Bigger Church, Bigger Problems

DALARK (KATV ) - A new fellowship hall is a big deal... and a big investment... for a small town church.And in the case we're looking at tonight... the cost of that project doubled after church leaders picked the wrong man for the job. In the late 60's this particular Dallas county church was burned to the ground in the middle of the night.This time, they say the damage was done in broad daylight following a handshake and a contract. The Mount Olive AME church is one of several small churches in the small community of Dalark along Highway 7. It may be small...but it's getting bigger."We were just too crowded over there," says Neal. "We were just too crowded. So we needed some extra bathrooms and stuff like that so we decided to expand."As head of the church's board of trustees, Bobby Neal got three bids and went with the lowest one...Hog Nation Construction out of Malvern."He started off like gang busters," recalls Neal. "He was rolling. He was rolling."Three weeks later though Neal says progress had slowed to a crawl. He says that is when Hog Nation Construction owner Raymond Bogue started not showing up, not doing much work when he did show up, offering excuses and asking for more money.Eventually Neal says Bogue was paid $22,000.00...but did only about $10,000.00 worth of work. And much of the work that Bogue did do was inferior and had to be redone by the reputable contractor eventually hired to complete the project and do things right. Neal and his fellow trustees believe Bogue took advantage of their Christian nature. "I know he took advantage of us," says Neal. "And like I said...I'm the one, and I feel so stupid...because I was the one that handled most of this. And I guess I just got too trusting with it."We visited Raymond Bogue's Malvern home. He were told he was at work and that Hog Nation Construction no longer exists. Good news for the rest of us, but too late to help Mt. Olive AME church. (NOTE: Mr. Bogue did call us after this story was broadcast. He confirmed that he is no longer in the construction business and says he was paid $18,000.00...not $22,000.00...for the work he did. Mr. Bogue says the cost of installing an additional septic tank to handle the two new bathrooms was not included in the original estimate submitted by his plumber and that additional cost put the entire project over budget. He admits he wasn't licensed and said he didn't think he needed to be for a project under $20,000.00...which is not correct, and even if it was the original agreed upon price for this job was around $24,000.00. Mr. Bogue says he has nothing to hide and believes he did the best he could for the amount he was paid). Air date: July 18th, 2014