Family Alleges Lost $ 50,000 to Magnolia Network ‘Work From Home’ Hosts
A third owner has filed allegations against “Home Work” hosts Andy and Candis Meredith.
The hosts of the renovation show Magnolia Network have been accused of poor build quality, extreme delays, inflated budgets and questionable bookkeeping by at least two other homeowners whose homes were renovated as part of the series on Magnolia Network by Chip and Joanna Gaines. The network withdrew the show on Thursday due to the allegations.
âMagnolia Network is aware that some homeowners have expressed concerns about the renovation projects being undertaken by Candis and Andy Meredith,â the network said in an emailed statement to TODAY. “During the last day, we obtained additional information on the extent of these issues and we have decided to remove work at home from the Magnolia Network range pending a review of the complaints that have been made.”
Vienna Goates, a mother of five, first wrote about her experience in a Series of 19 posts on Instagram before speaking to TODAY on Saturday. She alleged that she and her husband paid the Merediths $ 50,000 as a down payment for a 2019 renovation that never started. To date, they say they have not recovered the funds. The Merediths confirmed the Goates story to TODAY in a phone call Friday.
âThe Goates also just posted their story and it’s true,â Candis said TODAY in a phone call Friday, in which she referred to the Vienna Instagram posts.
Vienna and her husband, Robert Goates, said their involvement with the Merediths started in 2019. While they had already started planning their home renovation and had plans drawn up by an architect, Vienna said they saw a call for applications for “Home Work”. on Instagram and was thrilled to be selected as one of 10 owners whose renovations would be featured on the show.
âShe was likeâ¦ asking your other contractor to give us the project because we can do it faster and you’re going to be on TV,â Vienna said. âThey said they would be able to do more with our budget than we would normally be able to do because it was supposed to be good for our budget, so we were like, ‘Oh my God.’ It was. a kind of whirlwind at that point.
The Goates family said they plan to spend around $ 80,000 on their renovation, but are willing to spend up to $ 100,000. They said TODAY that they had been saving for about two years to make the renovation possible, and were delighted to hear Candis’ claims that she could do more with their budget. Robert said the couple hoped to add two bathrooms in their home to one bathroom and “build for (their) family.”
The Merediths have confirmed to TODAY that they have embarked on the project with the Goates family. Two other owners featured on the show spoke to TODAY, saying the Merediths also promised low budgets and quick turnaround times. Vienna and Robert said they were suspicious.
âWe had a lot of questions and we had talked to other entrepreneurs and professionals, and we were asking these questions: ‘Can you really do it within this timeframe? Can you really do this budget?â, Recalls Vienna.
âIt sounded too good to be true,â added Robert.
Vienna said Candis told him in October 2019 that the renovation would be completed by Christmas, but the holiday season came and went without any work starting and much communication from Candis. In mid-January, Vienna said they had met Candis and the host told him other plans were not going well.
Two other homeowners spoke to TODAY about their alleged experiences on Friday: Aubry Bennion messed up his kitchen remodel, while the Hawley family set their sights on renovating several rooms in their home. Both owners described a renovation that had to be done in a few weeks at a low cost. Instead, the two said it took months longer than promised, done poorly, and spent tens of thousands of dollars. Candis told TODAY she used “tens of thousands” of dollars of her own money for Bennion’s renovation.
âYou could tell (Candis) was upset, you could tell she was stressed,â Vienna said. “And we were like, ‘OK, we’re patient, we’re not going anywhere and we want to do it. “
Vienna said that during this meeting, Candis told them that they would need to increase the budget to $ 100,000, and they agreed to go ahead with the project. On February 4, 2020, they transferred $ 50,000 to Candis as a deposit.
At the end of March 2020, work had still not started and the couple said they had difficulty joining Candis. His occasional lyrics, Robert said, “were not enough to allay fears that we were being forgotten.”
In an interview with TODAY, Candis confirmed that she was overwhelmed while working on these projects.
