MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 28, 2012

Resident, roofer at odds

Homeowner says contractor skipped out

By D.E. Smoot
Phoenix Staff Writer

— A chance meeting on his way home from church one Sunday last spring has turned out to be what could become the costliest trip Bobby Fisher can remember.

It was then that Fisher first met Cornell Fox, a contractor who has done business as Mr. Fixit and M&F Construction and Roofing.

Fisher was in search of someone who could tear off the old shingles from his southeastern Muskogee home. He spotted a sign on Fox’s truck advertising such services, and the two talked business.

The two met at Fisher’s home a week later, struck a deal and the homeowner forked over $7,300 in exchange for a promise that the work would be done.

Fisher said the next day he noticed a discrepancy regarding the actual size of his roof.

Fisher questioned the contractor’s calculations, and the two butted heads. Nearly six months have passed, appointments have been made and missed, and Fisher’s roof is in the same shape it was last May — in need of repair.

“I know I’ve been taken,” Fisher said about the deal gone wrong. “They’ve got my money, won’t give it back, and they haven’t done the work.”

Fox failed to return calls requesting his side of the story. A spokeswoman for Fox said his lawyer would call to discuss the matter, but the call never came.

Jared DeSilvey, a local lawyer who represents Fisher in the matter, said court dockets show Fox has been named as a defendant in numerous civil lawsuits. Some of those cases, DeSilvey said, appear to involve similar facts.

“He either doesn’t finish the job or, in my client’s case, he didn’t even start it,” DeSilvey said about the lawsuits filed against Fox that were reviewed in preparation of his client’s probable case. “The main thing I am after is trying to help my client recoup what has been ... taken from him and hopefully keep this kind of thing from happening to anyone else.”

Online court records show judgments were entered against Fox or his company in more than a half dozen cases, and two lawsuits — one in Muskogee County and another in Wagoner County — are pending. DeSilvey said he plans to add another to the list.

The Better Business Bureau gave Mr. Fixit Home & Business Repair an F after receiving seven consumer complaints during the course of three years. The consumer protection group’s website identifies Fox as the business’ sole proprietor.

The grade, the lowest on a scale of A+ to F, was based on three factors: the seven consumer complaints, the company’s failure to respond to two complaints, and two complaints that never were resolved. The report cites two instances in which Fox made a good-faith effort to resolve the complaints, but customers still expressed dissatisfaction with the product or service provided.

Fisher said he was contacted by Fox shortly after the Phoenix attempted to contact the contractor. Fisher, however, instructed him to contact DeSilvey. Fisher said he has found another contractor who offered to do the job for $5,270, more than $2,000 less than Fox’s bid.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.