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Dispute over Muskegon construction bill ends with a resolution

Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-04 18:29:11-05

MUSKEGON, Mich. – Don Stailey, a career-military man, is nearing retirement. So, to enjoy sunsets and warm summer days, Don built a porch over his front door to sit and relax. When it was finished, he was more than happy with the project.

But the bill was a different story.

After obtaining several proposals, Don realized the metal shingles he needed to complete the job were driving up the cost of construction. Don shelled out nearly $1,500 to buy the shingles out of pocket, then went back to Fredrick’s Construction in his hometown of Muskegon for an estimate. They came back at $3,775 even, including cost of materials and labor.

“I was skeptical when it came in low,” said Don. “My wife and I said, this seems a little on the low end but if I put my contribution of the 15-hundred dollar roofing materials in, it brings it up close to what one of the bids was. I just expected that's what it would be."

Construction began in October, and right off the bat little extras began adding up. There were additional charges for equipment and the like – all approved by Don along the way.

"It would have added somewhere around $1,000 dollars to his original proposal,” Don said of the added costs, “and I thought, that's within reason. I didn't have any qualms with that."

But then the final statement came. The original proposal of $3,775 had morphed into a grand total of $6,471 due mainly to an added $1,500 charge for unforeseen labor and equipment costs.

"And I said, ‘that's not going to cut it,” Don explained. “That's not what we agreed upon. I think he thought I would just pay it.”

Don did pay it though, fearing added interest on the bill or hits to his credit. He contested the price, with little luck.

But there’s a cordial ending to this story. FOX 17 spoke with Brad Fredrick, the job’s contractor on Monday. After going over the situation, Brad has agreed to work with our staff and Don to make things right and repay some of that cost.

Don is happy with the result, hoping things will change in the future.

“When you’re a businessman you should have honor and integrity for what you say and what you do,” said Don, “and that is the big part that really grinds at me.”