Growing Family Conned By Contractors

MITCHELVILLE, Iowa — A Mitchellville family needs help after they say they were conned out of thousands of dollars by an unscrupulous contractor.

Bob Overlin knows he made a mistake when he hired a friend of a friend to build an expansion on his home. It was a gentleman’s agreement — no contract. But the contractors were no gentlemen.

The Overlins say they were conned out of about$15,000 in labor and thousands more in materials because the contractors did shoddy work and took off long before the job was done. Now they’re out of money. And the Overlins, all nine of them, are crammed into what’s left of their small, two bedroom house.

“We’ve got two bedrooms that we’re trying to put to use as much as possible for storage and sleeping and got a kitchen that’s kind of going as a kitchen/laundry room. and we’ve got the bathroom that all nine of us are sharing,” Bob Overlin says.

His wife, Helen, says the stress is unbearable. “There’s a lot of arguing. A lot of tension. A lot of nerves. Everybody’s just on everybody’s nerves,” she says, “A family can’t live in a house like this. No family. Especially with as large as ours is.”

The Overlins still have the materials to fix the addition. They say they just need a reputable contractor who is willing to donate the time to finish the job.

If you are willing to help, please call Aaron Brilbeck at (515) 240-7696 or email him Aaron.Brilbeck@whotv.com.

32 comments

  • chrisbet4

    If there are no contractors with enough workers available to donate their time, could this house get finished similar to the way a Habitat for Humanity house is built? I don’t know how to build a house, but I do know how to use a drill, circular saw, hammer … and I would happily donate time. I’m sure others would too.

  • David overlin

    I may be a little partial on this matter, but this truly is a good family. They are the kind of people that give Christians a good name. They are incredibly generous to their church and to our community. If ever there was a family that didn’t deserve this to happen to them, it’s this one. If there are any contractors or carpenters out there who could make a difference in the lives of this very deserving family, please speak up!

  • Adam

    What an irresponsible family. Responsible people don’t have “gentlemen’s contacts”. Just because you’re nice doesn’t mean you’re smart. Maybe they should have prayed harder and God could have made the renovations.

    • Josh

      Let me start of by saying I am not a religious person, but attacking this families faith in God just makes you look like a fool. So they made a bad decision, I’m sure you’ve never made one in your life, you have probably never received any help from anyone either. Give me a break.

    • Curt

      First off trust is not irresponsible, Naive yes. And thousands of people every year are victims of this. Yes I say victims. Because they had an agreement. The builder did not follow through. Contract or not, it should have been done. I’m a plumbing contractor, I do things with contract so there are no misunderstandings. However, lack of a contract is not a green light for abuse.

  • Hugo S LaVia

    I think it was great of WHO to make this the top story last night (or this morning, I have heat stroke) and giving it six minutes.

    NOW, let me tell you about MY problems …

    • Jess

      Read the story again ….slower this time Troy….SEVEN kids….all 9 of them are living in the two bedrooms and sharing one bathroom. That would be SEVEN kids + 2 Parents = family of 9,

  • Jay

    I’m not a licensed contractor but I’ve done house renovations since I was young with my dad. I would be willing to donate my time to help. I can wire, plumb, flooring, shingle, etc…

    • David overlin

      This weekend a lot of volunteers are coming out but very few have experience in framing. If you could lend some time and direction for these people it would be greatly appreciated.

      • Jay

        Hi Dave….do you know what the address is? What all do the group of volunteers have as far as tools? Do you know what time they plan on starting? Do you have any idea if there were any blueprints drawn up that show the addition? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to get an idea of what shape the addition is. Thank you. If you want, my email is onestepcloser22@yahoo.com.

  • Dan

    It is impressive how many people want to help. Another example of: Check licenses, Check insurance, etc. It only takes a minute to say I want to see your license.
    This year alone I have gone into homes where friends of friends didn’t finish the job 6 times.
    Then there is the advertising reputable ones, we fix it right stuff, ok let me change this and this and this and you get a bill for $ 500.00 but we fixed it right. Well with all new parts it should work right.
    Or the famous, we can’t get parts for that old thing story. Or we saw it on TV so we didn’t mind paying $ 5000.00 more than my neighbor for the same thing. Or I wonder how that guy has new trucks. Guess who just helped pay for it. Or the famous service contract, you get a discount for cleaning, regular $ 125 but on the contract it’s only $ 100.00 for a cleaning, and everbody else does iif for $ 89 anyway. But you get 20 percent off parts. Why do you need 20 percent off parts for new equipment that should be under warranty? Then there’s the cheap guy, ok he just paid 20 bucks for that faucet at a store, same thing contractor grade and it costs 50 bucks more. Problem is the 20 dollar one is only going to last about 2 or 3 months. Get the picture? It’s hard to sort it all out but remember this, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

