Contractor Ditches Job Outside Harvest Home, Homeowner Seeks Help

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HARVEST, Ala. (WHNT) - A Harvest homeowner hired someone to fill the drainage ditch in front of his home. The work was done more than a year ago. The yard started to sink about a month after a contractor finished the job. The homeowner and his home remain left in an unsettling situation.

Scott Ritter emailed WHNT NEWS 19 wanting help fighting a runaway contractor.

Ritter's home is in a nice neighborhood. Lawns outside all of the homes are cut, cars are neatly parked in driveways and garages, but pallets lay in Ritter’s front yard.

They are there to help keep someone, especially children, from falling into a big hole. The hole formed after a contractor tried filling in a ditch. Where's the contractor now?

'We`ve got an issue right over here,” said Ritter.

Ritter uses the WHNT NEWS 19 camera lens to give a glimpse into his problem.

“This work was done by a contractor by the name of John Glenn,” added Ritter.

Ritter says Glenn landed on his front lawn in July 2012.

'We had a big open ditch here. My wife wanted it filled in and the culvert taken in. He said he could do the work,” added Ritter.

After all, Ritter's neighbor recommended Glenn.

“After he installed the culvert, probably 4-5 weeks after, we had a really heavy rainfall,” added Ritter.

The ground started to sink. The rain kept coming. The ground sank more and gravel made its way into a neighbor's yard.

“It looks like it pushed the culvert back with some gravel and debris underneath it. It rose up. It`s just not matching,” added Ritter.

Ritter called the contractor. The contractor checked out the problem. Scott says the contractor admitted responsibility and promised to fix it.

Ritter says Glenn never came through.

“It was one thing after another. It was one excuse after another. No, I can’t get there. I have another job,” added Ritter.

The homeowner is ready to launch.

“Did the phone game for a while, tried to look him up with the better business bureau and they never heard of him. I tried the North Alabama Contractors Association, but got no feedback from him there,” added Ritter.

Ritter's last attempt to make contact with the contractor was in May 2012.

It doesn't take mission control to tell Ritter what happened.

“I was pretty much thinking I had been Johned by John Glenn. Where I grew up, it was the phrase fly by night contractor, I am afraid he is not coming back,” added Ritter.

3, 2, 1…It's time for WHNT NEWS 19 to call John Glenn.

“It`s me. Yes sir,” added Ritter.

Glenn acknowledges working for Ritter. Glenn told WHNT NEWS 19 he checked with a co-worker after finishing the job and found out the ditch was covered.

It's covered all right, but Glenn might want to take another look.

“I have not been out there. I had no idea it was covered with wooden pallets. I had none at all,” said Glenn.

WHNT News 19 told Glenn, during a phone interview, it looks like things outside Ritter’s home were not done the right way.

WHNT News 19 asked, “Did you guys do this the right way?”

Glenn replied, “I tell you what, I don`t have a problem going back to look at it.”

Glenn said he would call WHNT News 19 back after making a call to Ritter.

WHNT News 19 never heard from Glenn again, but did call Ritter.

Ritter told WHNT News 19 Glenn sent someone over Saturday to work on the ditch. The work is still in progress. WHNT News 19 will let you know when the work is finished the right way.


  • Wake Up

    Deregulation leads to a “business friendly” environment that requires less responsibility from businesses. That type of thing leads to events like this. Fewer watchdogs = more problems.

  • Ed Worley, Jr.

    We the Owners of our property must grow up and find out that the best regulator of outside Contractors is our own Due Diligence. Mr. Ritter, or any of us, ought to understand that the Better Business Bureau has the track record of many businesses, and those who take care that their track record reflects well on their good work will be found in the BBB’s records and website. It is a hard lesson that many of us have learned the hard way – – The Low Bidder is not always worth even that little money, or the Chance Encounter is not often the most successful method of finding a contractor for earthworks; and the Owner has a duty to inspect the site at completion, prior to giving final payment. Mr. Glenn is showing an honorable intent, by paying a man to work on Mr. Ritter’s problem, a year and more after completion of his originally contracted work, and apparently without any warranty obligation but his own, Glenn’s, care for his reputation; his reputation, now being augmented, for good or ill, by our Channel 19 as a public service. There are lessons here that the public schools are not encouraged to teach, unfortunately for the students, and that too often, fathers fail to impart clearly to our sons and daughters before maturity or escape from the home nest. I have my own expensive experiences with my own mistake or two in a similar situation to Mr. Ritter’s, and he has my sympathy. I hope that Mr. Glenn will be able to deliver a satisfactory result and will emerge with an enhanced reputation.

  • Branko Pezdi

    Nope. Fraud is fraud, criminal activity is criminal activity. This has nothing to do with “deregulation”. This homeowner could have easily sued the contractor and won; why didn’t he? Businesses that defraud their customers do not stay in business for long, since that market niche gets rapidly filled by honest competitors. Furthermore, contrary to your implied assertion, the greatest frauds and excesses are committed by governments. e.g. EPA, Obamacare, USSR, since they are accountable to NOBODY and also tend to attract people that are more dishonest, lazy, unskilled, and power greedy than the general populace.

    • Wake Up

      Branko, sure it does. What is considered “fraud” and “criminal” is socially defined through our legal system of laws. Deregulation is a process of redefining what once was consider unlawful business practices. In other words, DE-regulating what was once regulated

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