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Vietnam War vet forced to sleep in car after home remodeler destroys his house

What was supposed to be an HGTV-styled ‘before-and-after’ home makeover story has no ‘after.’

William Lindsey
William Lindsey, a 72-year-old Vietnam War veteran, sometimes slept in his 2007 Chevrolet Malibu after a contractor promised to renovate his century-old Fair Park home. But, after tearing out the interior, the remodeler walked away. The remodeler has since filed for bankruptcy.(Jeffrey McWhorter / Special Contributor)

By Dave Lieber

All Tony Brown wanted was a better life for his aging parents. He certainly didn’t expect that his attempt at a good deed would leave them homeless. But that’s what has happened to William and Pearlie Lindsey.

The elderly couple has been homeless since January. After that, William sometimes slept with his wife Pearlie, 77, in her hospital room. But when she moved to rehab, William, a 72-year-old decorated Vietnam War veteran, slept in his car.

How could this happen?

Their son heard about a home remodeler, Mohammad “Mo” Asad, of KHAF Homes. Asad visited the Lindseys’ 111-year-old home near Fair Park and announced that he could update it for free as a goodwill gesture to the community.

One motivation was to create a home makeover TV show like those on HGTV. A film crew even came in and shot “before” footage.

Unfortunately, in this “before and after” story, there is no “after.”

William Lindsey
William Lindsey, a 72-year-old Vietnam War veteran, helps move his wife Pearlie Lindsey, 77, into an air-conditioned car as their son Tony Brown holds the door outside the Lindseys’ home of 44 years.(Jeffrey McWhorter / Special Contributor)

Asad and a crew dismantled most of the house, so that it became uninhabitable. Then Asad pulled out of the project. He has since filed for bankruptcy.

“I feel so terrible for my mom and dad,” Brown told The Watchdog. “I feel like I messed up trying to do a good thing. Now, they’re basically homeless.

“My dad is sleeping in his car. My mom ended up having congestive heart failure and had to go into the hospital, and I’m thinking it’s because of this. I tried to do the right thing and ended up making a bad situation worse.”

House was emptied

Asad was full of promises. He vowed to make the house wheelchair-friendly because Pearlie has had several strokes and uses a wheelchair.

The yellow house was emptied in January. Workers removed the kitchen cabinets, floors, carpeting, walls and ceilings.

Tony Brown
Tony Brown (right) tried to help his parents fix up their home, but it backfired when the contractor removed cabinets, flooring, carpeting, ceilings and walls — and then pulled out of the project and filed for bankruptcy.(Jeffrey McWhorter / Special Contributor)

Asad said in a phone interview that, after clearing the house, he discovered it was too dangerous for workers. The foundation was in bad shape, part of the roof had collapsed causing leaks and the interior had mildew and mold.

Brown said Asad knew all of that going into the project.

‘Doing good’

Asad told me, “This was a completely volunteer project. This was us trying to do good for the community.”

He continued, “I’m struggling financially.”

He said he explained to Brown, “I could not in good conscience put it back the way it was because if something happens, and the house collapses on your mother,” he would be responsible.

But he offered the family a deal. He’d put a few thousand dollars into the house if the family would secure city permits and hire a surveyor. Then he would work with the family to rebuild the house, rather than merely remodel it.

It’s money the family doesn’t have, they said.

The couple lives off Social Security and William’s military pension.

As a 20-year-old, he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. He saw combat and was awarded the Bronze Star. “I don’t know what I did, but they told me I was a hero,” he said.

The hero now calls a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu his sometime home.

William Lindsey
William Lindsey walks outside his home of 44 years. A plan to remodel the house backfired terribly.(Jeffrey McWhorter / Special Contributor)
‘Everyone has issues’

It’s distressing to see the trail of texts between Brown and the remodeler:

Brown: “Morning sir!! Mother wants to know when the project will be starting back up?? She is afraid that it won’t get put back together and I promised her it would!!!”

Asad: “We’ll build it God willing. Did you move forward with the demo permit?”

Brown: “No one is responding to my texts about what’s going to happen next about the project. And you won’t even text me back with any answers.”

Asad: “I just filed bankruptcy.”

Brown: “We took you at your word Mr. Asad. As a man of God this is how this is going to end up???”

Asad: “We don’t wanna keep hearing about your misfortunes. Everyone has issues.”

‘No contract’

Looking back on it now, William says, “I wish I had a contract.” All he has is a copy of Asad’s business card.

William doesn’t always sleep in his car. He and his wife are currently staying at her sister’s home.

Asad told me he remodeled another house “down the street.”

I talked to the son of that elderly homeowner.

David Jenkins told me the remodeling was “not completely successful.” The home had electrical problems. No lines were installed for phones. The shower doesn’t work right. And the exterior paint, applied in January, is already chipping.

As far as Brown goes, Asad told me, “If he used the same energy he’s using talking to you, he should get those permits.”

Susan and Terry Peavy are neighbors of the Lindseys. They notified The Dallas Morning News about the couple’s plight.

“It breaks my heart every day,” Susan says. “They can’t be together in their own house every night. I’m dumbfounded. I can’t comprehend how this is even happening.

“All I want for them is to be back in their house.”

Jennifer Brancato contributed to this story.

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* Helping the widow of Officer J.D. Tippit, the Dallas police officer killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, get buried beside her late husband

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