ARLINGTON, Texas — An Arlington construction company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy this week as its owner continued to fight Arlington ISD over payment for helping repair Sam Houston High School, which was damaged when the campus' pipes burst during Winter Storm Uri in February 2021.
Dozens of customers who had scheduled projects with RJ Construction now say they're out thousands of dollars amidst the news after putting down deposits for projects that are scheduled or incomplete.
Attorney Michael Hammond represents one of the owners of RJ Construction -- its namesake Robert Jordan. Hammond confirmed the company filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday of this week. He also said he expects to release more information on Friday regarding the projects that RJ was involved with and the customers who are waiting to find out what becomes of their planned projects.
Hammond additionally described Jordan's legal fight with Arlington ISD as the "domino" that pushed the bankruptcy filing.
Earlier this year, Jordan told WFAA that he and his 37 employees spent 11 days working an around-the-clock emergency schedule to dry and dehumidify the 450,000-square-foot Sam Houston High school in order to prevent the moisture from causing further damage.
He claimed that AISD owed him roughly $1 million for the project. The district disputes the amount it was charged for the work. Its attorneys argue that a written agreement with Jordan about the cost was never brokered.
Officially, AISD said in a statement that they need more "submitted documentation to confirm the value of services being performed."
The district has since provided a factsheet for the public in which it claims that Jordan billed the district for drying out the entire school even though his team only worked less than half the campus' square footage. (That fact sheet can be found here.)
Jordan and his attorney argue that AISD only asked for help and an invoice, which he provided.
"At no point during the time services were being rendered by RJ Construction was there any claim or complaint that RJ Construction had failed to provide adequate paperwork," said Jordan's attorney Hammond. "To the contrary, the AISD was primarily concerned with getting students back into Sam Houston High School."
Hammond continued: "The district has been provided documentation from RJ Construction. The problem is that the district’s alleged need of additional paperwork is nothing but a bad faith excuse to avoid paying what it owes. The 'we need additional documentation' narrative is a false flag to try and cover the district’s ultimate goal -- to negotiate a settlement for pennies on the dollar of what was agreed to."
Jordan told WFAA he filed a lawsuit in order to force the district into paying for his company's services. Courts have since ordered mediation, but Hammond said that conciliation was unsuccessful, and that Jordan has since filed an appeal.
Jordan did receive an estimated $179,000 check from AISD, but said he never cashed it because it was insufficient and not what he agreed to.
In the meantime, RJ Construction customers have taken to social media to complain about company not communicating about its bankruptcy filing -- and its sudden shuttering of its Arlington office.
Some claimed they'd placed deposits with RJ Construction ranging from $1,400 to more than $100,000 for project that have yet to be completed.
Phones for the company's Arlington office and two others Jordan is involved with out of state were disconnected Thursday.
Hammond told WFAA that he and Jordan know the claims that customers are making. Jordan expects to issue a statement about the matter on Friday.