Barnes Construction contractor jailed, facing charges - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Barnes Construction contractor jailed, facing charges

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TEMPERANCE, MI (Toledo News Now) - What started when a person got in touch with Call 11 for Action to report a problem with a contractor, has resulted in that contractor facing felony charges.

"I just kept my cool saying, ‘Sooner or later something will happen.' And then when it did, I couldn't wait to call and tell my kids," said Ronald McPherson.

McPherson waited for more than a year for what he feels is justice. On Friday, Chris Barnes was arrested for a felony, accused of taking thousands of dollars of McPherson's money and never doing work he was hired to do.

Call 11 for Action first investigated this story several months ago. Chris Barnes Construction company signed a contract with McPherson in July 2011 to fix his roof, shingles, and the back area of his home. McPherson paid Barnes a $30,000 down payment. He said the reason he wanted the work done was to complete his wife's dying wish.

"In June, she was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. Her breast cancer came back. And we made it clear to them this was to be her retirement home, that we need to have the work done," explained McPherson. "As time progressed I said, ‘Soon she won't be able to walk outside to see the work that will be done.' And they said, ‘We understand your situation. We'll do everything possible to get the work done.'"

The work was never done. Helena McPherson died at the beginning of October. As he grieved, Ronald McPherson decided he wanted to keep his promise to his wife, even if she was not around to see it.

Barnes and his wife in January promised he would do the work, but never did. Other consumers also felt cheated by Barnes, which launched an investigation at the Monroe County Prosecutor's Office, leading to Barnes' arrest.

"It does stand out from other cases. It is a unique situation. He's trying to remodel the house for his wife. It pulls at the heart strings. But we're not reacting to that. It just demanded that there be some action taken," said Joseph Costello, Monroe County chief assistant prosecutor.

According to Costello, Barnes is charged with a larceny by conversion, which means Barnes took the money and never intended to do the work. It is a felony because the amount of money involved is more than $20,000.

Costello said this type of charge is rare.

"I think anytime charges are brought, they're brought publicly, of course. But it tells everyone what will be tolerated and what won't be tolerated. This won't be tolerated," said Costello.

McPherson is happy he called Call 11 for Action.

"I thank you for the time you put into it, because especially that time frame, I wasn't able to," said McPherson. "Without your help, I doubt if things would have gotten this far."

He also appreciates the support he received after the initial story aired on WTOL.

"People called and contacted me, and said, ‘We feel for you.' And they offered support. When that happens from complete strangers, it gives you hope," explained McPherson.

McPherson hopes he will be able to find someone else to finish the job.

"It was her dream to get it done. So when it's done, her dream is alive. And so that part of her is still with me," said McPherson.

It is possible Barnes will have to pay restitution. Even if that does not happen, McPherson said he can look forward to the future, confident his wife's dream will become reality.

On July 26, Barnes is being held in the Monroe County Jail on a $30,000 bond. He is scheduled for a pretrial hearing Aug. 6.

Barnes also faces a civil suit in Lucas County, after being accused by another consumer of taking money and never doing the work he was hired to do.

Read more on the original case.

If you have any consumer complaints, contact our Call 11 for Action staff. Visit Call 11 for Action online and fill out a complaint form or call 419-255-2555.

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