How not to do paving business

How not to do paving business

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A man identifying himself as Lee Gill visited The Martha’s Vineyard Times office Wednesday. He offered that his company would pave part of The Times’ rutted, potholed parking lot with asphalt left over from a previous job. He offered a price of $3 per square foot.

Though pressed repeatedly, he was reluctant to define the square footage of the job he would do, or provide a total price, because he said he didn’t know exactly how much asphalt was left on his truck.

Asked for references, he said he had done work for David, in Tisbury, which he pronounced TIZ-berry. He was unable to provide any other details about the reference.

As the negotiations continued, and while he held a cell phone in his hand, he said he needed to get his cell phone out of his truck. Then Mr. Gill walked down the street, got in the truck, and drove off toward Oak Bluffs.

The company name painted on the truck was Mass Roads. The late model white Ford 250 truck had Texas plates. A phone message left at the number painted on the truck was returned a short time later by a man who identified himself as Joe Gill. Joe Gill also refused to provide any information about references.

Earlier this week, West Tisbury police looked into the complaints of Sue Hruby, the treasurer of the Tiasquam Road Association. She said the same company approached her association with a similar pitch, paved a short section of Tiasquam Road, and presented them with a bill for $7,500. Ms. Hruby said the association considered the price excessive and the work sub-standard.

“They took advantage of our Vineyard honesty and trust,” said Ms. Hruby. “We had culpability for not nailing things down, but they weren’t the most ethical people.” The road association paid the crew $7,000 and said the check was cashed a few hours later.

West Tisbury police Chief Dan Rossi said it does not appear that anything illegal took place, because the road association did not agree on a definite price for the job in advance. He advised homeowners and road associations to clearly define the cost and scope of the work, before any work begins.

“It’s a buyer beware situation,” Chief Rossi said. He said the paving crew had done work for other residents, but police had received no other complaints.