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Woman says she was scammed by Cordova contractor, files lawsuit

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Memphis woman who says she was duped by a crooked contractor has filed a lawsuit in civil court.

Latoya Stingley said she hired a contractor to do some work on a house she recently bought, only to be ripped off when he didn’t finish the job or pay back her deposit.

And as WREG uncovered, she’s not the only one.

The contractor, though, said that's not what happened.

Buying and flipping houses has become sort of a passion for Stingley.

"I like to of course go in there, fix them up, make them pretty," she said.

But when she hired DLC Construction in March to do some work on a house on Norton Road in Southwest Memphis, she says she was left with an unfinished job and scammed out of nearly $1,700.

"He was responsible for the roof, the windows, the flooring, the walls, the painting, the sheetrock," Stingley said. "And he was going to build me a new set of stairs."

They agreed on a $12,000 fee for the work, according to the contract, which shows Stingley paid the company’s owner, Dardanius Coleman, a $3,000 deposit. But when the work began, she said Coleman came up with excuse after excuse to charge more.

"Everything that he started to do, it was always gonna cost me more money," Stingley said.

That’s when she decided to terminate the contract and hire someone else to finish the job.

Stingley tells WREG Coleman agreed to send her an invoice, which she expected would reflect a refund for $1675 for the incompleted work, but that never happened.

"I sent him emails, I sent him text messages, and no response back," she said.

WREG found three other complaints against DLC Construction filed with the Better Business Bureau dating back to 2009, along with an “F” rating.

And online court records list five civil lawsuits against Coleman from 2009 to last month when Stingley opened her case.

"This particular contractor will run off with your money," she said.

But Coleman tells a much different story.

In a phone call to WREG Saturday, he said the contract made it clear there may be extra charges if the house had any damages, and that Stingley just didn’t want to pay.

As for those civil lawsuits, Coleman said he had no idea Stingley was even suing him, and that the previous cases were dismissed after he filed for bankruptcy. He said he was in the process of building a house and had taken out a loan, but the bank "went under."

Coleman also said his employees did more than $3,000 worth of work on Stingley's property, and that if he tallied it all up, she would actually end up owing him money -- not the other way around.

Coleman claimed Stingley's the one who breached their contract, and said he has no intention of paying her back a dime.

Stingley admitted she never checked DLC Construction's BBB rating before signing the contract, and said she wants other people to be more careful.

"I just want to make other people aware that just because they have a contractor’s license doesn’t mean that they’re going to always do what they’re supposed to," she said. "That doesn’t mean that they’re legit, because I feel at this point I’ve been scammed."