SHIRLEY — A man named Sam, purportedly employed by a Lancaster paving company, may have “swindled” an elderly resident when he charged her $2,000 to pave her driveway, according to the woman’s daughter and Selectman Andy Deveau, who sketched the situation at Monday night’s board meeting.
It came up during a discussion of driveway permits, which is usually routine business. In this case, though, Deveau noted unusual circumstances surrounding a request to approve a paving permit for a Lancaster Road residence where the job was already completed.
The applicant, Andree Lambert, was acting for her mother, Margaret Normandin.
In a June 10 letter to the DPW, Lambert described what happened.
On Tuesday, May 29, a man approached Normandin about “paving her existing stone driveway” and assured her she did not need a permit, Lambert said in the letter. He offered her a “great deal” and said he could do the job the next day.
She wrote him a check to buy materials and he cashed it right away, which raised “red flags,” Lambert said, but by then it was too late.
On completion of the job, the man asked for final payment.
The next day, Normandin called him to ask for a receipt, which he said he’d drop off but did not. A later phone call yielded the same promise, but nobody showed up.
“We still do not have anything in writing” and the man is no longer answering phone calls, Lambert said.
Nor is an “old address” she found online for the company valid. Lambert and her husband drove her there and found only an empty house “with no evidence of a business,” she said.
Lancaster police advised her that the individual her mother did business with was “well known for paving scams” but no longer operated in town.
On June 9, Lambert filed a complaint with Shirley police on her mother’s behalf.
“My mother is 86 years old and recently widowed,” Lambert concluded. “Needless to say, this is stressful for her.” Absent any other relief, she applied for the permit the contract should have taken care of but did not, along with the standard payment.
Approving the application was “the least we could do,” Deveau said.
It was not clear whether the paving job was substandard, but without a contract or written guarantee, it seems obvious that if there’s a problem — now or later — it will be difficult if not impossible for Normandin to get it fixed.
In terms of whether a driveway permit was required, however, Deveau said it was.
People should be aware that all new paving or repaving projects require a permit, he said. Recoating or sealing the existing surface, however, does not.
And no one should do business with someone whose credentials have not been verified, particularly if they want payment right away.