Painting job on Gatlinburg woman's fire-damaged home left unfinished

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) - A woman in Gatlinburg has waited for more than half a year for a painting contractor to do the job. Her home was damaged, but not burned in last year's wildfires. The painter only worked two days and did not return.

With the extent of the fire damage to thousands of buildings and homes in Gatlinburg, local contractors have been busy over the past year. It took nearly six months for Lindy Wallis to find a painting contractor to work on her house. She finally found someone from Pigeon Forge.

When the deal was signed in May, she figured by the time he started painting in mid-June, the job would be completed within a week or so, but that didn't happen.

From her back deck, Wallis' home overlooks Gatlinburg, with a beautiful view. Fortunately, her home was spared by last year's wildfire, but there was heat damage to the structure.  So, she hired a local painter who first power washed the back porch, then in preparation to paint the house, windows were papered over and plastic was used to cover other windows.

Outdoor lights were disconnected and covered with paper, but after two days, the work stopped.

"He said he's busy doing other jobs," said Wallis, saying she called the painter several times.

The contract was signed on May 18 for $4,100.

"He wanted 50 percent deposit so I wrote him a check," said Wallis.

The check for $2,050 was written to Robert Jones of All Around Painting in Pigeon Forge.

"I trusted this man to do the right thing. He's not reliable. He didn't answer my phone calls. He just disappeared," said Wallis.

Since he disappeared, Jones never picked up two ladders left behind. A window broken by one of his workers was never repaired. Under one of the eaves, a little bit of paint was spread as well as some near the front door.

WATE 6 On Your Side went to Robert Jones' business address, which happens to his house. He wasn't at home last week, so we wrote him a note, stuck it on his front door and asked him to call He didn't.  So, on Sunday we called Jones to get his side.

He said Wallis wanted to "change the color of her house," but Jones said he had "already bought the paint." He said everyone is "on a tight schedule," and that's he's "been busy."

He ended by saying, "I have no problem returning her $2,050." He did just that.

Wallis said she received a full refund Tuesday, plus money to repair the broken window. She said Jones told her he "was sorry," that the long delay she experienced had never happened before to other customers.

Wallis is now looking for someone else to paint her house. She says she's grateful that she has her money back and is relieved she'll be able to have her house painted soon. She said it has not been an easy year since the wildfire. She said with power poles and trees down, she and her family barely made it down Wiley Oakley alive.



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