- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Charles County man and woman charged with acting as contractors in St. Mary’s County without a required license recently were ordered to each serve a weekend in jail as they continue paying $26,000 in restitution in the case.
Darrell Grandstaff, 53, is scheduled to report this evening, Friday, to the detention center in Leonardtown, court papers state. The jail’s staff confirmed Thursday that Lisa M. Willoughby, 42, served her two days in custody last month.
Grandstaff and Willoughby were charged with the criminal offense last year through a Maryland Home Improvement Commission investigation, court papers state, after they received more than $140,000 upon building a garage and making other upgrades at the home of Donna and Michael Degen along Golden Beach Road, without obtaining a home improvement license.
Originally charged through St. Mary’s district court, Grandstaff and Willoughby requested a jury trial last summer, moving their cases onto a fall docket of the county’s circuit court. They both pleaded guilty to failing to have a home-improvement license, St. Mary’s Assistant State’s Attorney John Pleisse said at a restitution hearing in December, where St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Michael J. Stamm agreed to delay sentencing in the case to allow time to set up and evaluate the pair’s restitution payment plan.
“They started their payments” before an April 14 sentencing hearing, Pleisse said last week at his office in the county courthouse. “They made three payments, which made them current ... [as of] the day they were in court, [and] now the fourth payment is in. They’re supposed to make a payment every month.”
At last month’s sentencing hearing, court papers state, Stamm sentenced Grandstaff and Willoughby each to serve 18 months in jail, suspended to the separate weekends in custody, on the condition that they continue paying $500 a month toward the restitution during five years of supervised probation.
“They’ve gotten the message, it seems like,” Pleisse said last week, noting that the payment plan roughly equals the duration of the probationary period.
The work done at the Mechanicsville area home, court papers state, included a $4,925 contract to repair a patio, retaining wall and walkway; a $35,000 contract to build the free-standing garage adjacent to the main house; and a $100,254 contract to reconfigure the home’s interior, raise beams in the structure, replace its floor joists and subflooring, and install a new roof and gutters.
The prosecutor said that the staggered weekend sentences were authorized as “an accommodation” to allow for child care. The charges were pursued through the state commission’s efforts to investigate and penalize acts of “taking advantage of innocent homeowners,” Pleisse said, adding that Grandstaff and Willoughby now are working to conform with home-improvement licensing requirements.
“They say they are,” the prosecutor said.
Willoughby declined to discuss the matter when reached by telephone on Wednesday. Grandstaff could not be reached for comment.