RICHWOOD, Texas (FOX 26) - Disabled Navy veteran Rollin 'Joe' Stutzman is making every effort to get tens of thousands of dollars back, after he said he paid contractors for work that was never done following Hurricane Harvey. To make matters worse, Stutzman said it was a nurse at the VA Clinic that introduced him to the contractors.
Stutzman said his one-story home in Richwood, Texas, was flooded with nearly 20 inches of water during the storm. The 75-year-old and his wife evacuated their home in August and have been living with their daughter in Lake Jackson ever since.
During a visit to the Veterans’ Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Lake Jackson in January, a trusted nurse referred Stutzman to her husband’s company to repair the home, saying that they would give him a good deal.
“(She) told me she’d make her husband make me a good deal because he’s a contractor,” Stutzman said. “I’m from a generation where you take people for their word.”
The Stutzmans made payments totaling nearly $30,000 in the span of about nine weeks. Stutzman said the contractors worked on the house for up to five months, but never finished a job correctly. From mis-measured counters, cabinets and tiles, uneven walls, exposed wiring and sheetrock-- Stutzman said nearly every repair job had to be fixed afterward.
Midway through the shoddy job, work stopped. No money was reimbursed and the contractors disappeared.
Stutzman said his wife liquidated most of her savings, and the couple now relies solely on his $3,000 disability check from the VA as their only source of income.
Stutzman said it appears as though other veterans at the VA Clinic had been approached by the nurse as well.
"We were at a meeting for disabled veterans and we asked if anyone has ever been approached by this lady at the clinic about her husband working and doing the contractor work. Four of them held their hands up," Stutzman said.
Stutzman has now made complaints to the VA, the Brazoria County Commissioner and has also filed a lawsuit against the business, hoping to find some ounce of justice.
A spokesperson with the Lake Jackson VA Outpatient Clinic says they are investigating the claims. They did not specify on whether the nurse still is employed.
All numbers associated with the contractor's business were out of service, as of Tuesday.
Stutzman said he had hoped to move back into his home last month, but has been delayed until at least December.