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FOX 8 Defenders: Nine months later, fence contractor delivers gate to JP homeowner

Nine months after signing a contract to fabricate and install an iron gate for a Jefferson Parish homeowner, fence contractor Chris Chauvin of Crescent City Ironworks has resumed working on the project. This is the third similar instance involving the same contractor.
Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 11:10 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - A local fence contractor who’s been the subject of several Fox 8 Defenders investigations spent time today working on a Jefferson Parish job that should’ve been completed last year.

Chris Chauvin of Crescent City Ironworks delivered the new iron gate yesterday and this afternoon, placed it on the sliding track that runs across the homeowner’s driveway.

He signed a contract last September to fabricate and install the iron gate in Old Metairie.

After nine months and payments totaling 3,300 dollars, all that had been installed before this week were iron posts.

In June, the Fox 8 Defenders started asking questions, and the Jefferson Parish sheriff’s office told us detectives were investigating.

While there’s been progress just this week, the work’s not complete.

There’s a gap between the gate and the homeowner’s fence.

The contractor says he’ll have to build a panel to close it off.

He also needs to add another coat of paint and remove the bags of concrete that were left on the property for months, hardening over time.

ORIGINAL STORY

Nine months after signing a contract to fabricate and install an iron gate for a Jefferson Parish homeowner, fence contractor Chris Chauvin of Crescent City Ironworks has resumed working on the project. On Thursday, Chauvin delivered the iron gate that will eventually slide across a track that was laid just this week on Bobby Sanson’s Old Metairie driveway.

Chauvin tells the FOX 8 Defenders weather prevented his crew from welding on site and finishing the job Thursday. He plans to be back out on the job Friday morning.

It’s a job that was supposed to be completed last year. When the consumer couldn’t get answers on the unfinished work he paid thousands of dollars for, he turned to the FOX 8 Defenders who are familiar with Chauvin.

“He came and he dug those (posts) up, and he put these new ones (posts) in, and then I never heard from him again,” Sanson said. That was in November, leaving Sanson’s backyard open and exposed for months. He wanted Chauvin to fix his iron gate because it had become tough to slide open and close.

“He (Chauvin) said it was just a piece of junk.. that it couldn’t be repaired,” Sanson said.

The homeowner ended up signing a contract with Chauvin to fabricate a new iron gate that would stretch across his driveway. The contract was signed in September 2020.

“I gave him $300 in cash that day,” Sanson said. He also gave Chauvin a cashier’s check, for $3,000. Nine months and $3,300 later, up until this week unprimed, unpainted iron posts were all that had been installed at Sanson’s home.. an unfinished job that’s left his backyard wide open.

“I just thought I’ve hit this guy at a bad time in his life. He’s going through a rough patch and we all do,” Sanson explained. Then he heard about our FOX 8 Defenders investigation.

“A friend of mine actually saw your broadcast on Chris (Chauvin),” he said. He doesn’t know them, but Sanson’s experience sounds very similar to Lisha and Rob Fink of Lakeview and Uptown homeowner Cynthia McCray.

“Well they’re not primed, they’re not capped.. they’re just there,” McCray told us last year. Several posts lined the side of her home. It’s the only work that had been done nearly five months after she paid Chauvin and Crescent City Ironworks a $3,250 deposit for an iron fence. For the Finks the wait was nearly 16 months. “He said he was gonna have this thing up in a couple of weeks. We had the poles in place before the Super Bowl that year, and that was the last work that was ever done,” Rob Fink explained.

Once again, a bunch of posts and no fence was the only work that had been completed around the Fink home, and that’s after payments to Chauvin totaled nearly $6,000.

Three different homeowners, yet three very similar experiences with the same local fence contractor, each spending thousands of dollars to add an extra layer of security to their homes.

“He gives you a story of well I’ve been sick, or my mother’s been sick or she’s got Covid or my workers are out,” Fink explained. “That’s been your problem for five months now, you argue.. you telling me you’re coming. I can’t rely on your conversations,” McCray said in a phone conversation with Chauvin last year in the middle of our interview with her.

For Sanson, the excuses were all too familiar. “It was just always the same story. I’m gonna be there. I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna take care of you buddy,” Sanson said.

He heard about our FOX 8 Defenders report in late 2020. We tracked Chauvin at a shop in Kenner where workers were welding, and he saw our second report earlier this year when I spoke with Chauvin by phone and through email. He explained he had trouble finding dependable workers and was trying to cleanup unfinished jobs.

In both cases, he ultimately finished the job, and the consumers were satisfied.

Remember, Sanson signed his contract in September 2020. “He didn’t put the poles in until like November so he took like almost two months,” Sanson said. A note on the contract spelled out the iron gate would be done in ‘two working weeks from the time the poles were set.’

When months went by with no work, in February Sanson filed a complaint with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, and in late May he reached out to the FOX 8 Defenders. We jumped on it, reaching out to the JPSO and the contractor.

Soon after, the sheriff’s office explained its property crimes division was investigating. Sanson tells us a detective suggested he send the contractor a certified letter detailing the work. He says he and the detective called the contractor and agreed to give him 10 weekdays from Monday June 21st to finish the job and install the driveway gate.

For the third time, I reached out to Chauvin in June. He explained, he was working to finish the job by Friday, July 2nd. He wrote in an email, “Ms. Brown I have every intention to take care of the mans job.” We confirmed work resumed at Sanson’s home this week. Workers laid a new track across the driveway for the new sliding gate, and they’ve hauled away the old gate.

A few hours before this report was scheduled to air, Chauvin called explaining he delivered the new iron gate to Sanson’s home Thursday, but won’t be able to finish the job until Friday. Friday is the last day of the 10-day agreement the homeowner made with the contractor to finally finish the job that was supposed to be completed last year.

If you’re hiring a contractor, the Better Business Bureau suggests you get three quotes, research the company, get a physical address, ask for references and check out their work. The BBB also suggests you get a contract with performance dates and pay in installments as work is completed.

If you’ve got a consumer-related issue you’d like us to look into, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women or fill out our online complaint form.