BRIGHTON, Tenn. — On a steamy weekday, Mary Pickey stood under a large tree and stared out at the rest of her Brighton yard.
Pickey and her husband Aubrey moved from Memphis to Tipton County about 20 years ago. Their property sits on more than an acre.
“That’s one thing I wanted once we moved out where we were was to have a lot of trees,” she said.
But with that, comes a lot of maintenance. In the summer of 2018, they needed help.
”We had this tree trimmer business named Lee White come out and in the back he trimmed and cut down a cypress tree that was dying. Then he came back several weeks later and trimmed down the stump," she said.
Soon she needed another two trees cut down, so she called the same business owner a few months later.
She pointed to where Lee White and his crew cut down an elm tree out back and a pine tree out front in November 2018. She paid Lee's Trimming Services $950 for the job. It was also supposed to include stump removal. But nearly 10 months later, the stumps were still left in her yard.
She had text messages showing White continually promising to come and finish the work, first in April, then again in May and finally in July.
When he never showed up, she called WREG.
“Very frustrating, especially since he doesn’t tell me the truth. He says he’s gonna come and he doesn’t show up. I think a business needs to be built on trust,” she said.
WREG tried reaching Lee White multiple times but his phone went to voicemail.
Finally, on a Friday afternoon, he answered.
We told him we were calling on behalf of Pickey as well as her neighbor, who’s waiting on White to come back to finish fixing her yard.
White told us he let time get away from him.
“My machine was broke down and then I forgot about it," he said. “I’m not trying to get out of nothing. I’m more than glad to do it.”
He promised to then complete the work the following Monday when we could be there to shoot video of it.
"Meet me there Monday,” he said.
But White didn’t want to wait for our cameras or face our questions. Instead, he showed up unannounced at the Pickey’s home the next day.
She shot cell phone video of him and his crew finally finishing the job.
We went back Monday to take a look.
“This is what I was waiting for. Now we can spread it out or dig it up," Pickey said. “I can’t give y’all enough credit. I’m just thankful to Channel 3 because I don’t think if y'all hadn’t contacted him, he wouldn’t have come to grind the trees down.”
WREG asked Lee White about that when we talked him him on Monday on the phone. He disagreed and again took full responsibility.
“Ma’am, I’ve been in the tree business for 30 years,” he said. “I apologized to the lady. I apologized to her husband. Told them it was my fault.”
But for Pickey, it’s not enough. She could never trust him or refer him after this ordeal, she said.
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