WENTZVILLE, Mo. – There are fences and decks all over Steffanie Haertling’s Wentzville neighborhood. When her family moved here in May, they planned to have a deck built on their property.
“We asked some of the neighbors. They recommended Tri-County. They had done several jobs in the neighborhood,” she said.
The Haertlings called Tri-County Fence & Deck for a bid. The company is owned by Craig Sutton. His son Garrett bid on the Haertling’s job.
“He promised us if we paid in full, that they would be out here as quick as they could,” Haertling said. “As quick as they could get the materials.”
The Haertlings agreed and wrote Tri-County Fence and Deck a $9,400 check. Two weeks later, they invited Garrett back to bid on a fence project. They accepted his proposal and wrote him another check, this time for nearly $21,000. Fast forward to August. Work still hadn’t started and the Haertlings were concerned. They said Garrett told them his dad Craig was in charge.
“After about August 16th, we were just ghosted,” Haertling said.
Haertling shared text messages with FOX 2 that she received from Garrett Sutton. In them, Garrett says, “I’m very sorry for what happened but I was screwed over along with everyone else.” He sayshe has no ownership in the company or any attachment to the company’s bank accounts. He says he has nothing to do with Tri-County anymore.
“It’s frustrating, because now I’m starting from square one. We are out $30,495. We probably won’t see any of our money back,” she said.
The Haertlings are not alone. The Missouri Attorney General’s Office says it has received 52 complaints against Tri-County Fence & Deck. The City of Wentzville tells FOX 2 it will ask the board of aldermen to revoke the company’s contractor’s license with the city in a meeting next week.
FOX 2 spoke with Garrett Sutton about this situation. He says he feels sorry for the customers impacted by what’s happened and wishes he could fix it.
Garrett claims he worked in sales for the company, never held any ownership, and never had any attachment to the company’s finances. He and his partner have started a new company they say has absolutely no affiliation with Tri-County Fence and Deck.
Garrett tells FOX 2 his father, Craig, is not a bad man. He says this was not Craig’s intention, adding his dad is trying to navigate some complicated legal matters right now.