Cajun Navy Controversy: BATON ROUGE – A man who is said to have been one of the first people to join the “Cajun Navy 2016,” which helped flood victims in 2016, has been arrested. He is accused of taking more than $50,000 from a flood victim and not doing the work he agreed to do.
The East Baton Rouge Sheriff‘s Office says that the victim hired Jon Bridgers in October 2016 to do work on their home. The victim says Bridgers gave him an estimate of about $47,000, which included a down payment of $15,000.
The victim told deputies that he paid Bridgers a lot of money over the next few months, but when he went to check on the house in May 2017, he found that not much work had been done. Still, the victim says he paid Bridgers thousands more in July to install tiles and do other work.
Even though some of the work was done, the victim says that the flooring was damaged. When he went back to check on the house in October, most of the work was still not done. The victim told Bridgers that he was coming home to finish the job. In November, the victim got in touch with him again because he had paid for countertops that had never been sent. He says that Bridgers didn’t answer back.
The Victim Eventually Told Police
The victim eventually told police that he had paid $51,000 to Bridgers for a job that Bridgers never did. Bridgers told the deputies that he had told the victim that the project would take a while because of his other jobs and that he thought he was fired when the victim said he would be back home in October.
The sheriff’s office tried to set up a way for Bridgers to pay the victim for the work that didn’t get done, but those plans fell through when Bridgers allegedly missed the deadline. The person who was hurt says that he paid someone else more than $17,000 to finish the work that Bridgers didn’t do.
It was also found that Bridgers had never been a licensed contractor and had never been one. He says he didn’t know that he needed a license for the jobs he was doing. This week, Bridgers was taken into custody and charged with contractor fraud.
Bridgers and Other Members
Bridgers and other members of the Cajun Navy were invited to the White House earlier this year, where President Donald Trump thanked them for helping people during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Thursday night, Bridgers made the following statement: “I have always been known as a person who keeps his word. The news stories you read are NOT giving you the whole story. Let me be clear: I did not defraud anyone.
The situation we’re in now is not because of fraud, but because of bad communication. I tried to settle a contractual dispute in a friendly way. Since August 2016, I have selflessly given up many hours to help neighbors and communities in need in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida. The Cajun Navy is a movement going on all over the country, and I’m proud to be a small part of it.
My attention is still on what the Cajun Navy is doing every day to be ready for the next disaster, no matter where it is. We thank you for your prayers.”