Oklahoma contractor falls behind on paying his bills

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NORMAN, Okla. - Eric Banks said yes to a large job.

“Like, a $30,000 dollar job,” he said.

Eric was subcontracted by Joe Nelson to clean the carpet in hundreds of apartment units at Aspen Heights in Norman - over 400 rooms.

Eric's crew from Ultraclean of Oklahoma did their part, turned in a bill and gave Nelson 30 days to pay it.

"He did not pay it," Eric said. 

Although, he did initially pay something - a $1,200 down payment.

Joe Nelson's attorney, Dave Batton, told the In Your Corner team his client isn't out to cheat anyone and the contractual issue was between Nelson and ownership at Aspen Heights, which resulted in Eric not getting paid.  

“[Ultraclean] stepped into help Joe finish something out and then Joe couldn't pay them,” Batton said. “He hadn't finished getting the money that he should have been getting.”

The In Your Corner team caught up with Nelson and his attorney in court in Cleveland County.

That’s where Nelson was pleading guilty to a separate bogus check charge.

We’re also learning the contractor's been under investigation by the Oklahoma Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit for bailing on a second project. 

“The only work that was done, I think a slab was laid,” Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “There was some demolition that occurred.”

Plus, there is another allegation of a second subcontractor not getting paid.

“Mr. Nelson, based on our evidence, has pocketed the down payment, the monthly payments, the subcontractor who did the concrete work was never paid,” Hunter added.

Batton tells the In Your Corner team Joe Nelson has every intention of paying back Eric and the others.  

“Yes, Joe intends to pay everybody,” he said. “He didn't want, like, stiffing anybody and not paying them.”

Batton claims Nelson himself got stiffed on several jobs and that created this perfect storm, putting him way behind on paying his bills.

“So that took all of his time and effort and money that he hadn't been able to pay everyone else, yet he tried to keep it going,” Batton said.

Eric sued Nelson and won, but hasn't been able to collect.

“To pause everything we do for a big job like that, it really hurts when we don't get paid,” Eric said.

Attorney General Hunter intending to send a firm message.

“This is not a game,” he said. “This is not something that our office is going to be patient with.”

  • If you're going to hire out a project, it pays to do some digging online.   
  • You can search the name of a contractor or business, or check a license, or scroll through our state's easy-to-navigate online court records here. 
  • Joe Nelson’s next court date is in June.
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