By Mike Rush
Belleville, IL (KSDK) - Every square foot of Pat Randolph's house holds a memory.
"This room and the upstairs room here, my husband and I built," she proudly pointed out.
Over 51 years in the Belleville house, she's had decades of family, holidays and many get-togethers.
"My husband was a musician and we used to have barbecues and parties here," said Randolph.
But lately those memories are clouded by sleeplessness.
"I do wake up all through the night wondering what's going to happen, you know," she said.
The 80-year-old, who prides herself on paying her bills early, is threatened with a lien on her home.
She blames Jason Pritz, owner of American Home Remodeling, the company that replaced her roof.
The subcontractor who says he installed new gutters as part of the job on Randolph's home, says Pritz didn't pay him. So Kenny Fields with Clinton Seamless Guttering did what the law allows, filed a mechanic's lien against Randolph.
"I hate to do this but I have to get paid too somehow," said Fields.
When Randolph called Pritz, she says she couldn't get a straight answer.
"He talks out of both sides of his face, as they say. Don't know what the man's going to say next," she said.
Something 5 on Your Side's Mike Rush found out first hand. During an initial phone call, Pritz told Rush he didn't hire Clinton Guttering. Then, in the beginning of what became a series of often rambling texts which included canceled meetings with Rush, threats to sue Rush and to call the police, Pritz stated the situation was not worth the aggravation so, he texted, he sent a certified check to pay the bill. Although, nearly a month later, the check had not arrived.
Only when Rush started knocking on doors from Wright City to Belleville to find him, did Pritz agree to quickly settle up. Fields set up a meeting with him to get payment and allowed 5 on Your Side to come along to finally meet Pritz.
But when the car pulled up, Jason wasn't inside.
Rush to the woman: "Are you with Jason?"
Rush: "Are you his secretary? Oh, that's my microphone." (as woman rolled window up on microphone) You've got to undo it. Who are you in relation to him? Could you ask Jason to meet us over here?"
No meeting, but Pritz, who Rush found out has a record that includes prison time for stealing, a conviction for passing a bad check and charges of not paying taxes, did call NewsChannel 5 claiming this encounter sent his secretary to the hospital.
Despite her alleged injuries, she was able to give Fields his certified check.
"You guys tracked him," said Fields. "I probably never would have got paid, even with the lien if you wouldn't have done this."
Fields released the lien on Randolph's house, meaning Rush had one more surprise visit to make.
Rush: "Hi, Mrs. Randolph."
Rush: "I want to give you this letter that takes the lien off of your house."
Randolph: "Oh, Mike that's marvelous. That's great. Oh, I feel wonderful. You don't know. That's just great. Yes."
The lesson in this is one we've touched on before. When having work done, demand a lien waiver from your contractor and subcontractors. That protects you if someone else doesn't pay their bills.