FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Bernard Mbire had waited more than a year for a contractor to complete an 800-square-foot mother-in-law unit built in the backyard of his Federal Way home.
He asked me to help get the contractor, Tacoma-based K & S Renovations, to finish the job.
“And I pay them a sum of $71,000,” said Bernard. “They’ll come and do a little bit of this, a little bit of that. And then they disappear for another month.”
While looking at K & S Renovations, we learned its contractor registration was suspended.
Representatives from the Department of Labor and Industries said the owner, Scott Kenyon, owed $33,000 for past-due workers’ compensation insurance premiums for another company he was a member of, named JDK Home Services LLC out of Tacoma.
“So I thought let me pay this guy and my project will be done as soon as possible. But that was not what happened,” said Bernard.
I was able to get Kenyon to stop by Bernard’s home, and he promised to finish the job.
“And we want to get it done for you,” Kenyon told me, estimating about six weeks left on the project. “It’s going to be done. We’re trying to get done faster.”
And later, Kenyon cleared up his issues with the state and he walked the talk.
“We’re done. All inspections have passed: wiring, insulation, framing. We’re done. We’re ready for a final,” said Kenyon.
Not final. At all.
Because Kenyon broke out his phone and showed me this: screenshots of texts allegedly sent from Bernard demanding thousands of dollars if he could get me to drop this story.
“I want 10k story dead”
“when I get my money ASAP”
“Yes. That is exactly what the text stated. For a sum of money, delivered to him, he would get you to drop it and he did use your name in the text,” said Kenyon.
Kenyon even went to the Federal Way Police Department and claimed he was being extorted.
In a recorded interview with police, Kenyon revealed how much he paid.
Officer G.A. Castro: “What’d you pay him?”
Scott Kenyon: “$7,000.”
Officer G.A. Castro: “$7,000.”
Scott Kenyon: “Cash.”
Officer G.A. Castro: “Cash money!”
Bernard even sent me texts asking me to drop the story.
Bernard: “He’s willing to pay 10k in damages to complete project. As long as you kill story”
Jesse Jones: “I can’t kill the story.”
But he claims he wasn’t the first one to bring up a payment.
“No I did not. He offered me money to drop the story,” said Bernard.
And there it is right in the police report: a text from Scott Kenyon.
“If story is cancelled I have no issue with a five thousand dollar reimbursement for your trouble.”
“He offered me $5,000 to drop the story. I say hey I need more. That’s not extortion. He came up with the idea. I never went to him and told me hey you give me some money I’ll do this and that for you. He offered it so I took him on his offer. That’s not extortion,” said Bernard.
It’s a mess.
Kenyon maintains that Bernard brought up the issue of payment first.
Still, the Federal Way Police Department, whose investigators were trying to figure out this case, told us last week: “…the case was reviewed by our Criminal Investigations Section and found to be legally insufficient.”
We asked contractor Scott Kenyon, the person who went to the police, filed a report, did an interview with an investigators, and provided proof that he gave Bernard $7,000, why he thought this investigation came to an end.
“They asked me for information - some bank stuff. And I just didn’t provide it,” says Kenyon.
Kenyon also tells us he didn’t want to pursue charges when Bernard was happy with the project.
So Bernard got paid.
Kenyon did, too - for the project.
As for me, I just want you to know that no matter how much money is being passed around, our stories are never for sale.
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