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Motor City Blight Busters, contractor at odds over bill

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John George said he thought he had a pro bono deal with a contractor for work on the Motor City Java House.  (Credit: Fox 2 News) John George said he thought he had a pro bono deal with a contractor for work on the Motor City Java House. (Credit: Fox 2 News)
DETROIT (WJBK) -

There are two sides to every story.  Motor City Blight Busters told Fox 2 they entered into a pro bono deal with JC Beal Construction, but the company's attorney says that's not true, and they have the paperwork to prove it.

John George of Motor City Blight Busters and his wife, Alicia Marion, owner of Motor City Java House, are on the hook for a lot of money -- more than $133,000.  It's money they say they don't owe.

"We didn't call JC Beal.  They called us.  We were told all along the way that it would be at no charge," said George.  "We might owe Fred Beal and JC Beal something, but it's not $68,000.  It's nowhere near that."

This week a judge awarded Beal Incorporated and JC Beal Construction two separate judgements upwards of $60,000.

Beal attorney Nora Lee Wright said the lawsuit was a last resort.

"When he wouldn't sign the settlement agreement and wouldn't make any more payments, that's when I filed the default," she explained.

George told Fox 2 News they thought upgrades and investments in Motor City Java House were pro bono.  George said he was shocked to learn he had lost a judgement since he claims he was never notified of the lawsuit.

"It's an absolute lie," Wright said.  "I know for a fact Fred Beal was in the room with John George when he got served."

Beal Incorporated provided an email from a Motor City Blight Busters executive.  He was asked, "When can we expect our next payment on Java House?"  The exec answered, "John is committed to paying back JC Beal every penny."

Blight Busters has done great things for Detroit cleaning up eyesores and abandoned buildings in the city, but now the nonprofit may have to close its doors to get its own house in order.

"I started this organization 25 years ago this June with a rake and a broom, and if I've got to continue with just that, I will," said George.

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