Thursday, January 31, 2019
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A pair of local pool contractors could be in even deeper water. After our I-Team started looking into Bruce Alford, Jr. (Gil) and his wife Heather, the mug shots started piling up. Now, documents are starting to pile up in bankruptcy court.
Usually, we report on court documents, but this time, our I-Team is listed in them. Exhibit G includes 18-pages of Meredith Anderson's Facebook posts and I-Team stories investigating the Alfords of Georgia Lina Pools.
One year ago today, Lauren Pearson and her husband handed the Alfords a check to begin the pool of their dreams, but the whole thing has been a nightmare for the young couple. All they got was an unfinished mess. "How could you honestly do that to someone? You know, knowing how much you're going to set someone back?" Lauren wasn't the only person asking those questions.
Our I-Team documented a lot of families set back a lot of money. Now, lawyers for a bank are using the I-Team's work in bankruptcy court. They are trying to prove the Alfords lied to get a Small Business Association loan. The Alfords also signed a form indicating "the loan proceeds were to be used solely for the purpose of operating Georgia Lina pools." Instead, the bank believes they used the $150,000 for everything but their business. They closed the business "a mere eleven days after the loan proceeds were disbursed."
Meredith Anderson: "Yeah, where is the cash?"
Lauren Pearson: "That's what I want to know. I mean, where is the investigation on these guys? Why isn't anyone watching their every move? Why were they let out of jail all these times. There's just no communication going on besides you guys, working your tails off."
Customers like Pearson paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for pools.
Meredith Anderson: "Do you think they knew what they were doing? Was this a scam operation?"
Lauren Pearson: "100-percent. Especially after seeing all of this and hearing all the other stories. This wasn't just a - oh shoot, we got our hands into too much. No. They lied up until the end."
The bank thinks that too, alleging they "unlawfully converted all collateral" "prior to bankruptcy" and to date "have offered no explanation" where it all went. "I want justice to be served for all of us. I mean, it's not just us. It's not just our money. It's this whole community. It's more than Columbia County. It's a lot of money," Pearson said.
The Pearson's finally did get their pool after paying Pete Alewine Pool and Spa to finish the job. She says her family absolutely loves it. But, they did have to pay for it twice. Now she hopes Bruce and Heather Alford have to pay for it too.
Our I-Team will keep digging.