TBI, district attorneys investigating Wood Construction and Remodeling as allegations of theft pile up

Investigations

TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL) — An ongoing News Channel 11 consumer investigation continues to bring answers to frustrated customers.

Our previous reports found that a formerly Johnson City-based contracting company called Wood Construction and Remodeling, LLC is accused by at least 47 Tennessee customers of taking thousands of dollars for home repair projects and leaving them unfinished.

In a new development, The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is actively investigating the company for allegations of theft by multiple customers across Northeast Tennessee.

At this time Wood Construction’s website says “business closed” and their Johnson City headquarters is no longer open.

But despite this, legal troubles continue for the company. This comes as owner Leighton “Joe” Wood’s Tennessee licensing contract was temporarily suspended last month.

Many customers of the company say they have heard nothing about their projects for months.

“We paid Wood $43,000. A little over $43,000,” said customer Kristen Holzer of Elizabethton.

Now, as dozens of families like the Holzers seek repayment for their abandoned projects, possible criminal charges for Wood are now on the table because of the recent involvement of local district attorney offices.

“I found out about the allegations from a news report you all covered,” District Attorney General Barry Staubus of Sullivan County said of News Channel 11’s first investigative report. “Also, we received some complaints from citizens of Sullivan County.”

Staubus says he and District Attorney General Ken Baldwin of Northeast Tennessee’s First Judicial District requested the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation get involved to look into these allegations that span multiple counties.

District Attorney General Dan Armstrong of Northeast Tennessee’s Third Judicial District confirmed to News Channel 11 Friday his jurisdiction is also involved in the scope of TBI’s investigation.

The TBI confirmed that at the request of Baldwin and Staubus they are actively investigating the allegations being made by dozens of Tennessee customers. The next step – the district attorneys would be responsible for filing any potential criminal charges against Joe Wood.

“When the investigation is complete we will review the report, evaluate and determine the charges,” said Staubus.

Staubus told News Channel 11 the scope of these allegations across so many jurisdictions is unusual.

“I’ve never seen it as widespread as this particular case,” said Staubus.

Kristen Holzer and her husband contracted Wood Construction in March of 2021 for a home addition. The project sits abandoned now eight months later after Holzer says Wood Construction crews started working on her project, destroyed her septic tank and left.

“Its a long time coming. It’s way overdue,” said Holzer.

Law enforcement being involved means Holzer can breathe a sigh of relief.

“It’s definitely a step in the direction we are wanting to head. Hopefully we get our money back and we can start this process again. We are just thrilled we have other people on our side, going through this with us, the DA the TBI that’s gonna fight for us,” Holzer said.

She says for her and other victims out thousands of dollars to Wood Construction, they want one thing.

“He needs theft charges on him and he needs to be put in jail,” said Holzer.

Attorneys for Joe Wood released a statement to News Channel 11 in response to the TBI’s investigation. It reads:

“At this time, we are aware that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is involved regarding the complaints filed with the Attorney General’s office against Wood Constriction and Remodeling, LLC.  We will continue to cooperate with all state authorities and agencies but will issue no additional statement at this time. We encourage the public not to rush to judgment and remain committed to working with customers to resolve outstanding complaints. “

Attorneys Christopher Rogers, Jason Arthur 

Joe Wood is set to appear for a licensing hearing before the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors and the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance on Tuesday, Nov. 30 in Nashville.

“The state board will review evidence at the hearing and decide if Wood’s license should be reinstated or revoked,” said Kevin Walters, spokesperson for TDCI.

The purpose of the November 30 hearing will only be reviewing the determination to suspend Joe Wood’s license. Assuming the suspension remains in place, an additional hearing will be set in the future. The board will not be deciding on license revocation on November 30.

Stay with News Channel 11 Investigates for updates to this developing story.

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