Family accuses contractor of misusing construction loan, stalling project

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MUSKEGON COUNTY, Mich. — Kailee and Eric McMillan, along with her mother Karen Stephens, say a local contractor took off with a construction loan worth more than $15,000.

The family said they signed a contract with Joe Ferrier in July 2018. After Ferrier, the owner of 4 Star Builders, got the first draw of funds from their credit union, the family said he delivered $1,000 in materials and a dumpster but didn't do any construction.

"We have no more money left," Kailee McMillan said.

The family said the work that has been done was performed by other subcontractors they ended up hiring. Subcontractor Raul Alviar expressed guilt for having picked Ferrier as the general contractor.

"He talked so smooth that I figured he was going to be the right man for the job. But in turn, it wasn't," Alviar said.

Alviar said Ferrier owed him money for previous projects and now believes Ferrier used the family's loan to pay him back.

"We never had a discussion that money came from there. Joe owed me a lot of money, and he had given me a check," Alviar explained.

"He gave me a total of 8,700 (dollars) I believe it was, and two (thousand dollars) went back to him," he said.

"I feel sorry for Kailee," Alviar said.

"This was her dream home, and I dropped the ball," he added.

The family filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau that Ferrier responded to.

"(Joe) contradicts himself throughout the entire thing saying we have an agreement. We don't have an agreement. I'm not his client, but I am his client. He didn't take the money. The bank gave it to him, but the bank didn't give him the money. They put it in someone else's account," McMillan described.

When the Problem Solvers reached out to Ferrier, he said he was ill. He said he'd be willing to meet up for an interview, and we gave him several weeks to do so. After the first phone call, Ferrier avoided talking on the phone and opted to email. His emails have gone on tangents unrelated to the case in question. His story about the actual situation is inconsistent. Ferrier did say he's the victim in all of this and is owed $10,000.

McMillan said, "We just want to finish our house. We don't want damages or restitution. We just want to finish our house. We need a place to live."

The family said Ferrier owes them about $13,300. They say they also had an attorney write him a letter, but Ferrier did not pay up.

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  • Rose Christopher

    This same man screwed me out of my house also!!! Refused to do repairs on the home we were living in. My daughter was injured, we went without heat or electricity for MONTHS. No hot water either until we took it upon ourselves to fix the hot water heater. Attempted to sue him at least for our deposit back that he spent and lost. It was a nightmare!! I always try to steer people away from him. He cost me and my family well more money than what i had

  • Frank Gallagher

    Isn’t that amount of money grand larceny which is a felony??

    File the correct paperwork and at least get this guy arrested so he will share a room with his cousin the prindle swindle guy.

    These guys are trash getting satisfaction out of destroying people’s lives.

  • Shana

    While I don’t condone the contractor’s actions the guy in this story Eric McMillan is a piece of crap himself I say karma buddy what goes around comes around!

  • John

    He did same thing to me on 2017, took almost full payment and left about $25k unfinished job. He didn’t pay sub-contractor and my property got mechanic’s lien. He did lots of jobs without permit, inspector found that and held the project. My unfinished house sit there for over half year at non livable condition.
    I end up fired him and hired other contractors and paid over $20k to get the job done. He didn’t refund me any, he said he had no money.
    I’m surprised to hear that he did same thing again, because city knew him abused his construction license, and his license is still valid, not been revoked.

  • Micole DeJohn

    Raul Alviar’s business did the same thing to me. Opened up my roof, ran off with $3,500 and left my roof open. This caused over $40,000 dollars in damage! Thank goodness for house insurance, because he hasn’t given back a dime!

  • Paul Goll

    My wife and I tried to deal with Joe Ferrier as our broker to sell a house.
    He always had excuses and go off on tangents.
    At one point I requested to cancel our contract and he threaten to sue for comitions.

  • Richard Kozal

    I got sucked into this last night based on the fact that I could put together 15 thousand dollars worth of help . Only to find out they need 50 to 75 thoushand dollars worth of work. I Also asked for help wit my Insurance co at the same time . No word on that .

  • Nugroho Nicho

    When my partner and I separated last year I was struggling to cope on my own with 2 kids emotionally and financially. With the help of a small loan from Now I was able to get back on my own two feet again with less stress and in a steady time manner. Thank you once again for your kind service and helping hand.

  • Media Hit Jobs

    So, how about facts on this story? No lawsuit against him? No charges against him? Yet he is convicted by the media and the public. Contractor is approached by Raul Alviar who claims to be a subcontractor that owns Wolf Lake Construction. In fact this man is not even licensed. He lays claim in the story that from the construction loan taken out that he had been paid $8,750 of money owed to him and he gave back $2,000 to the owner that took out the loan as a kick back. The contractor had NO debt to Alviar at all and had fired him from his own personal work based on substandard work and illegal activities. The contractor never took any funds himself, as the owner of the house who is friends with Alviar directed the Credit Union to put a couple thousand dollars into the contractors account and the remainder into Wolf Lake Construction account owned by Alviar. Every piece of paper shows that the contractor, Joe Ferrier did not transfer or put any money into Alviars account. That was devised by the owner and Alviar. The contractor saw the deposit and questioned how it was deposited without his participation. The credit union verified that it was at the direction of the owner. Mr. Ferrier was not even in town and the owner stated that since Alviar was the subcontractor and the job needed to be started, that it was ok. The contractor, Joe Ferrier filed a lawsuit against the owner and filed charges of theft from Alviar. Both were pending court. The owner and Alviar threatened Mr. Ferrier with publicity if he did not drop the charges and negotiate a settlement. At the time that the reporter was doing this story he wrote that Mr. Ferrier was avoiding him. Clear records show that Joe Ferrier was in the hospital with pneumonia.

    • Marigold

      Thank you for posting that clarification. I’ve heard of that raul guy. He has committed numerous felonies in every muskegon municipality.
      Apparently they keep letting him go because he tattles on drug dealers and other low lifes he knows in order to stay out of prison.
      And Joe ferrier is certainly the actual victim here.

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