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Court records: Previously featured craftsman owes Lansing man thousands

Posted at 9:02 AM, Jan 11, 2020

Ian Kelly, a self-proclaimed custom furniture builder, is once again getting attention from the FOX 17 Problem Solvers. In this case, a customer won a court judgment against him nearly two years ago but says he hasn't received a penny.

Mark Sanchez has a growing file on Kelly, the owner of Rivergrain Furniture. He says he dealt with him prior to the Problem Solvers contact with Kelly.

"I had issued with him back in 2018," Sanchez said.

He says he and his girlfriend paid Kelly $2,800 to build some custom pieces.

"We never got anything, never got any of our furniture," he said.

Sanchez recalled, "He kept pushing the date back further and further. It was always, ya know, there was a flood at the shop. There was a family member that was ill. I think there was a pet that was sick. There was probably like twelve different times that he had rescheduled the furniture drop off."

After six months of the runaround, Sanchez took Kelly to small claims court and won. But he soon learned how difficult it is to collect what has now become a $3,500 judgment.

"I went after his bank accounts once I got that information, and he had no money in his bank accounts," he said.

Sanchez explained, "He didn't have any of his tax information for the last 5 years, and he said 'I don't pay taxes.'"

He said he's been spreading the word on review sites like Yelp to make sure no one else ends up in the same boat.

"I've met probably five different people that have gotten a hold of me," Sanchez said.

He says one of those people told him about the Problem Solvers stories from April 2019. Kelly gave us excuses. But within a few days he repaid one customer $300. He said he'd pay other people back if they asked or deal with them in court.

For Sanchez, a refund that has yet to happen.

"The biggest thing I think for me is he's given a lot of good people a bad name. Yea, there's a lot of good carpenters out there," he said.

FOX 17 called and left Kelly a message Thursday. He has not called back as of news time.