I need an xtra hr. Im hurtin bad. I did take Aleve and waitng for it to kick in
The hour became nearly two, and he worked from 10:30 until 9 p.m.
Thursday January 14
Bryan told me he would have to be gone Friday as he had some award to pickup from the City of Fargo for sponsoring a street clean up or some sort. He also said he had to run around and pay bills. Knowing he had spent everything we had given him when we got started, I took this as a subtle hint he would be looking for more money. Being generous and trying to keep things moving forward, I wrote him a check for the three days of work. When I gave it to him, he said, “This won’t do me any good”. He was expecting to be paid for a full week’s work! I bit my tongue and wrote him a check for a full week and reminded him he was now paid ahead for seven days of work. He worked from 9 until 4:30 and was out of here for Fargo.
He was pushing the wrong buttons, so we began looking closer at the work he had been doing. Besides my previously mentioned popped nail, he had also partially filled a drywall crack with painter’s caulk, then painted over it, however the crack was still evident. In one area, he had repaired seams at the top of the wall with drywall compound, leaving trowel marks, then painted over them as well.
In the bathroom, he didn’t pull out the washer and dryer, or remove a heat vent cover or a light switch. The vent cover he got paint on, the other things he just painted close to and left the rest for later.
He also got paint on the ceiling in several places.
Knowing he would be gone for at least three days, he left tape on woodwork to sit.
All-in-all, I was less than impressed with the attention to details. And this is the man who was also to been sanding and finishing our wood floors which were being installed by another contractor.
Friday January 15
Bryan 6:31 AM Major white out.. the cars in thr ditches. Love you two. See yah Mon. Morn
Bryan 6:57 AM Move
Me 7:50 AM ???
Bryan 7:54 AM Write it in your phone mike! Im home cleanin house!! Bills etc…
(at this point between his poor workmanship and erratic behavior, I’ve decided to be done with him, before bad goes to worse)
Me 9:06 AM Please call me now
Bryan did call me. I let him know I had stopped payment on the check I wrote to him the previous day and notified him we were done with him. We expected him to pickup his things and to pay back the extra two days he had been paid for.
Bryan 10:16 AM In the mean time leans will be produced
Bryan 10:33 AM Law suit for telling me to use your ladder. The bruises i have.
Sidebar – Bryan brought his own ladder and opted to use our ladder without the knowledge of either Judy or myself.
Me 10:35 AM Are you threatening me?
Bryan 10:39 AM I don’t threatened people. My bible is still by the bed. I trusted you. If its money, man up. I gave my love to you. I trusted you Mike.
Bryan 10:40 AM My attorney advised me to go public
Saturday January 16
Me 11:37 AM Please let me know which evening next week you can come pickup your stuff. We want it out of here.
Bryan 11:44 AM Speaking with sheriff, Dr. Office, etc.. will get back to you….
Monday January 18
Bryan 10:41 AM Let me know how we can communicate as civil adults. Or must I go through the system?
I left to come back with a trailer full of materials with you stating that I have done great work. Then to have your attitude flip. I have mentioned to my legal advisor about your misfortune of Judy’s accident. How I witnessed her up and down attitude. You can say what you will. Any court will find that a go getter woman like herself, that has been through her misfortune, can and will go through spells. That being said, I have pictures upclose and detailed. You had yourself Mike mentioned I take them.
You people are my worst pain. I gave my whole person to give more because of Judy’s misfortune..
You could have had me bring materials down Monday, had me work. And on this coming Friday, politely say; Bryan issues arose and we can no longer use your help. Bryan you have made materials possible and delivered. You could have at least used me for that.. I than would have been there with a trailer and could bring my tools back.
You are rude. Can not even give a REAL tactic to a story. Manning upo and just explaining that you need to tighten up on finances. Thus, need some one lower in wages to do the work!
I will contact you or my attorney will. Please lets move forward.
I can and will go to the highest groudns of the law to get payment for my injury and my tools back. I am not a doper so please request a drug test. I will get that payment also.. Thank you Bryan
Tuesday January 19
Me 11:55 AM Please provide the name and number of your attorney
Bryan 11:57 AM They will call you. DO not contact me again.
