DAYTON — Stall tactics, shoddy work, or no work at all. Those are just some of the complaints that more than a dozen consumers have now sent the News Center 7 I-Team about a local fencing contractor. Many of them say the company took their money and ran.
The I-Team’s lead investigative reporter, John Bedell, first told you about the allegations against Dixie Fence South, LLC last week. Now, as a part of his consumer investigation, he’s uncovered prosecutor’s office investigators have the contractor on their radar.
Jim Davis, of Miami Township, gave the I-Team documents that show he gave Dixie Fence South, LLC owner, Rob Fraley, a 55% down payment – $11,000 for a $20,000 project – in March to install a fence at his home.
Davis said Fraley started the job but still has not finished it.
All the consumers the I-Team has spoken to said they gave Fraley a down payment only to have him not finish the work — or not even start the project at all.
Three of the 15 customers the I-Team has spoken with said they were able to get their money back.
But records show the other 12 have been working to get refunds for months, with no luck, saying they’ve been defrauded out of more than $81,000 collectively.
Court records the I-Team uncovered show three local families have fought and won in court to get their refunds from Fraley. “They had contracted for a fence, made a significant deposit, and after trying to deal with the matter and deal with Rob on their own, kept getting the runaround. ‘I’ll be out. The materials will be in. I’ll come and start the project.’ And he never followed through on any of his representations,” said Mike Sandner, an attorney with the law firm of Pickrel, Schaeffer and Ebeling.
Sandner is representing two families who sued Fraley in Montgomery Common Pleas Court for $13,000 and $15,000, respectively, and won court-ordered refunds in their cases.
The I-Team asked Sandler how much of that money his clients have seen since they won those judgements? “Mr. Fraley, pursuant to the agreed judgement, was supposed to make installment payments. And he did make one initial installment payment to each client – I think maybe $5,000 or $6,000 off the top of my head – but never followed through on the balance of the payments beyond that.”
The Montgomery County Prosecutors Office told News Center 7 that Fraley’s company is now on its radar. “Our office recently received a complaint concerning Dixie Fence South, LLC,” Greg Flanagan, a spokesman for Montgomery County Prosecuting Attorney Mat Heck, Jr. said in a statement to the I-Team. “Our Consumer Fraud Unit is reviewing the matter. If other consumers have complaints concerning this contractor, we urge them to call 937-225-4747 and speak to a Prosecutor’s Investigator.”
News Center 7 has reached out to Fraley several times for comment but had not heard back. On Monday, the I-Team spoke to his lawyer.
“I think it’s appropriate for a unit to review this,” Jon Paul Rion said of the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office probe. “It clearly, on its face, would look like a situation that requires an explanation.”
Rion, who is now representing Fraley, also told the I-Team, “I think the one thing that the community needs to hear and know is that he never intended, nor does he now intend, to do anything except for either provide the service that was contracted or return the funds to those that are no longer interested in the contract.”
Rion added there’s no doubt his client owes people either money or services, but said Fraley is trying to make good on his contracts. “There was an individual who was working for his company that contracted 200 jobs for some form of commission and frankly underbid the jobs and he over-promised deadlines. That put Rob behind on both those jobs and then also on the jobs that he himself had contracted with individuals … The message to the community is that he is going to make them whole. It’s just a question of whether it’s this month or next month, or the month after. But he has no other priority at this point except to make people whole,” Rion said.
As he stood in his yard in south Montgomery County and stared at his as-of-yet-finished fence, Davis said that’s all he wants. “Well, I’ve learned my lesson. I’m definitely going to check companies out before I hire them,” Davis said with a laugh. “But I just want this guy to stop.”
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