Couple finds alleged crooked contractor on FOX 2
DETROIT (WJBK) - A viewer contacted FOX 2 saying that a man scammed her out of thousands of dollars and she tracked him down after he was interviewed on TV.
This couple moved back to Detroit from the suburbs to be closer to family and to help the city, but now they're regretting that decision because they say a roof job turned into a rip-off.
"My husband was watching the news this morning, he came upstairs screaming like, 'Come downstairs!'" says Vannesse Thomas. She and her husband, Ralph, had been looking for Kerry Hilton for two years -- only to find him on FOX 2. He was opining on the tragic hit and run on Linsdale and Northfield Monday.
"This man is on TV talking like he doesn't owe us money, like nothing happened," Vanesse says. "Like he won't be found or anything."
The Thomas family gave Hilton a $3,000 deposit to have their roof repaired and say Hilton took the money and ran.
"He sent us text messages and everything," Vanesse says. "He was going to pay us back so we're sitting there, saying we'll give him time. A couple months went by and we never heard anything else."
"He was moving house to house dodging us, changing his number on us and everything."
Two years later their roof is still leaking.
"It's very bad," Vanesse says. "It's leaking in my upstairs, in my bedroom. It has a big hole in it. Downstairs in my living room it's leaking really badly. It messed up my hardwood floors and everything."
The Thomas family filed a lawsuit and even got a $3,000 judgment.
But there was one problem.
"We couldn't find him," Vanesse says.
But FOX 2 did.
FOX 2: "They gave you a $3,000 deposit and you never showed up again?"
"Well that happened to be the roofing guy, umm I think his name is John," Kerry Hilton said. First, Hilton blamed it on A1 Roofing, then a subcontractor.
"First of all the job was so much and I worked it down for them so they could get a good deal and they did," Hilton said.
FOX 2: "It wasn't a good deal if they didn't get any work done and they lost $3,000."
"Yeah, through another person who I trusted and that's what happened," Hilton said.
Vannesse was reached on the phone to talk to him.
FOX 2: "He says he wasn't the guy to blame and he wants to rectify the situation."
Vanesse: "He has been saying that for a long time, he's lying that's not the truth. He's lying."
Vannesse and her husband are at a standstill, they don't have the money to fix the roof. And that's holding up repairs inside their home and without Hilton's social security number to garnish his wages, they don't know if they'll ever get their $3,000 back.
"It's very upsetting that we have to do live like this in a house where the roof is leaking," Vanesse says. "It's very upsetting. It's a problem because he's probably living okay while we're living like this."
Now the Thomas family says that if they can't get the money back they'll try to sell the home as-is. If that doesn't work they may have to walk away from it and move out of Detroit.