Getting Paid For Catastrophe Response
By Jon Isaacson
It should not be a surprise that responding to a catastrophic loss is not the same as getting paid for rendering services. While many look at our industry and think there is ‘easy money’ to be made, there is no such thing as easy money in general, especially when working with insurance companies and handling catastrophic events. Contractors who want to ensure they get paid for the good work that they do will want to tune in for the story we are about to tell.
What happens when help is provided by a contractor but a disagreement occurs when it comes time to collect payment? The customer typically will try to say something along the lines of, “Thank you for helping us, but…” Recently, one such issue came across the desk at The DYOJO Podcast I host. The case was RJ Construction (RJC) vs. Arlington Independent School District (AISD). The DYOJO Podcast released an introductory video laying out some of the key elements of this now-contentious situation.
RJC claims they dehumidified about 450,000 square feet of wet air within Sam Houston High School (Arlington, TX) for what they believed was an agreed-upon price of $2.50 per square foot, plus some expenses. The total amount invoiced by RJC at the completion of their work was $1,245,600. When the school district delayed payment, owner Robert Jordan took his case to the local community and to YouTube. RJC’s initial video on the dispute received over 33,000 views.
Jordan states, “I believed the AISD board could be trusted. So, my company went into action. Over the course of days, working around the clock, Sam Houston High School was dried and dehumidified. We did the job we were hired to do.”
Some people, even fellow contractors, watch this video or have read the Fact Sheet produced by AISD and concluded, “I got all the information I need. It’s clear this contractor’s a gold digger. RJC is just another opportunist that doesn’t know what they are doing; seeing only dollar signs and trying to get paid on the big one.”
Others, including local community members, have listened to what RJC had to say and read some of the court documents. They heard RJ Construction share their plight, “The AISD is hired a team of lawyers to claim that the district does not owe a penny for the hard and diligent work my company performed.” Some are concluding, “The school district is a bunch of crooks, probably in cahoots with the insurance companies, hiding behind sovereign immunity, trying to put a local company out of business.”
This dispute between RJC and the AISD will provide all parties with lessons that can be learned by reviewing the timeline from this response to winter storm damage at a local high school. There are many details to sift through and we invite you to join in the process, contact The DYOJO through our website if you would like us to email you our research notes. We will be joined by several guests including Bebo Crain (Arkansas) who has been combing through the court documents and Erick Hernandez (Texas) who helped restore several homes in the Houston area during this winter event.
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February 21, 2023