Homeowners dispute work done on homes

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Norman Woodard displays a sign labeling KL General Contractor as a lemon in the front yard of his home on Springfield Street in north Clovis. Woodard said problems in the house range from major issues to cosmetic ones.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Clovis residents Woodie and Kathy Woodard and Rebecca Cordova thought they had done their homework in choosing contractors to build or repair their homes, but they said their experiences turned into nightmares.

Both the Woodards and Cordova have won lawsuits against the contractors.

The Woodards’ house

The Woodards sought a builder in 2003 to construct the retirement home they had been planning throughout Woodie’s military career.

Impressed with model homes they toured and with the recommendation of a local Realtor, they chose local contractor Kerry Parker, president of KL Construction Inc.

But Kathy Woodard said as the project began, warning flags started appearing.

She said she and her husband were pressured to sign documents quickly. Also, Woodard said they started noticing they were billed for things that weren’t the features they had asked or were never done.

Woodard said their questions went unanswered.

“My husband would try to talk to Kerry, and he would just walk away and wouldn’t even respond,” she said.

By the end of a year, the project cost the Woodards around $350,000, well over budget. When they lost the rental they had been living in, Woodard said they were forced to move into their unfinished home.

Woodard said problems in the house range from major issues to cosmetic ones — from a bedroom ceiling that caved in due to leaks caused by a snow to mismatched, unleveled wooden trim.

Woodard said eventually Parker walked away from the job, saying he wasn’t going to put any more money into it.

“We’ll never be proud of that house, it will always be a sore spot,” she said.

Earlier this month, a Curry County jury found in the Woodards’ favor, issuing verdicts of fraud and breach of contract with awards of just more than $186,000.

But the judge hasn’t finalized the jury’s decision with a ruling, and KL Construction plans to fight the findings.

T’mara Parker, Kerry Parker’s wife and business partner, read a prepared statement Friday.

“Judgment has not been entered yet; post trial motions are pending and will be filed (this) week,” she said. “While the case is still pending and the judge has not made any ruling, we can’t make any comment.”

Rebecca Cordova’s repairs

In February, Cordova won a judgment for more than $29,000 from contractor Trey Sprinkle, who she said did shoddy work and violated licensing laws while repairing her tornado-damaged home.

Cordova said she hired Sprinkle on the recommendation of a co-worker and was impressed with his knowledge and confidence in doing the job.

But concerns surfaced quickly.

“One of the local lumber yards said I had to pay cash up front,” she said.

“They said, ‘We can’t deliver anything unless it’s paid up front because Trey has taken us for a ride.’”

Cordova said a local carpet store told her, “Boy, are you in for a good one,” when they learned the name of her contractor.

Cracks appeared in walls, vents Sprinkle had replaced fell down, interior bedroom paint “looked like a couple of teenagers came and vandalized the room” and a newly constructed porch sagged, she said. Eventually, Cordova said, the house failed three different inspections for structural, mechanical and electrical soundness.

Cordova said Sprinkle started dodging her. Eventually, she said, she fired him and Sprinkle retaliated by suing her.

Cordova, in turn, hired an attorney and sued Sprinkle for breach of contract, winning. However, he announced plans to file bankruptcy, and Cordova has gone back to court, claiming he breached the court judgment.

“I’m not going to see the money, I know I’m not going to see the money, but he needs to be stopped,” she said. “He put me through hell, but he’s still living in paradise.”

Sprinkle said he is preparing a new case to file in an Albuquerque court based on slander and misrepresentations by Cordova.

“She was completely pleased with the work that we’d done. Her house on the inside is immaculate,” he said. “I’ve done hundreds of jobs, and people were happy; all of a sudden you get this one lady, she knows how to play the cards very well… I just want this to be over with.”

When Cordova sued him, Sprinkle said he was already preparing for bankruptcy. Although he had a good case, Sprinkle said, he chose not to fight and just allowed the case to swing her way.

Sprinkle said he no longer does contract work.

Parker and Sprinkle are both still licensed contractors in the state of New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Construction Industries Division Web site.

On the web: www.rld.state.nm.us/CID/