A disabled Oak Forest man who claims he was misled by employees of Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Water Cleanup has been relieved of his debt to the national company.
Roto-Rooter and Antonio Helm, who had an outstanding balance of $3,503.35 for water remediation work done in his home in late February, agreed Wednesday to waive the balance and release each other from any further claims or damages. Helm, 57, who is on a fixed disability income, previously paid the company nearly $3,000 to replace a faulty drainage pipe that caused a toilet to overflow in his bathroom.
The agreement was made one week after The Leader published a story detailing Helm’s case, in which he said Roto-Rooter employees assured him his homeowner’s insurance policy would cover costs for work Helm later deemed unnecessary. Helm agreed to have the work done at the time, and his insurance claim was subsequently denied.
“I really thank you so much,” Helm said of The Leader. “I’m very glad. I feel like I got some justice here. … And my wife (Christy) can sleep again.”
Jim Michael, Roto-Rooter’s Houston general manager, said last week that he disputed Helm’s claim and that the multiple employees who worked on the home followed industry protocols, did not guarantee the work would be covered by insurance and “did everything by the book.”
Nonetheless, Michael agreed to waive Helm’s outstanding balance. As part of a contract they both signed Wednesday, Helm cannot pursue compensation for damages he claims the company caused to his dishwasher, wood floors and granite countertops.
“For the sake of putting this to rest, I got rid of the bill,” Michael said. “I’m not going to pursue him any longer and he’s not going to pursue me any longer.”
Readers expressed an outpouring of support for Helm after last week’s story was published. He set up a GoFundMe account, which as of Wednesday afternoon had raised $120.
“I’m going to put it toward fixing the house,” he said. “I need to replace the dishwasher and replace the granite countertops and get the floors restained.”