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Charlottetown woman says scam artist ruined her home

Liz Claybourne says a scam artist left her with a leaking roof.
Liz Claybourne says a scam artist left her with a leaking roof.

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Liz Claybourne cries every time it rains in Charlottetown.

That’s because while most can escape the weather in the comfort of their home, it’s not an option for her family.

Believing herself to be the victim of a con man who fronted as an odd jobber, the only thing separating the harsh outdoors from inside Claybourne’s home is a giant blue tarp over the roof.

“As hard as it rains outside, it pours in here,” said the Queen Street resident.

RELATED: Outpouring of support helping stop leaking of Charlottetown roof

Claybourne, who is on a limited income with a disability, said the ordeal began last fall when she had a small leak in her roof and met a man claiming to work for a well-known roofing contractor.

He offered to fix the leak for no payment if she came up with the supplies.

“He said (the company) was looking to do some charity work ... he wouldn’t charge me for it because he was doing the work for the lord and this roofing company,” said Claybourne, who agreed after having had a separate church group previously help repair her front step several years ago with no complications.

The man worked several days until a heavy snowfall and promised to return in the spring.

Later in the spring, the roofer made good on his promise to return but things began to change.

“It was taking longer and longer, what he was doing is he’d put one shingle up and come in and talk about the lord for four hours,” said Claybourne, “He’d tell me ‘the lord sent me to do this for you’.”

The offer of doing the work ex gratia also changed, and Claybourne soon found herself giving him roughly $30 a day from late June to August.

“He’d say ‘I got off work early today, it was too hot so they sent me home I thought I’d come here but I don’t have any money for smokes’... then he’d come in and say, ‘well I don’t have any money for lunch’,” said Claybourne.

The jobber then began removing cedar shingles from another area in the roof until there was no barrier and rain started coming in.

Unaware of the actual process of shingling a roof, after two months Claybourne was informed by a friend in late August that the renovation was questionable.

He also put the blue tarp over the exposed area in preparation of a major rainfall and Claybourne asked the jobber not to return.

After some digging, Claybourne soon found out about other families in the area that had similar experiences with the man.

She discovered he was “a drifter” from the Souris area, and also a hoarder.

When Claybourne went to inspect her backyard, which is uncommon because of her disability, she discovered more than two truckloads of garbage he left behind.

She was stuck paying for the removal.

Another surprise came when Claybourne realized her shingles and tar paper were long gone, presumably stolen when she asked him to not return.

“So now, even if I did get somebody to offer to do it I have no supplies,” said Claybourne, who has been unable to find help to either finish the roof or at least patch it up for the winter.

Claybourne said she contemplated filing a police report but decided against it.

“I had thought about it but like really what can they do,” said Claybourne, recognizing the issue as a possible civil lawsuit more than a police matter.

It was a former co-worker of Claybourne’s now living in Ontario, Sandra Lehr, that informed The Guardian of her experience.

“She won’t ask for help and I know she doesn’t really have anybody to turn to,” said Lehr.

While Lehr is hopeful someone may be able to help her friend before winter sets in, Claybourne is not as optimistic.

“I really don’t know (who to ask),” she said. “Every time it rains, I just sit there and bawl my eyes out because I don’t see an end.”

Liz Claybourne cries every time it rains in Charlottetown.

That’s because while most can escape the weather in the comfort of their home, it’s not an option for her family.

Believing herself to be the victim of a con man who fronted as an odd jobber, the only thing separating the harsh outdoors from inside Claybourne’s home is a giant blue tarp over the roof.

“As hard as it rains outside, it pours in here,” said the Queen Street resident.

RELATED: Outpouring of support helping stop leaking of Charlottetown roof

Claybourne, who is on a limited income with a disability, said the ordeal began last fall when she had a small leak in her roof and met a man claiming to work for a well-known roofing contractor.

He offered to fix the leak for no payment if she came up with the supplies.

“He said (the company) was looking to do some charity work ... he wouldn’t charge me for it because he was doing the work for the lord and this roofing company,” said Claybourne, who agreed after having had a separate church group previously help repair her front step several years ago with no complications.

The man worked several days until a heavy snowfall and promised to return in the spring.

Later in the spring, the roofer made good on his promise to return but things began to change.

“It was taking longer and longer, what he was doing is he’d put one shingle up and come in and talk about the lord for four hours,” said Claybourne, “He’d tell me ‘the lord sent me to do this for you’.”

The offer of doing the work ex gratia also changed, and Claybourne soon found herself giving him roughly $30 a day from late June to August.

“He’d say ‘I got off work early today, it was too hot so they sent me home I thought I’d come here but I don’t have any money for smokes’... then he’d come in and say, ‘well I don’t have any money for lunch’,” said Claybourne.

The jobber then began removing cedar shingles from another area in the roof until there was no barrier and rain started coming in.

Unaware of the actual process of shingling a roof, after two months Claybourne was informed by a friend in late August that the renovation was questionable.

He also put the blue tarp over the exposed area in preparation of a major rainfall and Claybourne asked the jobber not to return.

After some digging, Claybourne soon found out about other families in the area that had similar experiences with the man.

She discovered he was “a drifter” from the Souris area, and also a hoarder.

When Claybourne went to inspect her backyard, which is uncommon because of her disability, she discovered more than two truckloads of garbage he left behind.

She was stuck paying for the removal.

Another surprise came when Claybourne realized her shingles and tar paper were long gone, presumably stolen when she asked him to not return.

“So now, even if I did get somebody to offer to do it I have no supplies,” said Claybourne, who has been unable to find help to either finish the roof or at least patch it up for the winter.

Claybourne said she contemplated filing a police report but decided against it.

“I had thought about it but like really what can they do,” said Claybourne, recognizing the issue as a possible civil lawsuit more than a police matter.

It was a former co-worker of Claybourne’s now living in Ontario, Sandra Lehr, that informed The Guardian of her experience.

“She won’t ask for help and I know she doesn’t really have anybody to turn to,” said Lehr.

While Lehr is hopeful someone may be able to help her friend before winter sets in, Claybourne is not as optimistic.

“I really don’t know (who to ask),” she said. “Every time it rains, I just sit there and bawl my eyes out because I don’t see an end.”

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