This is such a difficult situation. (so hard to write!)


Our parish youth minister has children, all in grade school. One of the children has a friend whose family is going through a crisis. Their three year old has a tumor on her kidney. This family is a member of our parish, though I don’t know them at all. Our youth minister has decided the children in the youth group will do some fund raising for the family, as well as collect money and products for the family after Mass one day. My family was looking through the web site set up for the child with the tumor, which basically gave some medical updates and various fund raisers being done. Obviously HEART BREAKING to be in the situation. Our best friends (a couple I have known for 25 years-the best people in the world) were over at the time and looked at the site with us. The wife said to me she knew the family. It turns out the father is the man who her sister and brother in law are having major problems with. You see, my friend’s parents are elderly and their family decided to move them in with the sister and brother in law. To accommodate them, the brother in law hired the father in this family and paid him $30,000 to build an in law suite a year ago. The work was never completed; in fact the work that was done was improper. The parents are now living with the sister and brother in law, and it is not a great situation. The brother in law has tried to resolve the problem several times to no avail. These are not wealthy people, but they are good people. In all the years I have known the family (again 25) they have been so kind and generous to so many people. They are all just lovely people and I know how they have been struggling with this housing situation. My friend last night estimated based on the labor so far (the brother in law provided all materials besides the $30,000) he can’t see how they would even be at $5000 at this point. I think the brother in law has given up on ever seeing the work completed by the father of the family or getting any money back.
My friend is a really great person, she absolutely acknowledged how devastating the situation was for the family, but at the same time she had given money toward the $30,000 and has a lot of frustration about the housing situation.
I guess I am seeking advice on how to reconcile this to my friend. I know to think in terms of a child’s health compared to any amount of money isn’t even a comparison, but my friend’s family is still hurt.


Your friends need to approach this man and work it out with him rather than burden you with the sordid story. Seems rather insensitive to me that while looking at a website aimed at raising money to battle a three year old child’s cancer that this friend of yours would choose to bring up the fact that this man owes her money. She needs to work it out with him and be charitable towards his reputation by keeping the story to herself.


Well I did know the story because I have seen it unfold for the past year. I have seen her sister’s house in the state it is in, again for the past year. It was probably surprising to her to see the name and just say, “wow that is the contractor”. She didn’t have to repeat the details of the situation because I knew them and also know there are others who are in disputes with this man as well. At this point she and her family have given up on working things out because they have tried everything to do so.
I guess I am as much to blame as she for asking every so often “how are things going with the in law suite”.


St. Peter , pray for us. After the Ascension of out Lord, you were there to settle disputes. Help us to live as Christian children and good stewards. Amen


You really don’t know the full story - only the side of your friend who hired the contractor. Some people, although truly lovely in social settings, are impossible to work for. I have a family member who is NEVER satisfied with contractors. Not to say this is true of your friend - but you never know? :shrug:

While I would continue to support your friend in her desire to get her construction issue solved (certainly she can take it to court?) I think it has zero to do with the fundraising efforts for this young child. If your friend is a good person (and I’m sure she is) I am certain she would agree that the child’s well being is way more important than a building dispute.

Prayers for the child… :gopray2:


This is a sad thing.

The people who were hiring the contractor, they paid in advance and did not have any kind of contract? :eek: Does not seem wise.

Perhaps they can contact the contractor and request a refund of the unused funds.

Prayers all around.


They do have a contract. From what I understand, half was due before the work was started($20,000) and the other half would be paid on completion ($20,000). The contractor had asked for an advance on the final half of the money after the first week, which they gave him. A few weeks into an 8 week project, the contractor asked for the rest of the final payment, which they refused until the work was completed. The contractor stopped showing up at that point. The elderly parents are 72 and 89 years old and have no heat or air conditioning in their living area, which is essentially unfinished anyway. They found out about other cases against the contractor in their research. They are not wealthy people and can not afford to hire someone else to finish the work. In their last conversation with the contractor a little over a month ago, the contractor agreed he would finish the work but he wanted more money than the originally agreed on amount.
Everyone is devestated about the little one, I can’t imagine whose heart would not go out to anyone suffering with a sick child. Thank you so much for all of your prayers.


I think however the contract money was mismanaged, however kind, honest, reliable a business person is or isn’t family members get sick and need extra help.

But since there is a question of the fellow’s financial management, it’s absolutely all right to inquire about how the money raised would be spent and who will account for it.

Here in our county, when a local military man lost his life in Iraq, his family made a charitable fund to help other military families. They placed a family friend in charge of the accounting. The friend was just indicted on charges of bilking eight grand from the donated funds.

Part of being a good stewart is to pay attention to how the resources are used, or to do your homework that the foundation to which you donate is accountable. It doesn’t guarantee perfect results, but it helps us avoid the pitfalls of throwing money at a problem.

Many prayers for their poor little kid. May God grant astonishing healing to bring about conversions of hearts. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Although hindsight is, indeed, 20/20, it seems that this contractor should have been thoroughly checked out BEFORE anything was signed, and money should never have been given that was not in accordance with the signed agreement. Although this could certainly be taken to court, and there is a strong possibility of a judgment for your friends, it sounds as if it would be a Pyrrhic victory, as the contractor’s family clearly has money troubles because of the child’s illness.

I will pray for all involved, especially the child.


100% agreed
Thank you for the prayers


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