3OYS: Landscaper takes $10K, abandons job

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- Kyle Williamson and his wife, Jessica, have a specific plan for the North Phoenix home they recently purchased.

"So, if you look along this line here, this was supposed to be pavers along here and this was suppsoed to be synthetic grass that wrapped around," Kyle Williamson said as he showed us around his bare backyard.

Their plan started with hiring who they thought was a professional landscaper and contractor.

"Well, we really wanted something that we could use ... for the entire family. We wanted a space for our son to run and play in the backyard," Jessica Williamson said.

The Williamsons did some searching and settled on a company run by who they thought was a nice guy.

"His name is John Blaney and he owns Mountain Pass Custom Landscaping," Kyle Williamson said.

3 On Your Side looked into John Thomas Blaney and discovered a mugshot from a previous run-in with law enforcement.

According to paperwork, it allegedly had something to do with a bad check.

Regardless, Blaney is an unlicensed contractor who drew up a contract with the Williamsons and even presented them with a hand-drawn picture of some of what he could do to their backyard. He also said he would do their front yard. But first, he needed money -- a lot of it.

"It's $10,063.50," Kyle Williamson said.

The project started, and Blaney did most of the Williamsons' front yard. 3 On Your Side looked at it, and according to the couple, it was around 90 percent complete.

However, the backyard remains dirt with no work performed at all.

3 On Your Side went looking for Blaney and wound up at a North Phoenix townhome listed on his driver's license, but he had already moved out. We also went to another address he's known to stay at, but he had moved on from there, too. We also tried calling and emailing him.

An Internet search of Blaney does not provide glowing reviews of his work.

"We actually had a neighbor stop by to let us know that both she and another neighbor had lost a significant amount of money to him as well," Jessica Williamson said.

For the Williamsons, it's a bitter pill to swallow. They have to look at a bare, primitive, dirt backyard knowing they gave all that money to have something beautiful.

"It's a lot of money, so it's almost sickening that you've lost this, that you've given it to somebody and they don't seem upset about taking it," Jessica Williamson said.

Shortly before this news report aired, Blaney contacted 3 On Your Side. He acknowledged that he accepted more than $10,000 but claims the Williamsons fired him, so he never returned. The couple says that is a fabricated story. 

Regardless, 3 On Your Side reminded him that he is currently unlicensed and that it's illegal to accept work over $1,000 without a license. With that, Blaney told me he would contact the Williamsons and see if he could return most of their money.

3 On Your Side will stay on top of this one and let you know what happens.