KODAK, Tenn. (WATE) — More people have complained about the unfinished work left behind by an East Tennessee handyman. They say the job he was hired to do was either sub-par, unfinished, or he never started.
A couple in Dandridge hired Tommy Rippy last year to replace their roof. Two weeks ago, WATE reported that Rippy received full payment for that job, but, he only delivered roofing material and didn’t honor the rest of his contract. Rippy started another job in Seymour but failed to finish it last spring. In addition, a couple in Kodak hired him several years ago, but he didn’t complete that job either.
Laura and Kelly have been fighting contractor Tommy Rippy for seven years. Rippy was sent by Smoky Mountain Electric, which had the contractor’s license to remodel the couple’s basement in Kodak. Rippy began the demolition in 2016 but didn’t finish it.
“It starts. Then two and a half days later with very little work done, we were left with a mess, a total mess,” said Kelly.
“They never came back. Always made excuses that something was wrong. They were either sick or had car problems or their kids were sick. This went on for months,” said Laura.
The couple went to the Sevier County Court House and sued Tommy Rippy and the electric company for $6,000 and services not rendered.
“The partner showed up, Tommy didn’t. We were able to prove they were connected. The judge found for us,” said Kelly.
Kelly and Laura discovered a dozen civil lawsuits against Tommy and Amy Rippy dating back 10 years. The cases range from non-payment of rent, and unpaid debts, to breach of contract.
“They lost every single one of them,” said Kelly.
The couple hired a second contractor to finish remodeling their basement.
The stucco applied to the front wall of Stephanie Barrett’s house by Tommy Rippy is falling apart. She hired Rippy in March 2023 after being told he had 30 years of experience.
“Here it is already flaking off. I’ve noticed more have flaked off since. This is all cracked up like it’s going to flake off. It just looks horrible,” said Barrett.
After paying Rippy half of the total upfront, she demanded the work be redone or a refund.
“They stayed in touch with me a little bit, but always had excuses why they couldn’t come back,” said Barrett.
WATE contacted the Rippys. Amy Rippy said it was raining when her husband, Tommy, applied the stucco. She said Tommy wanted to return to finish the job, but Barrett didn’t want him back.
Kim and Tom Westphal of Dandridge also hired Tommy Rippy to put a new roof on their home in September 2022. Rippy and his wife, Amy, were paid $7,500 in cash for supplies, labor, and a new roof. The job never started.
“I’ve texted with Amy quite a bit,” said Kim. “It was always, ‘we are going to get it done, we are going to get it done.'”
Rippy dropped off supplies two weeks ago saying he would do no more. Then on November 11, Flow Roofing Company of Knoxville installed a new roof on Westphal’s home believing the couple had been scammed.
“People are starting to come out of the woodwork,” said Laura.
Laura and Kelly say other customers of the Rippys have lodged complaints on the Next Door App. Whether it’s a roof that was left undone, or a botched stucco wall that was never repaired, investigators have suggested to the couple taking further legal action.
“Our plan is to meet with the grand jury on November the 27th. Let them see the cases and hopefully file felony charges against them,” said Kelly.
Two weeks ago, the Rippys agreed to repay Kelly and Laura $200 a month for that civil case won by the couple seven years ago.
“It’s sad. I don’t know why he continues to get away with this. Why aren’t people trying to stop him?” said Laura.
The payment plan from the Rippys that Laura and Kelly agreed to starts December 1. In a telephone conversation with Amy Rippy, she said, “We are good people and good-hearted. We try to do the best for everybody, and we don’t do people wrong… We have many satisfied customers.”
We’ll let you know what action, if any, the Sevier County Grand Jury takes against Tommy Rippy.