Lexington couple living homeowner’s nightmare

Lexington couple living homeowner’s nightmare
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 4:17 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A Lexington couple has been living a homeowner’s nightmare after they say they were duped by a loan-appointed consultant and home contractor.

“I mean it’s insane, it feels like something you see on the news, it just doesn’t feel like something that would ever happen to you,” Shelby White said.

She and her partner bought a home in Lexington in December 2021. Their mortgage included a substantiation budget to rehab the property.

White reached out to the bank and says the bank appointed a consultant for their project. That’s how she says she met David Clark, a housing and urban development consultant. He suggested they hire True Blue Homes for the construction work set to begin in January 2022.

“You know, we checked him out online and there was no immediate red flags, so it was kind of like, why not?” White said. “We had had another contractor go through the bid process but didn’t quite get there, and we were quite ready to get things going and he was ready to jump into it, so it just kind of fit.”

True Blue Homes is owned by Travis Hale.

White says the work was slow to start but eventually got underway in March. She says Hale and others would show up at the home once or twice a week to work. However, surveillance video shows them playing darts in the kitchen.

“The beam got delivered and no one was home and it sat out in the rain for like a long time before somebody moved it up to the porch, so that was a huge red flag. Obviously, it’s going to be holding our house up, it shouldn’t be sitting in the rain,” Hale said.

Then came excuses and more delays. The last time they worked at the home was in April. White saved the text messages asking for updates and progress reports. She started noticing financial discrepancies in the bid and the contracted work.

Meanwhile, she, her partner, a four-year-old child and two dogs, still lived inside the home which was stripped down to the studs.

“We have no appliances, we can’t cook dinner. That stove doesn’t work, all we have is a fridge,” White said. “Thankfully, we have awesome neighbors, so if we ever want to use the stove they’re really nice.”

She says it became apparent the work wouldn’t be finished by the June 20th completion date. The couple then hired an inspector, who rendered the property structurally unsafe and said the work completed was substandard.

“We had wires like hanging from the ceiling, they were live wires. We have a four-year-old, we had to tie them up,” White said.

That’s when they learned that True Blue Homes had not pulled any permits for the work performed and was not even authorized to pull permits in Fayette County.

We spoke with Hale over the phone and asked about the civil lawsuit the family has filed against him and David Clark. After a long pause, he told us he had no comment and he would pass on our number to the person representing him.

WKYT also tried contacting David Clark, but the number we found is no longer working.

White says they’ve been appointed a new consultant and are moving forward with a different company to fix and finish the work. However, they’re having to do it with a substantially smaller budget.

She says she wants to share her cautionary fairy tale, with others.

“I mean, now we know they’re required to give a list and it should’ve been more than one person, but I feel like you don’t know what you don’t know,” White said.