LOGAN COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Jeff Robinson was finally settling into his Oklahoma life. He’s now in a fight with a concrete contractor and hopes court isn’t on the horizon.
He comes to the Sooner State after years in the military.
“Air Force kind of dumped me off here after I retired,” said Jeff. “We decided to give the kids a little land so they could kind of stretch out, ride bikes.”
That kid-friendly home will soon be found in Logan County country.
But construction is behind schedule and concrete could be to blame.
“It’s just shameful,” said Jeff. “There’s a pattern, wish I had known about this earlier.”
He’s talking about contractor Mathew McRae.
Jeff hired Mathew and his company at the time, Bowen Dozer, back in August.
“Checked them out on the BBB, they had all great and positive reviews,” added Jeff.
Mathew’s many concrete tasks included pouring the home’s foundation.
But problems soon stacked up.
“Waviness in and out, and up and down, not to mention the extra concrete that was involved,” said Jeff. “This is my first from-the-ground-up project. So, I trusted him to be the expert. Turns out it was so much extra concrete.”
The work quality contrasted with Bowen Dozer’s A-plus reputation.
That reputation though was not built by Mathew McRae.
“I found out that company was repossessed from him,” noted Jeff. “So, basically he was operating under another man’s reputation.”
Bowen Dozer is the life’s work of a now-retired man named Dan Bowen.
Court documents show Mr. McRae agreed to purchase Bowen Dozer in October of last year.
But the Bowen family claims the payments were delinquent, sporadic and insufficient. They sued McRae this summer for their company back.
Mathew McRae is now doing business as Oklahoma Dozer.
“It’s just a shame right,” said Jeff. “If he does it to a 70 year old man, does it to a retired military disabled veteran pilot, where are his scruples?”
McRae’s legal issues don’t stop there. He faces a couple charges for bogus checks in Lincoln and Pottawatomie counties.
In fact, authorities arrested McRae while working on Jeff’s home.
As for the excess concrete, more problems have arisen. The concrete company has since contacted Jeff to tell him they were never paid for the nearly $30,000-worth of concrete poured.
That bill is past due.
“At that point, I realized we were in for a long battle,” said Jeff. “I do foresee lawsuits coming out.”
Mathew McRae is no local. Much of his contracting past is in North Dakota.
Tales of his alleged fraud reached the North Dakota state legislature.
Lawmakers in 2015 discussed a bill that would make certain fraud cases felonies.
At least one of Mathew’s alleged victims spoke to representatives.
“It is more of an issue that his character is to defraud people,” said Colleen Vetter to lawmakers.
We caught up with Mathew McRae at his home.
“He says I owe a concrete bill, and I say he owes me money,” said Mathew about Jeff’s project.
When asked whether he was defrauding Oklahomans, Mathew steadfastly denied.
“No, sir, I live here, I moved here,” he said. “Contractors get in trouble once in a while. I’ve done that, I’ve always paid.”
As for the battle with Bowen Dozer, Mathew said he couldn’t comment due to the pending litigation.
What about the past due concrete bill? Mathew claims he is making payments.
Jeff hopes he and Mathew can reach an agreement and finally get the project done.
In Your Corner bottom line, before you sign a contractor, do research that goes beyond business reviews.
Make sure to check court records, state licensing and more. Know who you’re getting into business with.