LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The owner of the now closed down Pool Store in Lufkin has started a new pool business while still being accused of scamming thousands of dollars away from former customers.
According to a Facebook page labeled East Texas Pools, Rory Stringer has been listed as the owner. Stringer confirmed the announcement Friday and said while no official paperwork has been filed with the county clerk's office, he is at work trying to secure an LLC status. Stringer closed down the Pool Store in September of 2016 for what he stated was personal issues.
In February, Stringer was booked into the Angelina County Jail with six counts of theft and six counts of misapplication of trust fund. He has posted a collective bond of $250,000.
Stringer, with his attorney Ryan Deaton present, agreed to sit down with the East Texas News and talk about his recent start up and the allegations against him.
"It truly breaks my heart that the people being affected by this are being wronged," Stringer said. "It is heartbreaking to me."
Stringer claimed that he is innocent from the charges against him. Stringer showed what he is calling a contract between him and former employees Jason Davis ans Terri Gillespie.
In the contract, Stringer agreed to transfer all assets of the business to Davis and that Davis would be responsible for completion of all remaining pools, spas and remodels that were currently under contract. The contract also stated that Stringer would assume all debts and liabilities except for projects that were currently under contract. Stringer stated that he gave the company a cashier check to pay for the current work already done.
"I feel like they took this company from me under false pretenses," Stringer said. "They said they were going to do something. They signed the contract that they were going to do it. They took possession of the over quarter million dollars in assets and then they told everybody that Rory took your money and left. "
The East Texas News stopped by Caribbean Blue Custom Pools & Spa's to get their side.
Co-owner Ree Davis said:
Stringer admitted that he knows people may feel hurt by him but he is hoping people will look at the work he has done and feels he is an honest man.
"I feel like innocent people don't hide," Stringer said. "I feel like when you are presented with false accusations, you have to stand up and tell the truth. To my new customers I would say, I have two kids and I have to work. With all of the reports and the Facebook and all the things that have been said, I really don't have much of a choice. "
The Angelina County Sheriff's Office could not comment on the case other than it remains open.
A civil lawsuit has also been filed in Judge Paul White's District Court. The plaintiff in the case alleges that he paid Stringer $81,575.65 for a pull and accessories. The lawsuit alleges that after the work was complete the spa jets did not work right, the UV system did not work, the tile decking around the pool did not drain properly, the spa drains down when the pump is off, no clhlorinator installed, the tile and coping needed repairs as well as several other cosmetic issues. The plaintiff also stated the family had to get another contractor to come in and do everything again. The lawsuit is seeking $144,100.00.