In April of 2006 I contacted Scott Fisher after receiving a mass mailing from him, in which he urged any one who was thinking of harvesting timber from their property what to watch out for. This was a two page document, and he outlined how dishonest loggers worked and the tricks they pulled. He also described how he worked and how honest and trustworthy he was.
So I called him, set up an appointment to walk my property and I signed a contract with him. I needed funds quickly and we agreed that he would start cutting within the week. He didn't show for 6 months. That should have been my first sign of trouble. I called him and he had excuses about equipment problems, and trouble getting the needed repairs done.
When he did finally show up in October, It wasn't him but a man he hired as a sub-contractor. It took about 2 months for all the lumber to be cut and staged in the fields.
Our deal was that once the tree's were cut, a minimum of 3 buyers would come, and bid on the lumber and we would accept the best bid. It was also understood that none of the lumber would be removed until I had payment in hand. That did not happen. The tree's were carted out while I was away at work. When I questioned Mr. Fisher he assured me that I would receive payment.
Well to make a long story short, I still have not been paid the full amount. Mr. Fisher was very evasive when I tried to contact him. He was supposed to provide me with tear slips of all the loads of timber that left my property. He never did. I had to do my own detective work to find out where the logs went, and then I called the Mills to find out how much he had been paid for the logs.
Turns out he lied all along. There were no buyers bidding on the trees after they were cut, he was paid for the lumber before they were cut. He sold part of the trees to one buyer in June 2006 for $25,000 and the same buyer paid him an additional $35,000 again in September of 2006. Another lumber company purchased the remainder of the timber in November of 2006 for another $25,000. This is a total of $85,000 dollars. We had an agreement for a 60/40 split. I should have received $51,000.
After I found all this out, I confronted Scott Fisher and told him what I knew. He admitted that he had been paid for the trees and had bills, so he spent it. This was mid December and he promised me that I would have my money by Christmas. Didn't happen. I kept after him, and he kept promising payment, but it wasn't until January 4 of 2007 that I received a payment of $10,000 from him. With this payment he also promised to send me the balance due of $41,000 by January 31, 2007. He also included a handwritten promissory note.
Skip ahead to February, After many more calls I am told that he has put 2 checks for $10,000 in the mail with different dates, and am instructed to deposit one right away, and to hold the other for 1 week. I wait a couple days and the checks still havent arrived. Must be the mail lost them, so he says he'll put a stop payment on them and issue new ones. Again they never arrive. So I turn the tables on him. I tell him that I will travel south, he can travel north and we'll meet half way and he can give me the checks in person. He never showed, but did send a friend to meet me with the post dated checks. The first check didn't clear. I wasn't too surprized. The second check was also worthless.
In early March I called one of the timber buyers who purchased the logs and explained my dilemma to him. He called Scott Fisher and told him that this is not how he ran a business and he wanted it cleared up. I heard back from Scott Fisher promptly after that. But it was only after Scott Fisher made a deal with the buyer to get a cash advance from a future sale that I received an additional $20,000. I still have $21,000 to collect at this point.
I can't count all the calls I made to Mr. Scott Fisher to ask about the balance due. I got lot's of promises, but he never followed up on them. So finally in April of 2007 I hired a lawyer to bring a lawsuit against him. He never responded to the complaint, so I was awarded a judgement of the money he owes me, plus fees and cost and interest.
I have attempted to garnish his wages, but thats difficult, because he is self employed. We did send notices to the two mills that I know of, but there are hundreds in Michigan, so he will just deal with another mill in the future. I have had a person at his property to seize assets, but I suspect he's hidden most of them now. The only item of value they could take is worth about $6000. with a balance due of $3000. So that wont bring in much.
Just at my wits end with this man. And I am not the only one he's doing this to. I posted my dilemma on a web site for forresters (I did not mention this person by name) and I had someone e-mail me and ask if it was the same person and asked me to call if it was. Same mode of operation. It's not just the landowners he's ripping off, he is not good about paying the help he sub-contracts either. In this other case, he hired an Amish Farmer to cut and drag the tree's out by horse. I was told the Farmer had a difficult time being paid for his services. I know for a fact that the man who cut the tree's on my property went through a lot of trouble to get paid and may not have been paid in full for all I know.
Then to top it all off, I knew Scott Fisher was fond of attending and competing in horse pull events. In fact he spent most of the summer of 2007 in many events. They are posted on the web, with results and dates. He used my money to travel to all sorts of places.
I did try contacting him again, even though I have a lawyer on the case. I just wanted to remind him that I hadn't forgotten. About that same time one of the collectors had showed up to inventory his property and he was told that I would receive payment in full by Christmas. Scott Fisher called me and told me the same thing. Christmas didn't come.
So theres my story. Who knows if I'll ever collect the remainder owed to me, but If I can stop one person by posting my story it is worth it. In my eyes, this man is a *** artist and a thief. It doesn't matter the lies he told, or the rubber checks he wrote. According to the law, his only crime is breach of contract. So anyone out there reading this, beware of Scott Fisher Logging doing business in Jonesville Michigan. He's not honest.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Traverse City, Michigan
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