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Thread: Liens and legal issues

  1. #1
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    Liens and legal issues

    I’m posting this as a point of information so that in the event any of you get yourselves into a situation like I have you’ll know what to do. There’s an unspoken rule that states ANY TIME you get to do electrical work on a commercial job – make sure you have a well written and signed contract.

    On November 15, 2017 I began working for a GC wiring what started out as a small amount of electrical work at a renovated tire center (installing a few receptacles and wiring a 3 ton AC unit). At the time the situation didn’t call for a contract and there was no set of plans on which to bid. Well, the job started to grow exponentially and a $5K job grew to a $23.5K job over the course of 3 months (new car lifts, 3 phase air compressor, lighting, etc.). On December 15th I was issued a check for $8K and applied it to the invoices accordingly but continued to do more work through January 2018. On January 11th the GC issued me a check for $15.5K for the balance with the understanding that I would hold the check until the following week when he got paid from the garage owners. Well, next week - led to next week - led to next week until finally it was almost 3 months. I consulted my attorney who advised me to deposit the check.

    Within 2 days the check came back NSF. At that point I brought all my documentation to my attorney. He then advised me that bouncing a check for that amount is fraud and we should go after the GC on criminal charges. A day later he came back to me and advised me that he was not able to file criminal charges because that had to be done within 45 days of the date the check was issued.

    Now, my next choice is to file a lien on the building (which is being leased by the tire repair company) for the outstanding $15.5K which I have done. It should be noted that in order to do that you would have to file the lien WITHIN 90 DAYS OF THE LAST DAY YOU WORKED ON THE JOB. Luckily, I fit into that time frame.

    What does all this mean ? Currently I’m out $15.5 K. The lien will stay attached to the building until the owners decide to sell that building. They will not be able to sell it until the lien is satisfied. That could be next week, next year or 10 years from now.

    The long and short of this is – make sure you have a contract. In all fairness you’ll always need to have some trust in the people you work for and that they’ll pay you but, as President Reagan once said “Trust But Verify”. Verify with a contract and get progress payments if you can.

  2. #2
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    Had you worked for this guy before...
    They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
    She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
    I can't help it if I'm lucky



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Alwon View Post
    Had you worked for this guy before...
    No. We met by chance and I must say he was the nicest guy you could ever meet. We worked well together and had respect for each other. I truly don't know whether he ever got paid from the owners but that's not MY problem. As it turned out, I had to take out a small business loan (which I'll pay back in a few months hopefully) to pay my Fed and State taxes. This is not going to break my bank but who wants to get beat for $15.5 K ?

  4. #4
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    And did he disappear off the face of the earth? Have you talked to him about this...Sometimes these guys are con artists and sometimes they get beat but you are correct, it is not your problem. He needs to take out the loan- not you
    They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
    She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
    I can't help it if I'm lucky



  5. #5
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    I left for a 2 week vacation on 3/3/18. Before I left he told me not to worry, have a good vacation and if worse comes to worse he would pay me out of his personal account. When I got back I texted him twice - no response. The following day I called and left messages twice - no response. That's when I realized that the BS was flowing and I deposited the check. It wasn't until 4 days later that he texted me and gave me the same BS that he had been giving me all along. Haven't had any communication with him in the last 2 weeks. Hopefully the lien will spark some response.

  6. #6
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    That much money I would be knock, knock knocking on the devil's door
    They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
    She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
    I can't help it if I'm lucky



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Alwon View Post
    That much money I would be knock, knock knocking on the devil's door
    I've tried the "nice guy" approach. Should I be knocking with a Louisville Slugger or should I just call "Guido" ?

    Granted, I'm annoyed at this but I'm not going to let it eat up my intestines (if you know what I mean). I just wanted to post this for any of our subscribers who don't know or aren't aware of the time limitations regarding criminal action and/or when to file liens.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
    The lien will stay attached to the building until the owners decide to sell that building. They will not be able to sell it until the lien is satisfied. That could be next week, next year or 10 years from now.
    I have heard, but I am not sure, that liens in Florida have to be renewed every year and there is a fee to do so.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coppersmith View Post
    I have heard, but I am not sure, that liens in Florida have to be renewed every year and there is a fee to do so.
    So far it's cost me $1K in legal fees to file the lien (and this is from a friend who is my attorney). I will have to ask him if the lien collects interest on a monthly basis if not paid. That might prompt a faster payment.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
    I've tried the "nice guy" approach. Should I be knocking with a Louisville Slugger or should I just call "Guido" ?

    Granted, I'm annoyed at this but I'm not going to let it eat up my intestines (if you know what I mean). I just wanted to post this for any of our subscribers who don't know or aren't aware of the time limitations regarding criminal action and/or when to file liens.
    You could also contact a debt collector and let them harass the guy into paying.

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