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Update: Widow uses smart phone to record crew doing damage to her backyard

Update 3/17/17 - Our In Your Corner team has new information involving local tree trimmer, Jesse Hackney.

The convicted felon is accused of using shady tactics to get paid.

Nash Raquel says he keeps trying to bully her.

“Had to finally call 911 because he was banging on my windows,” she said. “I thought he was going to break the windows. I was very afraid.”

Hackney filed a lien against Nash's property for payment on a job Nash says he wasn't ever authorized to do.

She says all she wanted from him was an estimate and when she yelled at him to stop doing the work, he ignored her.

Monday we featured another customer, Toni McDonald, who whipped out her smart phone and started recording Hackney and his crew allegedly damaging her property.

In the video you hear pleading with the men to stop cutting on her tree.

“I'm going to call the police and have you removed off my property,” she said. “He can hear me just fine. He's ignoring me.”

Toni's stuck paying for the damages.

Nash worries she'll be stuck paying Hackney's lien.

She says he keeps threatening her.

We asked attorney Roe Simmons to weigh in.

He says the mechanic's lien is in place to protect contractors to make sure they get paid, but it is possible for a contractor to abuse the law.

Only a bit of their information and a signature is required to file a lien with the county.

Hackney used a contract to file the lien with the county, but Nash says it was blank when she signed it.

“He goes, ‘Just put your initials here indicating I gave you the estimate so when I come back we already agreed to it,’” she said.

Nash has a couple of options:

  • She can hire an attorney and file a lawsuit against Hackney.
  • She can wait it out for a year to see if he renews the lien.
  • She can bond out of the lien.

“You can move to foreclose the lien and I can bond around it, so you're not going to foreclose my house,” Simmons said. “I'm not in danger of losing my house. I'm in danger of losing my money.”

Hackney denies any wrong doing and tells the In Your Corner team Nash knew good and well she was signing a contract and authorizing him to do the work.

We've put attorney Roe Simmons in touch with Nash.

We'll keep you posted on the case.

OKLAHOMA CITY - Toni McDonald has a bunch of damage on her hands.

The widow hired Jesse Hackney and his crew to trim the large tree in her backyard.

She said they caused more harm than good, damaging her cellar door, shed, fence and a neighbor's shed.

“It cracked it right here, and this was out like this when they dropped it on,” she said.

Hackney has a pretty extensive felony record, including second-degree burglary and concealing stolen property.

He's also currently on probation for illegally carrying a firearm.

McDonald said she had no idea she was dealing with an ex-con.

She recorded some of the damage happening with her smart phone and pressed Hackney to pay for the damages.

In one of the videos you can hear McDonald say “If you don't tell me [your insurance carrier], I'm going to call the police and have you removed off my property.”

We got the contractor on the phone.

He told us he didn't remember McDonald.

“I don't think I've done any damage,” he said.

He told us he is insured but then changed his story.

“Sometimes, I don't keep it up,” Hackney said. “I get busy, and I don't go down and pay it.”

 We told Hackney he shouldn't be trimming trees either.  

He said he’s retired yet, when he picked up our phone call, he answered by saying “Tree service. May I help you?”

Looks like McDonald's stuck paying for the damage out of her own pocket.

The In Your Corner bottom line:

  • Be wary of contractors who go door to door soliciting business.
  • Verify their insurance before letting them onto your property to work. 
  • Look for credentials.
  • Select a certified arborist here.