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Discount grocery paying plenty

Kristian Nelson doesn't have a contractor's license...yet he's contracting again.

JACKSONVILLE (KATV) -

A Jacksonville business that helps stretch grocery budgets says that helping families is getting more difficult.

That’s because the owners' plans for expansion have been sabotaged by their chosen contractor.

Allen and Karen West say they are having to pay many of the suppliers and people building their new grocery store twice.

Wild West Salvage grocery store was started with a building and two dozen folding tables.

Now the Jacksonville store employees 11 people and is visited constantly by families who enjoy the deep discounts on damaged cans and overstock items.

A new store is being built.

Kristian Nelson was hired to be the contractor...despite his lack of a contractor's license.

"Ah...we had a friend that told us he was in the business and that's how we got him," explains Allen West.

"When did you realize that things weren't going as well as you had hoped?"

"About a week and a half ago," says West.

That's when subcontractors hired by Nelson started coming to West with hot checks that they say Nelson had used to pay them.

The concrete guy...the electrician...the plumber...tens of thousands of dollars in invoices that West says should have been paid by Nelson...now being paid by him.

"Ah...he's took all of our savings (laughs),” says Allen West. “But ah..."

"It's tough," injects Karen West.

We looked for Nelson at his place of employment, Hawgz Blues Café at 5524 JFK Boulevard, and were told he was not there.

We visited his home on Idlewild Drive in North Little Rock and Nelson wasn't there either.

"We know we're not going to get our money back,” says a resigned Allen West. “But something needs to be done with him."

"I don't want him to hurt anyone else,” adds Karen West. “I want him to be prosecuted. I want him to be put away. I want him to pay."

Nelson did call and ask that we meet him back in Jacksonville at 4:30 pm. But as we waited he called again to cancel based on advice from his attorney.

The Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board has sent Nelson a notice to appear at a hearing on May 26th.

Air date: April 13th, 2017

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