I-TEAM INVESTIGATES: "It makes me absolutely boil." -- Hiring a contractor? This family's story could save you thousands

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Chances are you've hired someone to do work in your house or backyard, but chances are you also don't know the risk you're taking. Our I-Team is not just uncovering what can happen, but we're also helping you to protect yourself and hour home.

We begin with a Sky 12 view high above the Bonsack home. That's where the stakes are now: higher and hanging over their home.

"It's unjust. It's unfair," said Missy Bonsack. "It makes me absolutely boil."

We'll get to the problem now bubbling to the surface in just a minute, but first, let's talk about the problem that's been there for months now.

"Everyone says, 'At least you have the pool,'" Bonsack said. "You're right I do. But this is not what I paid for."

For starters, there's concrete evidence. You can see concrete still splattered on Bonsack's house. Some of it reaches the second story. The concrete that's on the ground is also splattered and cracking. There's a photo of a child appearing to work with concrete on the Bonsack's decking. That young boy was apparently part of the work crew that day. At night, the light illuminates the liner that's far from smooth, but photos of the electrical work -- or lack thereof -- is probably the most alarming.

Another builder, Pete Alewine Pool and Spa, was kind enough to fix it for free.

"He said, 'Look, I'd like to come out. Because we had an electrical cord running from our pump into our house," Bonsack said.

That already unsafe situation was enough to make a circuit blow often.

At least, 14-year-old Lucy Bonsack has been able to swim. While the whole family enjoys the pool, it's part of Lucy's medical treatment -- physical therapy, to be clear.

"With what she has, she has no skull, partially no skull, what was in the back of her head [was] removed," Bonsack said.

Aside from Chiari malformation, she also suffers from neuropathy and some other conditions.

"EDS, which is Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Postural tachycardia syndrome, which is disautonomia, and that's failure of the autonomic nervous system," Lucy added.

The family moved from Missouri because of our Children's Hospital. They told the Alfords this was a therapy pool. "It was kind of mind-blowing how they could do that to somebody. Because he knew the history of what was wrong and stuff," said Lucy.

Then, something else happened. Thomas Concrete of South Carolina, Inc put a lien on their home.

"And this one is for $4,000. It's almost $4,500," said Missy.

Another company approached them at the Columbia County Courthouse. On the day Bonsack watched the Alfords get arrested, she got handed one of the Alford's bills.

"'They no longer exist, so now we come after you,'" she said. It's a ripple effect that you could say allows the Alfords to hurt victims for a second time.

Like the Bonsacks, many of these victims still have a mess in their backyard.

We'll keep digging.

"Thank God for Meredith. Thank God for Meredith Anderson because we would be up a dirt creek because you've kept this in the limelight. You've kept it going, and you've gotten answers where we couldn't get them."​

Late this afternoon, our I-Team spoke with the credit manager for Thomas Concrete's corporate office in Atlanta.

"We are taking every legal action imaginable to collect from the pool company with all hopes this will be resolved immediately," said Janice O'Neal.

As we've has uncovered, Georgia Lina is closed, and the Alfords have filed for bankruptcy. The credit manager was not aware of this, so we wanted to know what would happen if the Alfords can't pay.

"We'll make a corporate decision at that time," she said.

We'll keep you posted on this.

Plus, if you have any work done on your home, you'll want to know about a lien waiver so you don't end up in this situation.

There are several examples of lien waivers to look at for an example. There are even contractors affidavits of release of liens to think about as well.