Monday January 25
Bryan 7:34 AM Now I am sueing you for theft of tools 4, 000 plus the 900.00
Me 7:48 AM Please provide the name and number of your attorney
Bryan 7:49 AM They will be calling you. And since you have your 1500 back I better be able to get my tools back
Bryan 5:02 PM I want to get my stuff Wed. And you owe me $900.00. Lets donthis with no issues. And I will move on. $900.00 cash, cashier’s check or (2) two money orders. (1)one for max amount of $500.00 & (1)one for the amount of $400.00. No personal or business checks.
Me 5:04 PM Please provide the name and number of your attorney
Bryan 5:48 PM I was told not to. They asked if I play with facebook because they don’t want me to advertise our issue. I don’t play with that gossip site. They said if I give you any info it could damage the case.
Bryan 7:01 PM I can get ALL my stuff Wed. and payment for 3 days 900.00 in money orders, cash and sign a lien waiver. And we go separate ways. I need my stuff for work Thursday.
Me 7:03 PM Please provide the name and number of your attorney
Bryan 7:11 PM I cant. I spoke with paralegal. The firm took information and attorney’s all had court. I don’t know who I have. IF I because I have to lose this job because of childs play I will go aggressive. Im trying to work with you so we can just move on. If I get ALL my things and money order or cash, I can sign an agreement that stated we settled this issue as honest men and we move on with our lives. –(in no form am I trying to threatened)
Tuesday January 26
Me 7:28 AM On the 19th you told me your attorney will call me and to not contact you again. The stress of you threatening, bullying, harassing and attempting to blackmail us has put my wife in ER 4 times in the past week and she is now hospitalized. If you contact us again, other than with the name and number of your attorney only, we will have no option but to have a restraining order placed against you, and every legal remedy available will be taken. You are treading upon some very thin ice right now and you may want to be considering carefully the consequences of your actions. An offer was madefor you to pickup your things last week, which you refused. I will gladly negotiate with your attorney only to have the tools you abandoned delivered to his or her office. As you have requested previously I will not be in contact with you again.
Bryan 5:24 PM The office of TURBAK LAW in watertown finally got back to me and said are unable to take the case because they don’t practice in the case I need. SO, I ask you politely Mike, what time after 11:00am may I pickup my things and get payment for the three days. I done want any trouble. I just want to pick up the tools and payment and be on my way with no talking about your projects. I will not start any trouble. Please work with me Mike, I need my things for Thursday morning. Bryan
Me 7:51 PM I will offer you this one opportunity which is to be answered with either YES or NO.
You have been paid $1500 in advance for a week’s work (5 days) and only worked 3 days. We owe you no money. If you want to pickup the things you abandoned I can be there at 6 p.m. tomorrow – Wednesday. You can stage all of your things, however you will need to sign a release confirming you have received all before they are loaded.
If NO, I need the name of your attorney and their phone number and I will make arrangements to deliver your things to him or her.
Bryan did agree to pick up his things the following evening. Here is the statement he signed at time of pickup:
“January 5, 2016 Remodel4Less, LLC contracted with Michael Momb to perform construction services at a residence owned by Judy A. Hansen in Roberts County, South Dakota.
Under the terms of the contract Bryan Sticha of Remodel4Less, LLC would provide onsite services for $1500 per five day week, and payment of $1500 was received and cashed as advance payment for the initial five days.
The contract was terminated by Michael Momb after three days of services, leaving an overpayment of $600 to Remodel4Less, LLC.
On January 16, 2016 a request was made of Remodel4Less, LLC via text to remove their possessions from the premises the following week, which was refused, leaving the equipment and belongings abandoned.
On this date, January 27, 2016, Bryan Sticha and Remodel4Less, LLC have picked up above said equipment and belongings in their entirety. Bryan Sticha and Remodel4Less, LLC hereby release any and all claims in perpetuity against Michael Momb, Judy A. Hansen, their heirs and assigns.”
This was signed by Bryan Sticha, both personally and for Remodel4Less, LLC
During the process of all of this, I did some checking. The proposal I signed from Remodel4Less, LLC has language on the back which the front side does not reference and I was not aware of. Included in this language is “LICENSING: Contractor informs owner that the company is licensed under the laws and statutes of this state or local agency”. After making a few calls to the state of South Dakota, it turns out Remodel4Less, LLC does not have authority to do business in the state and a suggestion was made to refer this to the Attorney General’s office.
My mistake was in hiring someone I did not thoroughly vet. My bad and I own this error. I will do everything I can to keep others from making my mistake, at least in the case of Bryan Sticha and Remodel4Less, LLC.
Please, I implore you, do not make similar mistakes yourself!