Finders-Keepers-Lawyers-Weepers

From on November 18, 2008 in Remodeling News

Contractor NightmareSometimes remodeling can get a little odd. Even more often, money can set good friends at odds. Both were the case in Cleveland where a remodeling contractor, who was old friends with his client, discovered $182,000 stashed in an old bathroom wall. The ensuing hour’s-worth of dialogue appears to have gone something like this:

“Ooo-ee, hoor-AY!” (Bob Kitts - contractor)

HA-HA! YES! (Amanda Reece - homeowner)

Photos were taken, complete with wads of 1920’s cash and kid-in-the-candy-store smiles.

“Woohoo! Oh Yeah!”

“You can have 10 percent, it’s my house.”

“I want 40 percent, I found it.”

Then things degraded. The proverbial record player came to a screeching halt. The party was over. The two argued and argued and insulted each other until finally lawyers and courts became involved. By the end, the rather large family of Patrick Dunne – the man who stashed the money so long ago—was in on the case. Everybody was looking for their share.

It all started when Kitts was demolishing Reece’s bathroom walls during her remodel. He found two metal lockboxes inside the wall below the medicine cabinet. Needless to say Kitts got them open and found several envelopes (with “P. Dunne News Agency” written on them) full of fifty dollar bills from the 1920’s and 30’s.

Reece and Kitts were former high school classmates but still couldn’t work things out and, in the end, nearly lost it all. After Reece spent a decent percentage of it, after $60,000 was allegedly stolen and phone threats made, and after Dunne’s 21 surviving descendants sued for the cash, there wasn’t much left to go around.

I just can’t help but laugh at this wonderful fable; Aesop couldn’t have written it better himself. The moral being; if you find a stash of money with your friend, for God’s sake SPLIT IT UP! Greed and selfishness can be powerful forces, we all know that, but this was free money…found in a wall! Split it up, shake hands, and take a day or two off work. It’s that simple.

It is certainly a creative way to pay for your remodel.