WARE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- There's new information tonight on a story Western Mass News first brought to you last week. Volunteers are now stepping forward after an elderly couple in Ware said a contractor took thousands of dollars and never finished the job.
After our story first aired last Thursday, the couple said the contractor paid them back at least part of the money and others have volunteered to get the job done.
We first caught up with 80-year-old Ernie Lambert of Ware up on his roof last week, trying to fix a number of holes he said were left behind from contractor, Mike Lyons. He told Western Mass News he and his wife, Anita, gave Lyons $4,000 up front for a new roof and to fix a bathroom.
That was in May.
The Lamberts said the check was cashed, some framing went up, then Lyons vanished.
Well, since our story first aired last week, the Lamberts said Mike Lyons did show up and gave them $2,000 back.
"Gave me the money, and he left, and that was it," Lambert said.
Lambert said Lyons also left behind building materials he had dropped off months ago, so he's happy to get the $2,000 back.
However, the problem of a leaking roof, which has led to damaged ceilings and walls, and a sinking bathroom remain.
"There's a lot of work to be done inside. I don't know when we're going to do it, but the roof is first," Lambert added.
The name Mike Lyons may ring a bell. For more than a year, we followed Rich and Helene Kagan of Springfield. They said they gave Lyons a check for $12,400 to re-side their Sixteen Acres home and build a garage. The work was started but, they said, Lyons vanished.
It turns out that the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation told us they revoked Lyons' license in 2009 for similar issues. The Kagans case went all the way to Hampden County District Court where, in February, a judge ordered Lyons to pay more than $9,000 in restitution.
Local contractor Jason Pecoy volunteered and, eventually, the Kagans home was repaired.
Now, other contractors are following suit to help the Lamberts.
"It makes me angry. It makes me angry how people do that and take advantage of anybody weak," said Dan Carney with DP Carney Construction in Springfield
Carney saw our story and has volunteered to fix the roof.
"We're starting from scratch, which is the permit process. He never did that," Carney explained.
A permit is now filed with the town of Ware. Carney says the fact that that didn't happen first, should be a red flag for any homeowner.
"You better see a permit. If they don't have a permit that means they're not registered with the state. They're not a construction supervisor or home improvement licensed contractor and you don't anything to do with them," Carney added.
Carney also advised to always ask to see a contractor's registration or license and never give money upfront.
"The first sign should be when someone comes in and talks about what they're going to do and then asks for money. You don't want to deal with that guy because a good contractor will never, that's the last thing that he's going to say is that I want money. We don't," Carney said.
We have tried contacting Mike Lyons, but have not heard back. In the meantime, other contractors have reached out to help the Lamberts who, we're told, will need extensive repairs not only to the roof, but inside the home including getting rid of possible mold created by months of a leaking roof.