A local man says he was forced out of his home then lost his job in a matter of three months and that both happened because of one man: Erik Jones, the owner of I-80 Equipment. It’s the latest update in a story you’ll only see here.
As Matthew and Andrea Harp drop off their rent check, Andrea is already doing the math in her head to figure out how they’ll make ends meet this week.
“Today all I could think was well got to cut down on the grocery bill this week,” she said.
Their money trouble started at the house they were renting in Rock Island. One day in October they came home to a notice on the front door from the city.
“The people that owned the house didn’t do the right paperwork and didn’t register the house as a rental house,” said Matthew, a former I-80 employee.
The house was owned by Jones Lease Properties, which is ran by Erik Jones. Matthew was also working for him at the time at I-80 equipment.
Matthew and Andrea had 60 days to move their family out or else they’d face fines of up to $500 a day.
They tried to ask Jones Lease Properties for help, but didn’t get an response.
“We never heard a, ‘Hey, we took care of it. You don’t have to move,'” Andrea said. “We didn’t hear anything from them.”
Local 4 News found three different numbers listed online for Jones Lease Properties. The first two were disconnected. The third, found on Facebook, went to voicemail.
Two months after the trouble started with their home, Matthew found out I-80 was filing for bankruptcy.
Now the Harps are moved into a new house. While they aren’t worried about getting kicked out again, they are still trying to cover their losses.
“Some days it’s just really hard and we lean on each other,” Andrea said. “Hopefully, eventually everything will turn around.”
According to the Jones Lease Properties Facebook page, Matthew and Andrea Harp’s old house is available to rent.
Local 4 News has requested access to rental license documents for that property from the City of Rock Island.