(WJBK) - All Wes McCartney's customers wanted were nice, relaxing koi ponds in their backyards. Instead, they got a bunch of fishy reasons he couldn't start their jobs.
Luther is an ex-military man who paid for a pond. William is an ex-teacher who paid for a pond. But, when it came time for the pond guy to do the jobs -- we're told he was always too hurt to work.
Wes builds Koi ponds for a living. At least, he's supposed to build Koi ponds. And while Wes may think he's quite a shark when it comes to business, FOX 2's Rob Wolchek is a barracuda when it comes to busting big fish.
Meet Luther. He's a nice guy who just wanted a place to relax in his backyard. He hired Champion Koi Ponds to put in a water feature with a stream leading into an old stagnant pond. Luther is a do-it yourself kind of guy, but he's overdone it.
"It's work I couldn't do,' he said. "I've had four heart attacks, four back surgeries."
Wes, the owner of Champion Koi Ponds, came out in April of 2016 to bid the job. Luther gave Wes a check for half the almost $6,000 project.
"He was supposed to start the work in July - and he never showed up," Luther says. That was july -- of 2016.
After a few weeks, Luther contacted Wes. Luther says Wes told him he had hurt his ankle on another job.
So, Luther kept waiting for his pond.
"Everytime I emailed him I got a different excuse," he says.
In September, Wes told Luther his job was dead in the water.
"He told me he wouldn't return my money; they were filing for bankruptcy and that was
about the end of the story," Luther says.
By spring of 2017, Luther still hasn't received any paperwork about Wes's supposed bankruptcy. In fact - he sees Wes still advertising for new business!
William has a similar story, too. Altogether, he says he gave Wes $10,222 to build his koi pond.
"He pitches a good game but he doesn't follow through," William says. "He said that he couldn't make it because he had a hernia operation."
William spent 35 years as a Detroit Public High School teacher. He's used to dealing with
excuses - and says that's what he got. Wes even claimed another hernia at one point.
"You've had two hernia operations. What's going on? When can I get my job done!?"
Finally, after demanding he either do the job or pay him back, Wes showed up and did the pond. But according to William, Wes shortchanged him and charged him for a bunch of things he didn't get.
William sued Wes. And guess what happened on the day of the court appearance.
"He called in, once again, and stated he's having a hernia operation," William says.
William won in court and Wes was forced to pay him back for equipment he didn't install.
William used the money to hire someone else to fix his pond.
The Hall of Shame producer called Wes to see if he'd build him a koi pond. Sure enough, Wes was ready to take the money of a new potential customer.
That's how Rob got to meet up with Wes. You can see the confrontation in the video player above.
Rob asked Wes about Luther's unfinished koi pond, and Wes gave the same answer -- they're filing for bankruptcy.
"I checked, you haven't filed for bankruptcy," Rob tells Wes.
"Well, not yet," Wes replied. "But we're getting ready to do so."
So, wait a minute. He's ready to take another deposit - and then file for bankruptcy? He's already got Luther and his wife's money.
"I really tried to do everything I could to help them," Wes said.
"What did you do to try to help them?" Rob asked.
"Well, I'm a single dad with two kids and I'm doing the best I can. Business was very slow at that time of season so...."
"So why didn't you go out there and do their pond?"
"To be honest, I didn't have the money to do it."
"He gave you three thousand dollars!"
"Hence why I'm filing bankruptcy."
"So you're a bad money manager, is that what you're saying?"
"Pretty much, at that time I was. Not anymore."
Who wouldn't trust their money with Wes now?
When Rob asked Wes about William, Wes assured him that's been squared away.
"Every business gets taken to court sometimes," he said.
You can see the full confrontation in the video player above.
Unfortunately, Luther didn't get his Koi fish - but he did get to see a bottom feeder. Wes, you're in the Hhhhhhalll of Shame.