David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery Winemaker's Diary

Week 23
June 2, 2002 to June 8, 2002 


  Thursday June 6, 2002

This week one of the most strange events in my life occurred. I had a person threaten me this week and I could not reason with him. I am a very logical person. And I believe that is why I have been successful in my business. But when I can't understand someone in a logical way I get scared. 

As some of you know we have been remodeling our residence. Dennis and his helpers painted our kitchen for $700. Dennis does most of our work around here. He constructed with help (contracted) the new storage building. He is not normally a painter, but can do most anything. He is an expert with concrete and all of the concrete installed around here in the last several years has been done by Dennis. So when he was willing to paint our new remodeled kitchen I was confident he could do a good job. 

Just before the painting, E came into my life with a storm. We needed someone to clean up the walls in the kitchen before Dennis painted. Pat and I also needed someone to clean our house and possibly other buildings on a regular basis. E has a cleaning service and came through for us on a Sunday. He and and a crew cleaned up the kitchen and all of the house, appearing to do a good job. 

E is very boisterous. I can not describe how loud he can be. He seemed to want to please us in every turn. Pat took a big liking to him and complained to me that I did not give him enough attention. I am very busy and tend to toon off people who talk too much and waste my time. He seemed to be nice in a very loud way but he was doing a job. 

That Sunday E told us he could get painters in here and wanted to know if we had really committed to Dennis. We said we had already planned it out. After Dennis finished the kitchen E said he had professionals who could have done a much better job and could save us a great deal of money. We needed the rest of the house painted so Pat courted him for weeks and E finally came in with a bid of $3800. We were shocked since we thought the rest of the house to be painted (hall ways and one bedroom) was less than twice as big as the kitchen. Remember Dennis did the kitchen on an hourly rate and it only cost us $700. 

I got another bid from a recommended contractor which included sanding, patching, the cost of paint, and two coats. We were not surprised at a bib for $3100, but they were not able to come for 3 to 4 weeks. We approached E again and he came down to $2800, but we had to buy the paint. 

We agreed reluctantly in favor of E (Dennis was pouring more concrete for us). 10 days later two Mexican brothers showed up to paint. They were very nice. They complained about the heat inside (it was not too hot) so we turned on the air conditioner. They were clueless since they also opened up the windows which defeated the help the air conditioner provided. After 14 hours a piece I was informed by Pat (I was staying out of this since I thought it was Pat's project) that only one coat of paint was needed, but we needed more paint to finish. The cost of the paint now escalated to $500 and we had only one coat. The cans said that the amount of gals we supplied should have been sufficient for two coats. 

The next morning I decided to take charge. I asked H (He spoke pretty good English), why he was only applying one coat when my agreement was for two. He went pale! I probed with my next question: Am I was supposed to pay you? NO I was to pay E. How much is E paying you? He was reluctant to answer but did with $1200. I thought right away that E was to pocket $1600. H asked how much E was to get and I told him. We were both shocked. 

The next day the project was finished mostly to Pat's satisfaction. Reluctantly H accepted a check from me for $1500, but was very happy with the amount. He was afraid of what E would say. He thought E was wrong, but did not want to lose his relationship with E. In all He and his brother received $30 an hour. Not bad wages for anyone. 

E was outraged!! He informed me that H was his employee and he had to pay workman's comp and social security. I found out from H that he was not an employee. E was furious and ranted and raved (I mean REAL LOUD) on the phone to excess, that I was scared. He accused me of interfering in his business. He lied about everything and wanted $2800. He informed me that I would be sorry because he would come out and collect cash. I called the sheriff. The sheriff called E. 

E finally reluctantly admitted that I paid H $1500. He called me a liar about that at first. He wanted me to cancel my check to H. I told him NO. I have too much to lose here ( I have no idea how violent he might be) so I reluctantly paid him the rest, a total of $1300 even though he did not fulfill his agreement. I can not deal with an irrational unlogical threatening person. 


Dave

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