Community helps 91-year-old woman after remodeling nightmare

October 8, 2012

91-year-old Frances Major has called her Royersford house home since the 1950's

"I helped build and put the roof on and everything," Frances said.

60 years later, it needed to be remodeled.

The project involved the kitchen, the basement and the master bathroom.

Frances paid a contractor nearly $80,000 to do the work.

Frances' daughter Charry Schubert says she hired the contractor in September 2011, expecting the job to take 3 months.

But now, more than a year later -

"Every one of the projects that we contracted for is not 100% completely, fully done," Charry said.

Construction materials are everywhere in the home and the tiles aren't secured to the floor.

Charry worries about Frances' safety.

"It's not safe for her to walk on; they're not completely grouted down correctly," Charry said.

And the kitchen remained a shell.

That is, until Charry organized a community help day.

"The outpouring of the community, friends, neighbors has been amazing," Charry said.

Over one weekend, volunteers finished much of the remodeling work, although some items remain.

"The plumbing area is still not complete," Charry pointed out.

The contractor who got paid to do all the work is Kenneth Staiger, owner of Renovay Kitchens, Baths, and More.

He declined to talk to Action News on-camera, but by phone blames, among other things, conflicting requests by family members, discontinued products, and labor issues.

But Frances isn't Staiger's first dissatisfied customer.

The Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office has charges pending against Staiger for fraud, deceptive business practices, and other theft related offenses.

The Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office also says Staiger and his former company, Admiral Kitchens, have been sued by more than a dozen different homeowners.

Staiger says all the charges are "categorically untrue and false and the entire thing will be expunged."

Frances' daughter didn't check Staiger's background before hiring him, now Frances wishes she had.

Here's what else Staiger tells me about Frances' situation -

"I've never tried to hurt anybody ever...I've never taken 5-cents I shouldn't have...I'd never walk away from any client..."

Staiger also told me he would finish the work at Frances' home.

We'll be following up.

Here are more lessons to take away from Frances' story:

  • Make sure your contract has a start and a completion date and the contractor's signature.
  • Never pay up front and in full.
  • Save your last payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.

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