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Harvey victims claim contractor took money without finishing job

HOUSTON – Several Houston-area families told KPRC that a Porter businessman hired to build custom cabinets never completed the work, and in some cases never even started it.

Latoya Palmer’s unfinished kitchen in her Houston home was already a reminder of Hurricane Harvey’s damage. Palmer said her family of seven was hit again by a no-show cabinet contractor.

“This is the receipt that we paid $2,950 up front,” Palmer said.

Palmer said she paid the money in cash to Joe Hallermeier of Joe Hallermeier Custom Cabinets in January 2018.

The mother of five said Hallermeier requested half up front and promised to deliver the finished cabinets for her kitchen and bathroom a month later. Palmer said she hasn’t received her cabinets, only excuses.

“He wasn’t returning any of my phone calls, he stopped text messaging me,” she said. “He stopped reaching out through Facebook.”

Lisa Tate Stevens is also rebuilding after the 2017 storm damaged her New Caney house. Stevens showed KPRC her January receipt where she paid Hallermeier $6,250, a deposit for kitchen, bathroom and bedroom cabinets.

Stevens said only after putting pressure on Hallermeier did he deliver unfinished cabinet shells. She said he scheduled at least four different dates to return but never came through.

“Never showed up and then it was one excuse after another,” Stevens said.

KPRC was able to reach Hallermeier by phone Monday. He claimed both he and his girlfriend have been in and out of the hospital, that he lost all his staff and that he is running behind.

“They trusted you with their money and you’ve kinda been stringing them along for months, is that fair?” asked KPRC.

“I did 34 houses. It was only (inaudible) behind. It ain't like I tried to do it on purpose. I didn’t plan on getting sick either,” he replied.

When asked when Hallermeier thought he might be all caught up, he replied, “I don’t know. I’ll probably be dead by then (chuckles) the way things are going.”

He did say he plans to start next week.

A third victim, Sherry Willhoite, from Baytown, told KPRC she has filed a civil lawsuit against Hallermeier for the $4,000 she paid him in January for custom cabinets. Like Stevens, she received plywood shells.

Stevens and Palmer plan to follow suit if they don’t receive finished cabinets soon.