July deadline looming for couple in faulty generator case

Stephen Mills
Stephen Mills

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Anger and frustration in a Chesterfield courtroom at a hearing for a couple accused of improperly installing heating and cooling systems and generators. Stephen and Angela Mills now have a pressing deadline for repairs or face stiff fines.

The county attorney proposed a $1500 fine for each of the 33 building code violations against the Mills. But their lawyer asked that his clients get 30 days to have the repairs done. One father took us under his son's house to show us what they've been dealing with for more than a year now.

Larry Palmer, Sr. crawls under his son's house to show us what brought on his frustrations with the Mills. Palmer put cinder blocks underneath duct work he said came down when the Mills improperly installed a heat pump last spring.

"We noticed it was leaning and fell on the ground," said Palmer.

Erica Fleenor said the pump they paid $6700 for doesn't even work.

"It distributes unevenly. It's only on one side of the house," Fleenor showed us.

Fleenor said they were trying to save money by ditching their oil tank.

"They had come to us and said we'd give you a great deal," he said.

But the exact opposite happened. Fleenor had to switch to emergency heat last winter.

"Our electricity bill was absolutely through the roof. It's been tough getting through these last few months," said Fleenor.

When it got bitter cold, Fleenor took Palmer's 2-year-old granddaughter to his house.

"When it's just gotten too unbearable," he explained.

Stephen Mills arrived to court Tuesday to answer to a judge.

Tara Morgan: "Did you want to say anything to the victim's in these cases?"
"No comment right now," said Mike Sitton, the Mills' attorney.

The county attorney proposed a $1500 fine per case if repairs aren't made. There are 33 building code violations pending! Inspectors found the potential for deadly carbon monoxide situations and fires. Mills' attorney said a contractor agreed to fix the problems.

"The bottom line is trying to assure our homeowners get what they paid for," said Roger Robertson, Chief Building Inspector for Chesterfield County.

"He's a crook as far as I'm concerned he's a crook," said Palmer.

Fleenor has some words for the Mills too.

"You come into our house. We trusted you with our money, our lives, our expenses, our livelihood and you treat people this way. I mean, how do you live with yourself," said Fleenor.

The Mills have a July 3rd deadline for repairs in Chesterfield. This Friday, Stephen Mills is set to appear in court for construction fraud charges. That same day, the couple has a court date in Henrico for building code violations there.

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