'I thought 'Oh boy, I’ve been had'' – neighbors in need call In Your Corner after paving problems

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NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) –Norman neighbors are crying foul, paying for asphalt they say is suspect.

It started in early December. Ricky Birdwell was hoping for a slick looking carport drive, paying for asphalt work. The results left him underwhelmed.

“Soon as I pulled my truck onto it, there was big ruts in the asphalt,” he said. “I thought, ‘Oh boy, I’ve been had.’”

He paid $500 cash. Neighbor Donna Hall paid $1,600, hoping her dirt driveway would soon match the paved road.

“I’ve been saving up my tips and everything for a long time to even do this for Christmas,” she said. “I think it just looks like dirt with black tar over the top of it.”

A similar story was just next door. While George Young paid the least, at $420, the disabled Navy veteran needed the work done most.

George is wheelchair bound, and was hoping a sliver of asphalt on his dirt driveway, would help.

“So I wouldn’t have to worry about where I parked my car, get out of my car, get in my wheelchair and be able to get into the house,” he explained. “It’s crumbling as fast as it seems to be here.”

All three used contractor James Truesdale, who’s returning to In Your Corner after eight years.

In 2012, John Lovelace, a then 93-year-old veteran, turned to News 4 for help with his paving problems.

Truesdale back then, worked with our team, and returned John his money.

In 2020 though, no such resolution has been reached.

“I will get ahold of the folks out there and I will get this straightened up,” he said in a telephone call last month.

Truesdale claims Ricky, Donna, and George got what they paid for. Instead of a pure asphalt paving job, the contract is for “asphalt millings”. He tells News 4 over time, the work should properly pack in.

“I told them to drive onto it, use it like they normally do and it will pack in – it just takes time,” Truesdale said.

But Larry Patrick, Executive Director with the Oklahoma Asphalt and Pavement Association, took a look at the work. He says it appears the light layer of millings was likely not enough.

“Basically it wasn’t thick enough, number one; number two, it probably wasn’t packed the way it should’ve been, let`s put it that way,” he explained. “It’ll get you out of the mud, let’s put it that way, you’ll still have problems with it.”

Truesdale also claimed he’d fix the situation. When asked if he would be giving a refund though, he responded:

“It ain’t none of your business, I will take care of it.”

So, we waited. But in the nearly four weeks since that phone call, those involved say he’s only reached out to Ricky.

Ricky Birdwell says Truesdale offered to coat his carport drive in sealant again. Donna though has heard nothing. Neither has George, who now can’t use half his driveway.

“I won’t get on it with my wheelchair,” George said. “Don’t know if I’ll get stuck in it, not get out or what.”

George and his neighbors are now searching for options, hoping for help.

The Oklahoma Asphalt and Pavers Association advise customers to request references before picking a paver.

For a list of approved OAPA contractors, click here.

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