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Veteran claims contractor bailed on shower installation

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Posted at 4:37 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 21:50:16-04

ROBSTOWN, Texas — A disabled Vietnam veteran says he has contractor issues after the man he hired to install a shower hasn't been back in weeks.

Pedro Lerma has a hard time getting around. He thought he'd make things easier with a handicap-accessible shower in his home, but nearly two months after hiring a contractor, his shower is still unusable.

He says if he could, he’d install it himself.

“I used to be able to do everything," he said. "Now I can't do anything.”

Lerma just wants his shower installed. Since late July, one of the bathrooms in his Robstown home has been gutted. The handicap-accessible shower he hired a contractor to install is still nowhere near finished.

Lerma’s wife, Raquel, struggles with watching her husband struggle.

“It's just devastating to see him hurting so much,” she said.

Veteran hopes to donate mobility items to another veteran in need

The Lermas said their daughter found them contractor Rene Quintanilla Jr. At first, things seemed great.

“He started talking about how he was going to do this and that, so we trusted him,” Lerma said.

The Lermas hired Quintanilla, agreeing to a price of $2,100. After a couple of days of work, Lerma said he paid Quintanilla half of the agreed amount. Soon after, the problems started.

Text messages between Quintanilla and Raquel Lerma show that on July 28, he told her he wouldn't be able to make it because his wife's grandfather had died.

After working on July 30, Quintanilla told the Lermas he'd be back Aug. 2. They said he never came, and the same thing happened Aug. 5. On Aug. 9, Quintanilla texted that he and his fiancée had split up.

“He never came back, just keeps on giving excuses,” Pedro Lerma said.

Quintanilla responded to the Lermas’ allegations by text, saying he hasn't been back because he caught COVID-19. He also said his mother and grandmother contracted it as well, and that his grandmother had died last week. His last text ended with “I don't have time to talk for a while."

Meanwhile, Lerma struggles getting in and out of the shower. His bad back has this Vietnam veteran in constant pain.

“When my husband stands up he moans and groans and is hunched over until he can straighten up,” Raquel said.

Quintanilla also texted he'll finish the job "soon”, but didn’t respond when asked why he hadn’t explained his situation to the Lermas.

Quintanilla previously has been featured by our sister station KZTV’s ‘Troubleshooters’ segment. According to that report, Quintanilla has had at least two complaints for theft of service in Jim Wells County.

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