ALLEGAN, Mich.-- A family from Allegan hoped to make some extra money by selling trees from their property to a logger. But instead of getting that extra cash, they got stuck with a huge mess and thousands of dollars in damages.
Now, they say their safety has been threatened and they're warning others not to make the same mistake.
"It's been a nightmare. There were ornamental trees over here, now they are gone. He dropped trees in the creek. It’s a county drain. You’re not supposed to do that. They dropped trees without our knowledge," said Sheryl Parrish, who's being held responsible with her husband for thousands in repairs.
Parrish told FOX 17 News that what looks like severe storm damage to her property is actually the work of Dallas Anderson’s company, J.R. Logging. The mess all started with a fill-in-the-blank contract that said he would cut down 10 walnut trees and she would get $800.
According to the family, not only did Anderson cut down more than 10 trees, but he went over property lines and took out a power line in the process. Anderson promised the couple he had insurance, but then they got a huge bill from Consumers Energy.
"We got a $7,000 bill for the electric pole that went down," said Parrish.
FOX 17 News reached out to Consumers Energy, who said they are trying to get in touch with Anderson to get the money from him, but so far have not been able to verify if he has insurance or not. Consumers Energy said if Anderson is not able to pay it, or does not have insurance, the homeowner is responsible for paying the bill, since it happened on their property. Parrish said this is not money they have readily available.
Then, when the family refused to give Anderson his trees until everything was figured out, things got worse. He started making threats.
"That's when I called the sheriff’s department and said, 'Look, we need to put a stop to this.'," said Parrish.
According to police reports from the Allegan County Sheriff’s department, the Parrishes weren’t the only family Anderson did this to. There are two other similar complaints filed and Anderson has a criminal record dating back to 1985 through 2015 from misdemeanor stalking to felony of malicious destruction of property and assaulting and resisting an officer. The family has hired a lawyer to help settle the dispute.
"I told him he needed to talk to my lawyer, and had my lawyer call him, and then he threatened my lawyer," said Parrish.
We tracked Anderson down by phone, after trying to visit his residence and business address. This was his response:
"Let me explain something to you. You can put this on FOX 17 News. Put it on the internet. You can put it wherever you want in cyberspace. I can give one [expletive]. These people are [expletive]. Don't call me [expletive] phone. See me in the [expletive] courtroom. No laws have been broke (sic). No contracts have been violated, but [expletive] dirty mother [expletive] owe me a bunch of money. If they want to [expletive] play, then I am ready.
Parrish said she is worried about her safety and is still at a loss of where she'll come up with the money to fix the mess Anderson left behind.
Sheryl and the family have slowly tried to clean up the trees themselves, but it's a slow process. They said they have full time jobs and it is a lot of labor for two people at their age. They are not looking for retribution, but want to warn people to always check their contractors insurance before they let them set foot on their property.