Plumbing company sends lien notices to flood victims
DENHAM SPRINGS - Some people still rebuilding after the flood are getting a disturbing letter in the mail. They're being threatened with a property lien.
It's been mailed to a few dozen "FEMA Recipients," or people with manufactured housing units. The letter is from a plumbing company in Shreveport, Lane Mays Plumbing, LLC. The company tells 2 On Your Side it's owed about $150,000 and needs to pay employees for their work.
The issue is between two sub-contractors. The other sub-contractor is Southeast Utility Construction out of Pensacola, FL.
Tonya Sanchez is one of the people who got a notice in the mail. She almost threw it out because her name was not on the envelope. Instead it was addressed to "FEMA Recipient."
"I thought it was just garbage," she said.
After reading the notice, she's shocked but says this company deserves to be paid.
"It's terrible," said Sanchez. "I feel bad for him and I think it needs to be made right."
The notice says a lien will be filed against the property ten days after delivery of the notice if payment is not made to the notifying party. Sanchez' notice goes on to say the total amount owed to the notifying party is $1,695.50.
It's a step back for Sanchez who recently got some insurance money to repair her house.
"We see walls in our house for the first time in five months and you're excited about it. You get something like this in the mail that could potentially stop all that and hinder the process, it's not okay," she said.
Lane Mays Plumbing, LLC says it was supposed to be paid in full by November but has only received $10,000 from Southeast Utility Construction. Lane Mays Plumbing says it's owed money by a second company too. The plumbing company tells 2 On Your Side it sent out 40-50 notices to Louisiana residents and it wants a straight answer from the company it was hired by.
"Look, I'm a small business," said Lane Mays. "The $150,000 has already caused me trouble."
Thursday, Southeast Utility Construction owner Corey Wood tells 2 On Your Side, Mays has not signed a contract with him. Wood says he's repeatedly asked Mays to sign a contract and he has not done so.
Sanchez says she's hopes this is resolved soon.
"Hopefully there won't be a lien we have to deal with when we get back in," she said.
FEMA says it's primary contractor, a Louisiana based company has been paid and assures there are no liens on the MHU's, which remain the property of the federal government.
FEMA also assures flood survivors this dispute is between sub-contractors and has nothing to do with the homeowner's ability to remain in their MHU as they work on their permanent housing solution.