Problem Solvers: CBS4 viewer offers to fix woman’s porch after contractor bails

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -  A CBS4 viewer is stepping up and helping an Indianapolis woman whose house is in shambles.

In June, Beverly Smith hired Eddie Cox with E&M Construction to fix her falling porch and put down a driveway. She says she paid more than $10,000 up front and was told the porch would be done by the Fourth of July holiday.

Her house was beautifully landscaped before the work began. Her late husband had spent years working on the yard. But now, the flowers and bushes are gone and the porch is in disarray. There are even holes in her yard several feet deep. Cox never returned to finish the work.

"It's not. It's not right," said Smith.

Local brick mason Joseph Covey saw our story and immediately called our newsroom wanting to help. Covey works for Shackelford Masonry and knew he had to do something.

“I felt bad for her. For somebody to do that to her,” he said.

He offered to fix Smith's porch for free, if she could provide the bricks.

“It hurts me. It hurts the little guy that tried to go out and make a living and do this. And to earn their trust is hard to do anyway, but to go ahead and take their money also, it hurts us.”

Covey examined the porch for Smith and said it would have to come down all the way, because it wasn't even sitting straight.

"She said he’s got 45 years of experience. I’d give him 45 days," he said.

We ran a check on Cox and found a complaint filed against him at the Attorney General's office. We were told the office wasn't able to locate him in order to pursue any action.

We called Cox and asked him why he hasn't been around? He told us he had been in the hospital for high blood pressure and that Smith was "getting on my nerves." Cox said Smith keeps "complaining all the time about something..." and won't let him finish his work.

He told us he'd return to Smith's house to finish the project, but has yet to show up.

"It makes you want to cry," said Smith as she looked at her house. All of this hurts even more when she thinks about what her husband would think if he saw what had happened to his yard.

"My husband probably is like, 'Wow.' One of the last things he said to me was, watch yourself, and don't let anybody take advantage of you. That was one of the last things he said to me before he died."

Homeowners should get as much information about a contractor before handing over any money. Make sure you jot down the contractor's mailing address and license plate number so the Attorney General's office can find them later.

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