WEST MICHIGAN -- Brooks Weiler has a green thumb. So with a garden in his yard, he thought a fence just might help keep some of the critters out. More importantly, he wanted more privacy.
So last November, Weiler said he found an ad on the Grand Haven Informed Facebook page. He said the ad was posted by Chad Meadows of Chads Custom Decks and Wood Work.
Weiler recalled, "Nobody was saying anything bad about him. Actually a friend of mine, she had work done by him."
Weiler said he paid Meadows $700 upfront for a $1,000 job.
"And I go, 'We need to get a building permit.' And he goes, 'Sometimes I don't use building permits,'" Weiler said that was the first red flag.
Weiler said he offered to get the permit himself.
"He said I'll have it done next week," he recalled.
Weiler said Meadows never did anything except take his money and disappear. He said the fence and deck builder gave excuses initially and then completely ignored him.
"I had to do the fence myself," he said a friend helped him.
So Weiler reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers simply looking to warn others and tell of his experience. Our search into Meadows' background reveals he's been in trouble with the law for crimes in Michigan and Indiana for drug offenses, property damage, retail fraud, resisting law enforcement, etc.
The Problem Solvers called Meadows. He hung up. A message was also left for him on another call to his phone. We knocked at his last known address in Muskegon. A young man came to the door and said Meadows doesn't live there and claimed he never did.
Our efforts then led us to the Muskegon County Courthouse and a small claim suit filed by Kim Cordle of Muskegon. Cordle, who also has a green thumb, won a judgement against Meadows for an incomplete fence.
"Chad Meadows said he would build it for me for $575. So I gave him $275 down, and he did about a third of the work," Cordle explained.
He said he previously hired Meadows to build his deck after seeing his ad on the Lakeside Facebook page.
"He came here, built the deck, had great service from him," Cordle said.
But when it came to completing the fence, Cordle said Meadows vanished once he got the rest of the money.
Cordle said, "I tried to call him on the phone. I sent text messages [but] didn't hear back. Didn't hear back until I finally put a posting up on that Lakeside page saying, 'Hey, don't deal with this guy. He's a scammer.' I wanted to protect the neighbors. Then I heard from him."
He said he didn't receive very nice messages from Meadows and still has the copies. He took Meadows to small claims court and won. However, Cordle said he and his wife never got their money. So the couple finished the job themselves.
Cordle said, "I was just trying to help this guy out. Throw him some money. Give money to a local guy, and he's just not a very good person."
"I don't expect to get my money back at this point. But like I said, 'He'll get what he has coming. Karma has a way of working itself out,'" he said.
Weiler and Cordle said it'd be nice to get their money back, but at the very least they want to alert others.
The BBB suggests you always check to make sure a contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. The Problem Solvers couldn't find a license for Chad Meadows.