by: Jim Strickland Updated:ATLANTA, Ga. —
A local contractor says he wants to clear his name, after a southwest Atlanta homeowner convinced a judge to issue a fraud warrant.
"It's real bad, real bad," said Hellene Shellman as she walked through her home with Consumer Investigator Jim Strickland.
Fire struck a year ago. In June Shellman hired Dirt Cheap General Contractors to fix it. The reference was word of mouth. The word she uses now is mistake.
"He actually didn't do nothing. He made the house look worse," she said while surrounded by burned studs and broken PVC plumbing.
The showed Strickland the checks paid the contractor. They total more than $34,000.
"When you get a certain age, people take advantage of you," she said.
Strickland discovered the owner of Dirt Cheap, Robert Crawford, does not have a contractor license. Crawford admits having a licensed friend pull the permits. Despite the contract between he and Shellman, Crawford claims he was a sub-contractor.
"Even a sub need a license," Strickland reminded him.
"Whoooo, okay," replied Crawford on the phone.
Crawford agreed to speak and have his conversation recorded. He was out of state. He told Strickland demolition, labor costs and having to install floor jolts after ripping up lots of linoleum, were expenses that ate up the money.
He is facing a fraud warrant after Shellman went to magistrate court.
"It's unfair. There should be no warrant or nothing, because everything I spent, I spent in that house," said Crawford.