  • Dan

    If you think a good contractor is expensive., wait till you try a cheap one.
    You should only pay 60 percent up front, 30 percent and 10 percent when it’s inspected.
    And don’t hide from inspections, they are for your benefit, and the contractors both.
    Sorry they found out the hard way. But contracts cover both the buyer and the seller.

    • Curt

      I myself charge 50/50 . This covers most of the materials cost so I don’t get in a bad situation, and it makes the customer feel secure that there is enough money left in the job for me to complete it.

  • Erin

    I am amazed at how many rude people have commented here. This story isn’t about their faith, or how many children they have, or their jobs. It’s about the fact that this family was taken advantage of by someone claiming to be a professional. Not every homeowner knows exactly what to do or who to call. Bravo to those trying to help this family.

  • timolrn515

    Ok. First, there were trying to help a friend out. Yes, they were naive about a lot of things. But this family goes above and beyond for so many people. Sometimes to a fault. If you have to err, I guess that is where I would want to come down.

    • Jess

      Um…were they trying to help out a friend, or where they trying to save a buck? I understand how it happens..happened to me to. I had worked with a woman for 15 years. her won was an independent contractor, agreed to do some work for us. His kids and ours were friends, we thought we knew him. We worked everything out verbally, nothing written. This should have been a BIG RED FLAG!! Well, my husband ended up doing about 1/2 the work because ‘we hadn’t agreed to that, but, he’d do it for $x more’.
      We should have just hired someone and gotten a contract.
      But, it was OUR mistake, We dealt with it. We didn’t go to the public and say ‘gee, because we didn’t do our due diligence, we are now in a situation we can’t afford, can someone else come fix our problems for us? ‘
      I feel bad for this family, it is truly disgusting that this ‘friend’ took advantage of them. But, I’m also tired of the sob stories and people wanting something for nothing because of their bad decisions. Every time you turn around someone is taking up a collection for something . I guess people don’t have to take personal responsibility anymore. Just put your story on social media and someone will take care of all of your problems for you.

  • Terry

    Thanks much for your positive comments!! Sounds like these people need help- not negative feedback!!! Thanks to all the positive comments!!

  • Greg

    I personally believe that none of us should judge, worry about the problem or point fingers. We live in the U.S.A. We should all look out for one another. Big or small, easy or tough. Regardless of the situation everyone needs help from time to time. Thank you too every who has helped. Feel free to email or call me for questions comments or concerns.

  • ASI

    Due to the dishonesty of the homeowner, ASI will be removing themselves from the project. We wanted to help after seeing the news broadcast, unfortunately the details that have come to light have made it impossible to qualify this rebuild project as a charity. Refunds will be coming back to each and every one of you who donated. We appreciate your support and regret to inform everyone that the situation was anything but what was initially reported.

    We stated from the beginning that we did not personally know this family. We were just a local company and group of people who saw a news report about a family in need and wanted to help.

    • Joe Robinson

      So what exactly were they dishonest about? You saw the whole story on the news, the Overlin’s are some of the most honest people I have ever met in my 38 years on earth and for you to drag there name through the mud shows a lack of charchter! They were up front with you about everything and what now you have cold feet and don’t feel like doing the work so you are going to call them dishonest to save face? If it were up to me there would be a defamation of character law suit in your immediate future! The way I see it ASI is really no better than the contractor that ripped them off in the first place by making false promises. Guess ANY press is good press huh?

  • Beverly

    You clearly are not well informed of the situation. And shame on you for wasting this family’s time and providing false hope. Way to use this family’s unfortunate situation to get the name of your business out there.

  • ASI

    The unfortunate part of the situation is that we didn’t have the full details of the situation prior to agreeing to help. We saw the news report and our hearts went out the the family. It wasn’t until we were in the middle of it that we learned the whole story. We have been in business for over a decade and have no need to try and get our business name out there.

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