LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - Over the past three years, some customers of contractor Tommy Dossett, of Lucedale, have called our station with complaints. In August 2016, we first looked into grievances against Dossett. He is paying back three of his customers, but what about others?
In the summer of 2016, I met with three homeowners who paid Dossett thousands of dollars to build workshops. The homeowners said Dossett took money, started construction, and then left, leaving them with just a frame.
Justin Henderson wasn't part of that first Action Report, but after seeing information on social media, he reached out to me three weeks ago.
Henderson said he hired Dossett's company, Big D Builders, in August of 2016 to build a 30x60-foot barn.
"Once I got my framework up and all, that was pretty much the end of it," said Henderson.Henderson said he paid Dossett more than $13,000, and only a frame was constructed.
I contacted Dossett on his cell phone. After I left him a message, he called me back.
I asked him how much money he would be willing to give Henderson?
"$5,000, right now," Dossett said.
After a week, Henderson said Dossett gave him a check for $5,000, but he wants Dossett to send him the remaining $3,000 over the next three months.
I also asked about the status of the complaints from my first Action Report. Dossett said he still owes people money.
Another person who called me following my first Action Report is Bryan Bernius, of Slidell, who hired Dossett to build a garage in August 2015.
"I gave him $5,000. That's what he asked for as a deposit, "said Bernius. "Never did get it built. Never did get my money back."
Bernius still has no garage 19 months later, so he filed complaints with the Mississippi Attorney General, the Louisiana Attorney General, and with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Department.
The Mississippi Attorney General's Office sent Bernius a letter, a response that doesn't sit well with him.
"Basically, I was told by the AG that they're just a mediator. They can't do anything to him. They can't give me any advice. They can't do anything but send him a letter. Sent me a letter saying that y'all need to try to work this out and resolve it," said Bernius.
I contacted the office of Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood for a response. I was told the AG's office can't comment on any investigation.
Bernius wants to know why the AG's office can't do something since he and others have suffered the same consequences.
"We're hard working folks," said Bernius. "We just want what we asked for, that's all."
After I told Dossett on the phone that I had paperwork with his signature on it, he told me he would call Bernius to work out a payment plan. Two weeks later, he has yet to call Bernius back.
-Don't give money until construction begins.
-Only pay what has been completed.
-Never give all the money up front
If you do those things first, you could save yourself thousands of dollars and many sleepless nights.