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Injured Marine Caught in the Middle of Home Builders Fight

A dispute between a charity and a contractor takes a nasty turn as a disabled Marine stands to lose his home.

Thu September 10, 2015 - West Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

POLSON, Mont. (AP) - A Montana construction company has filed a lawsuit that seeks to have a home built for a disabled Marine sold at a sheriff’s auction to pay what the company says it is owed for work on the project.

TCH Builders & Remodeling, of Polson, named the general contractor, Elements of Construction, along with Homes for Our Troops and homeowner Tomy Parker in the lawsuit filed in May. TCH earlier filed a $183,000 lien on the house. Phil Thelan, the owner of TCH, is seeking other damages, saying he was locked out of the construction site and assaulted by an EOC employee.

Georgia-based Elements of Construction Inc. filed a counterclaim in July, alleging Thelan delayed the start of construction and failed to pay his subcontractors despite receiving the money to do so.

EOC said it paid TCH nearly $137,000, had to pay $22,000 to Thelan’s unpaid subcontractors and then hire someone else to complete the work and correct problems with TCH’s work. It is seeking at least $90,000 in damages.

EOC said after it ended its contract with TCH in November 2014, an employee found Thelan on the property vandalizing the house. EOC said it was Thelan who assaulted its employee.

Massachusetts-based Homes for Our Troops, which bought the land and hired EOC as the general contractor to build the home for Parker, has asked that the lawsuit against it be dismissed. The charity also posted a bond to prevent any potential sale of the house.

Parker, a lance corporal, underwent more than two dozen surgeries after losing part of one hand and both of his legs in a bombing in Afghanistan in December 2010. He moved into the 2,650-square-foot, handicapped-accessible house in January.

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