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N4T Investigators: Irrigation irritation update - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Irrigation irritation update

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Tucson - "I'm just absolutely heartbroken because I'm retired, and we live on a retired income and we saved for this." 

Kathy Brothers and her husband, Laurence, wanted to share the reason for their heartbreak last week, so it doesn't happen to you. We first reported last Monday night that the couple paid $2250 towards a new irrigation system at their northwest side home. The contractor, Gustavo Ruiz, owner of "Desert Drip Irrigation" said the total for the job would be $4500, and that he'd start in early February. But Mrs. Brothers says Ruiz delayed the start of the job twice, then never showed up or returned her calls after getting paid.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators learned Ruiz doesn't have the required license. Contractors in Arizona need a license to do any job of $1000 or more. Ruiz hung up the phone quickly when we called him, and the only business address for "Desert Drip Irrigation" is a UPS store. After our story ran, we received an outpouring of offers from News 4 Tucson viewers, which changed everything. 

One company that contacted us, Netafim, says it's the world's largest irrigation system manufacturer. and has been in business since 1965.  Netafim got the ball rolling to give Kathy and Laurence a new irrigation system, free of charge. That's right, it won't cost the couple a penny. 

Netfim's Dealer Relationship Manager for its Agriculture Division in the southwest, Jason Westmoreland, told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "We saw Kathy and her husband were in need and that's what we do, we help."

Netafim contacted Virginia Lombardi, sales representative for Sprinkler World of Southern Arizona, and the installer, The Drip Doctor, and it.s owner, Don Black. Those companies are also not charging Mr. and Mrs. Brothers anything for their supplies and labor. 

Kathy and her husband met during their long Army careers. She was a nurse, he was a Sergeant First Class. This couple, who served their country, are now being served by strangers.

"I'm just overwhelmed," Kathy said. "This is just, just beside me. It hasn't ever happened to me before," that strangers came forward like this.

Kathy was overwhelmed again when we told her that another company also offered to do the job for free after Netafim contacted us. "All Terrain Landscape Creations" was one of those companies. Its owner, David Ormsby, says the business does a lot of charity work. And many Tucson residents who saw our story offered Kathy and her husband financial help or to do the work for free. Manny Jacques, is among the latter, and a former home builder.

Jacques said, "The fact that she got robbed, I couldn't sleep. It bugged me. I think it's our duty, humanity, to help people if we can."

We asked Kathy, "Does this at all restore your faith in humanity?"  "Absolutely, absolutely," she said. "There are good people in this world." She added, "I just want to thank everybody who has gone out of their way and especially News 4 Tucson Investigators."

The installer told me the job that Mr. and Mrs. Brothers are getting for free would normally cost $3000. Gustavo Ruiz, who was going to charge $4500, hasn't been seen or heard from since he hung up on me last week.  

Kathy says her bank told her that Ruiz cashed her check within an hour of getting it.

Remember, if you have any story you would like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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