âI think we were really overwhelmed and we did our best to communicate as quickly as possible,â she said. In addition to speaking with TODAY, the Merediths also have posted a long statement on Instagram.
Vienna said his family continued to understand the delay in their project, especially because the stalled renovation coincided with the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.
âWe knew they weren’t the only ones arrested,â Vienna recalls. “It made sense, yeah, you’re going to have delays because nobody knows what to do right now.”
That spring, the family’s main concern was the interest accrued on the loan they had taken out to finance the project, but in early April Candis sent a payment covering some of that interest.
As of May, work still hadn’t started and Robert was made redundant, leaving the family financially stressed.
âWe were ready to finish,â said Vienna. âShe promised to get back to us with concrete start dates and thingsâ¦ Then it was like August, and we still hadn’t heard anything, so September was when we tried to unplug the plug. ”
In mid-September, Vienna said she texted Candis to let him know their situation had changed and that they could not proceed with the project. She said TODAY that Candis seemed understanding at the time and said she would get the couple’s money back.
In November, the Goates hired a lawyer, who sent the Merediths a letter asking for their deposit back. The Goates said the Merediths told them they would be able to pay $ 21,000 up front and then asked to be put on a payment plan for the remaining amount. Their lawyer determined a “rigid” payment plan, but to date the Goates family have only received about $ 14,000 of their initial payment of $ 50,000, said Robert and Vienna.
TODAY has reviewed a judgment, signed by Candis Meredith, which confirmed that as of September 30, 2021, the Merediths owed the Goates family $ 39,537.94.
Candis and Andy Meredith have confirmed the couple’s story to TODAY and have confirmed that they still owe the couple money.
âWe have actively tried to pay and we have paid everything we can whenever we can,â Candis said TODAY. She also said the contractor’s faulty work was the cause of delays and increased budgets on other projects, although she declined to name the contractor or confirm details about them to TODAY. ‘HUI. Andrew said TODAY that he and Candis were only consultants for the renovations, as per their contracts.
While the Merediths still owe the Goates family, Robert said he and his wife are not looking for further legal action at this time because they believe continuing a lawsuit will cost more than they do. hope to recover.
Vienna said she still felt “guilty” for deciding to work with the Merediths and expressed regret for answering the casting call instead of continuing with the plan they had put in place.
âIt was horrible,â Vienna said. “There was a realization that she was really nice and had professed so many times that she cared about us and our situationâ¦ and realizing that she wasn’t was devastatingâ¦ really raping.” .
As the Goates join two other families in speaking out about bad experiences with the Merediths, a woman whose house was featured on “Home Work” shared her positive experience with the Merediths on Instagram.
“Many of you know that I had to wait longer than I would have liked for my reading cabin to be finished, but in the end I love what they did and I would have done it all again” , wrote @hotcocoareads, tagged on Instagram as Jeana. “I don’t think their intentions were to hurt or rob anyone, but they just couldn’t take on all the projects they were trying to achieve.”
On Instagram, the Merediths criticized the âone-sided storyâ unfolding on social media.
“We can only say that there are two sides to every story and while we have chosen not to make our truth public, because know how much it hurts, we understand that hearing only one side can paint a picture. negative, âthe couple wrote.
Candis admitted to TODAY that she and her husband “made a lot of mistakes” and wanted to make things right.
“We don’t ever want to do this again,” Candis added. “We never intended to hurt anyone … It is simply impossible to share a full truth without hurting people.”
Although the Goates family are not filing a complaint, they hired a collection lawyer in August 2021 and Vienna said it received a payment from the Merediths in December. However, Vienna said the Merediths did not follow the payment plan they initially agreed to.
âWe received a small payment last month, $ 3,000, but over time the interest continued to add up and now we have legal fees as well,â Vienna said. Robert said that so far they have paid “about nine or $ 10,000” in interest, only part of which has been covered by Candis payments.
âClearly, there has been enormous mismanagement of the situation, and why are we the victims? Vienna said TODAY. “Why are we the victims when they mismanaged our money? ”