FF12: Contractor does work for city housing program

Published On: May 19 2014 04:50:44 PM CDT   Updated On: May 20 2014 04:16:01 PM CDT

A contractor whose flooring job prompted a FactFinder 12 investigation also does work for the City of Wichita's Home Repair program.

Last Friday, we told you the story of Lakelia Hughes.  She hired a licensed contractor she met through church to install laminate flooring in her daughter's bedroom.

The work was poorly done with corners that didn't meet and sections that weren't cut properly.  It hardly looked professional.

Now, FactFinder 12 has learned the contractor, Tina Bland, and her business S&T Construction, are on a list of general contractors the city gives to customers of its Home Repair program.  Hughes received a copy of the list when she had a wheelchair ramp installed and referred to it when making her choice for a flooring contractor.

Bland has done painting jobs that taxpayers have paid for and the city has approved. However, she has not done flooring work under the city program.

FactFinder 12 became aware of this list last Friday.  Investigator Brian Heap made several calls to city staffers and was told repeatedly that no such list exists and that the city doesn't "endorse" contractors.

Monday, the city acknowledged it does exist.

"The list includes contractors that homeowners have selected.  We've inspected their work, found it to be satisfactory and felt comfortable putting them on a list," said Mary K Vaughn, Director of the Housing & Community Service Department.

Vaughn apologized for giving FactFinder 12 "bad information" last week.   She said members of her staff do keep a list of general contractors to help low income families in need of vital work such as roofing, plumbing or electrical repairs.

Vaughn acknowledged the use of a list could be interpreted as an endorsement.  She said her department will stop giving customers names of contractors and instead offer tips on how they can select one.

Lakelia Hughes's story has received a lot of attention from Eyewitness News viewers.  Some reputable contractors have also offered to fix her flooring for free.