No-show contractor skips court, draws new attention

Heidi Young in Wyoming District Court where she is suing Bill Secrest. (May 17, 2016)

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — There are new developments in the Target 8 investigation into Bill Secrest. Tuesday, Secrest was due in Wyoming District Court where he was being sued by Heidi Young.

Target 8 profiled Young and the construction work on her Wyoming home that was left unfinished by Secrest. She sued Secrest in small claims court for the money she had paid him for the job that was left unfinished.

However, Secrest failed to appear in court on Tuesday.

Target 8 first exposed Secrest in January 2015 when he was a no-show snow plow driver. Among the customers he left in a lurch was a woman with brain cancer whose friends had raised money to make sure her driveway got plowed.

A file mug shot of Bill Secrest from the Kent County Correctional Facility.
A file mug shot of Bill Secrest from the Kent County Correctional Facility.

Secrest ultimately pleaded guilty to larceny by conversion for taking money but failing to plow. At the time, he told Target 8 his plow had broken down and that he would “make it right” with his customers.

“Mr. Secrest is not here, and it’s about quarter after one. We try to give everybody a grace period of about 15 minutes just in case they have an issue. We haven’t heard from him,” said District Court Judge Pablo Cortes on Tuesday before ruling in favor of Young.

Young was awarded $1,250 plus $77 in court costs she had paid to file the lawsuit.

“I think criminal charges should be filed against him. I believe he is a habitual offender and he will do this to the next person. I’m far from the only one. I also feel like I probably will have to come back to court in order to get my money from him. Not showing up today just shows he didn’t care,” said Young after the hearing.

Young says Secrest offered to settle the lawsuit for about half the amount owed, but she refused the offer, saying she did not think it was fair.

“I don’t feel like I will get my money back. At least not in any timely manner,” Young said.

There is good reason to believe she may have trouble collecting. Secrest still owes thousands of dollars in restitution and other court costs from previous cases.

Target 8’s story on Young’s situation has also drawn the attention of the Michigan Department of Corrections and the state probation department.

A notice in the court file from a probation agent says “the defendant was in the new[s] again and it was reported that he was self-employed a violation of his probation order.”

Secrest was on camera telling Target 8 he owned his own company, Midwest Contractors. It’s the same company Heidi Young had hired to work on her home.

Last week, a Kent County judge amended the terms of Secrest’s probation.

“You must not work in a position involving the direct exchange of monies for work that includes house construction, repairs,” according to the court file the new terms state. “You must not work in any residence unless you first obtain written permission from the field agent and unless you first advise the homeowner you are on probation.”

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