HALTOM CITY (CBSDFW.COM) - It was supposed to be a dream home. It's turned into a disaster.
The Hodges family in Haltom City gave more than $30,000 in checks and cash to a Plano contractor to level and remodel their 50-year-old home. But, they said, they haven't seen him in three months. "I don't know what to do. I'm devastated," said Judi Hodges.
For Hodges and her daughters, 16-year-old Hadley and 22-year-old Haley, home is now a cramped, one bedroom, extended-stay hotel room. Their clothes are stacked against the wall. They pay $850 a month to stay there, even though they have a house just a couple miles away. They expected to be out of the home for a few weeks starting back in January. They've never gone back.
"This is some of his repair work," Hodges said as she showed the home to CBS 11 News on Wednesday. "It's already cracking again!"
Hodges acknowledges that her home was in need of some serious repair. That's why she hired True Level Foundation from Plano to do the work. She had money left to the family by her father-in-law, who died last year. She wrote checks directly to the man who represented himself as the owner, Raymond Link. Hodges said that Link convinced her he had a crew that could also remodel the home.
A quick walk through the house reveals serious foundation problems that still exist. Walls are cracking. The floor in one bedroom noticeably slopes downhill.
The rest of the house is gutted. New floors are bowing. Walls are not square. Empty soda bottles, are tossed among hammers, a wheelbarrow and random construction trash. A backdoor was taken out and replaced with bricks. A trailer filled with debris is sitting in the driveway, in the same spot it's been since March. On the window, Haltom City has posted a notice to cease construction immediately, because there were no permits for any work to be done.
CBS 11 News tried to reach Raymond Link and some of his past employees at several different phone numbers. No calls were answered or returned. A check of a recent address in Plano revealed a different resident in the home. A Richardson homeowner said that he had to evict Link from another house in Plano in April because of bounced checks.
True Level Foundation has an 'F' rating by the Better Business Bureau in Dallas for not responding to complaints. And Link is also tied to similar businesses in Spring, near Houston, which are the subject of similar complaints.
The situation has been even more difficult for Hodges. Her husband, Keith, died from throat cancer in March. She said the rebuilt home was something that he wanted for his family. He never got to see it before he died. "He entrusted that to me, and I feel like I failed him because I ended up with this," she said.
The Hodges stayed with friends for a few weeks. Their church has helped pay for some of the hotel stay. On Wednesday, she called a company that buys homes in disrepair, desperate now to recover any money from the home and the property.
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