Oklahoma Tornado Survivors Victims Of Possible Scam

Friday, November 30th 2012, 6:49 pm
By: News 9

An Oklahoma couple is trying to rebuild after a deadly tornado last year, but a possible scam has left them out thousands of dollars.

The couple lives in Canadian County where a tornado ripped through in May of last year. They're thankful they survived and still have their home, but replacing the barn they lost is a costly burden they weren't expecting.

A powerful tornado ripped through Oklahoma May 24, 2011, destroying homes and a school in Calumet, west of El Reno.

Ranae Maberry and her husband took cover in their cellar.

Fortunately, their home was still standing, but they lost their barn.

"When the neighbors started putting in some of their barns, we just asked who they used, so that's who we went with," Maberry said.

They hired Tony Girod, a contractor out of Tecumseh, who said he'd build them a new barn for $16,500.

Ranae paid him $8,000 up front.

"And then [we'd pay] certain increments as they finished certain parts of the barn," Maberry says," when they poured the concrete, when they put up the sheeting."

But he didn't get very far.

Ranae says Tony promised the job would be done in four days.

On October 3, these poles went up. But since then, they haven't heard anything from the contractor.

"He didn't call to say why they weren't coming back out, and my husband attempted to call him several times, left a few voicemails," Maberry said.

Their calls were never returned, and then last month, his voicemail box was full when they tried to reach him.

"It's really disappointing," Maberry says,"it's frustrating, and it makes you start losing your faith in humanity."

Ranae's neighbors who hired Tony Girod say they didn't have problems, and when we called him on Friday, his voicemail box was still full.

Ranae says at this point. she doesn't want that contractor to finish the job. She just wants her money back.

The Better Business Bureau reminds people to be cautious about paying up front for a building project.

Also, investigate the track record of any contractor you consider hiring.