First, by a roofing contractor who essentially robbed him of $5,000 and, secondly, by a system that left McRiner shaking his head in bewilderment and disgust over his lack of ability to achieve justice.
“It’s just really, really frustrating,” said the Halifax man who owns apartment buildings in Truro.
Last month, McRiner won a Small Claims Court judgment against local contractor Jody Sinclair of Best Roof Repairs.
The court judgment ordered Sinclair to pay McRiner a total of $5,289.50. Of that amount, $4,000 was for reimbursement of a deposit that McRiner paid Sinclair last August for work on an apartment building he owns on Dominion Street, $1,000 was for an insurance deductible fee and $289.50 was for court costs.
Not only does McRiner expect to never see any of the money he is owed, but when he went to file a fraud charge against Sinclair, following the judgment in Small Claims Court, he was told all his avenues for retribution had been closed.
“I called the fraud department at the RCMP … and so both them and the collection agency that I went to told me that you can’t go down the legal route now because I’ve gone through the civil route,” McRiner said.
“But I didn’t know that. I thought the only route I had was to take him to small claims court. But having done that now prevents me from taking legal action against him.”
McRiner’s issues began last August when he hired Sinclair to replace the shingles on his Dominion Street apartment building.
Sinclair had satisfactorily completed work for him on another building in the spring, McRineer said. And based on the trust built up during that job, he agreed to a request from Sinclair to pay a $4,000 deposit to purchase materials required for the second job.
Sinclair’s crew began the job, McRiner said, but after initially stripping some shingles off the roof, it was left improperly covered when last September’s heavy floods and winds passed through the area.
“So the tarps got ripped off the roof of my building and I had water damage to the whole inside of the building.”
That resulted in an insurance claim, which cost McRiner a $1,000 deductible fee.
After being unable to get Sinclair to return to complete the Dominion Street job, McRiner said, he fired him, asked to have his deposit returned and hired another contractor.
When he was unable to get the deposit back from Sinclair, McRiner took the case to Small Claims Court.
“The Defendant did not appear,” a judgment from the Jan. 7 hearing states. In the absence of Sinclair, McRiner proceeded to present the claimant’s case, the judgment says , and after proving “satisfactory service” of a notice of claim and “having established the merits of his claim…” a decision was rendered in McRiner’s favour.
Despite the judgment, and now with other legal doors of recourse shut to having criminal charges laid, McRiner is questioning the wisdom of the justice system in this regard.
“Now the police department, and that’s the law and I have to respect that … ,” The police department’s hands are tied because it’s a civil matter,” McRiner said. “I’d just like it to get it out in the area, do not use this guy.”
Calls placed to Sinclair for comment by the Truro Daily News were not returned.