Officials at a Milford church are concerned they might be out over $5,000 after a contractor hired to replace the building’s steeple failed to complete the project as promised. Months later, church officials are still waiting for answers.
Trinity Lutheran Church in Milford has stood the test of time. But the decades old structure needs some serious repairs.
Pastor Christopher Files said the church’s deteriorating steeple has been rotting for years.
“We exist only on the donations of our members,” Files said. That is why the church hasn’t replaced it.
Files said that last July the church moved forward with the project and signed a $10,500 contract with Trumbull Restoration in Plainville to renovate the steeple. The church put a $5,250 deposit down to begin the job.
He said the check was cashed a week later and was scheduled to begin in August. He said he was told the entire project would be finished by September, per the contract.
“We felt that Trumbull Restoration had a good sense of what we wanted,” Files said.
Files told NBC Connecticut that Trumbull Restoration came highly recommended by another Milford church that was happy with the company’s work. But the contractor didn’t make the same impression on Trinity Lutheran.
In September, owner Marcus McClellan notified the church it would be delayed.
Then, Files said it was one excuse after another for why the company couldn’t complete the work.
“They first had a problem with one of their trucks breaking down,” Files explained. “He let me know at one point that his father had taken ill.”
McClellan told the pastor the company was behind and the inclement weather would also put the project on hold.
“I was remaining hopeful,” Files said.
Files said he was patient at first. He told McClellan in an email that there was no hurry to complete it. But he started having reservations when things did not progress.
In February, the church sent a certified letter to Marcus McClellan get some indication as to where the project stands in hopes of bringing this project to a conclusion.
In the letter, the church also asked for a response in writing on or before March 1, 2018, which either offers an estimated date (or date range) for completing the project, or return their deposit of $5,2500.00, if he felt that he couldn’t complete the project as contracted.
Files said the letter was eventually returned to the church because no one at Trumbull Restoration received it. He then reached out to NBC Connecticut Responds.
Our consumer team attempted to contact Marcus McClellan multiple times through phone calls and emails, but to no avail.
We finally caught up with McClellan at his Plainville business to get his side of the story.
He declined to speak with us on camera. But he gave Responds this statement:
“I have a seasonal business and the church is on my calendar. I am an honest person and promise that I will go above and beyond to do the job.”
McClellan then told us to leave the premises.
Files said the church has filed a complaint with the BBB and the State’s Department of Consumer Protection and is now working with another contractor. The church intends to take legal action.
“It’s just painful when it happens to you,” Files said.