By Lauren Victory

CHICAGO (CBS) — An Elgin woman who tried to spruce up her house after she became a widow is stuck in limbo, and out thousands of dollars, after a contractor she hired abandoned a list of chores she hired them to do.

From painting to replacing electrical outlets and switches to installing a new security system, Susan Kuta had a long list of projects she needed done around the house after her husband suddenly passed away.

“There were just a lot of things in the house that we had just let go,” she said. “I needed to make the house nice again.”

So Kuta turned to Amazon Home Services and hired Craig Newman, the owner of Stiggs Inc., an Elgin-based contractor, to tackle the list of chores.

“In the beginning, we had no issues whatsoever. He did great work,” Kuta said.

However, after Kuta gave Newman the rest of her to-do list, and $8,000 up front, from her husband’s life insurance policy, he abandoned the work mid-list.

“He would say, ‘Okay, I’m going to be here on this day,’ and he would never show,” Kuta said. “When he left, things were just covered in drop cloths.”

That was almost a year ago.

“He wasn’t answering by then. My phone calls or my text messages,” Kuta said.

Working two jobs just to stay in her Elgin home, Kuta wrote Newman a demand letter, and filed a police report. Officers noted they also had trouble locating the handyman.

So did CBS 2.

The Better Business Bureau has rated Newman’s company, Stiggs Inc., an “F.”

So why did Kuta pay him up front? It came down to keeping up with errands after a sudden loss, and trusting someone during a vulnerable time.

“You welcome them into your house, you gave them food, they were doing good work, and then to turn around and do that to people and to rip people off like that?” she said. “I don’t know if I’ll ever see the money back, but I want him stopped.”

Police closed Kuta’s case without pursuing charges, but she just received a letter back from the Illinois Attorney General’s office, acknowledging her complaint.

Lauren Victory