KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville mom has waited 11 months for a pool contractor to excavate her backyard and install an in-ground pool. She bought the pool liner early last summer, then hired a separate contractor to set it up last August, but the work stopped in November.

Tara Noel hired Hunter Mason, owner of HM Pools out of Sweetwater. She paid him nearly two-thirds of the cost in advance to excavate her backyard, build a wall that would support the pool, and install the metal sidings, already on site, for an L-shaped pool.

However, after receiving thousands of dollars upfront, Mason walked off the job leaving a mess behind.

“I gave him the money. He did a little of the work. A lot of the work was done wrong and he’s gone,” Noel said. “It is just horrible. It’s been a year of just stress.”

Noel believed that Mason would complete the pool, but she felt different after seeing the unfinished work in her yard as days passed.

“Every day you look outside it is just horrible. He just sucked me in, ‘I’m going to take care of everything for you. We’re going to get your daughter’s pool in. I’m going to have everything done and ready for you.’ I believed him. He’s just a smooth talker and he just leaves us,” Noel said.

Noel said at first she routinely received text messages from Mason, but then they stopped.

“The last time we had contact was Nov. 17. ‘Don’t worry about it, I promise I will not miss the deadline.’ From that point forward, from Nov. 17. I never heard from him again,” she said.

She added that Mason blocked her from contacting him. However, when WATE’s Don Dare called him, he answered the phone.

Dare asked Mason why did he start excavating the backyard, laying some gravel, installing part of the wall, and then quit.

“I overbooked myself for sure. No denying it. I will be more than happy to give her money back. I have two other families that we started. I paid them back. So, I want to make it right,” Mason said.

After being asked when he would give her money back, Mason said he would be in town Tuesday and will give her a cashier’s check.

However, the check did not come Tuesday.

Mason told Noel he will bring it on Sunday, July 24. Noel is keeping her fingers crossed that Mason will bring her the check.

With the money she gets back, Noel plans to use it to hire a new contractor to finish the pool, but she hasn’t found a contractor yet. She hopes to get the pool finished by fall.