Stay Weather Aware: Winter Weather Advisory through 6 a.m. Friday

Man fights with KC holiday lighting company that had his computer for 3 years

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Data pix.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There's really nothing subtle about Robert Connally's house at Christmas. It's a noisy celebration of lights and animation.

"I cause a traffic jam, but my neighbors don't care," Connally said. "My neighbors like it."

But behind all the cheer is a rather nasty tale with a Kansas City connection. Connally has been fighting with Animated Lighting, a Kansas City company, to reacquire the computer he uses to run his holiday extravaganzas.

The last time he saw his computer was when he sent it in for an upgrade three years ago. The computer holds what he estimated at $60,000 worth of programs Connally has bought over the years -- all from Animated Lighting. Without his computer, the only shows Connally can light up now are old shows on an old system.

"It really eats at you," said Connally.

He's not the only one upset. Aaron Reese with the Better Business Bureau of Greater Kansas City said Animated Lighting has an "F" rating for a string of unanswered complaints from customers from all over the world, including Australia and Puerto Rico.

Even the Missouri Attorney General's office is involved. It's suing Animated Lighting and its owner Paul Smith, accusing the company of deceptive business practices. The AG is also seeking a court order barring the company from ever doing business again in Missouri.

FOX 4 Problem Solvers paid a personal visit to the company, hoping to pick up Connally's computer. Employee Jody Dickey told us owner Paul Smith is rarely there, but Dickey made a personal promise to try and solve this problem.

"I don't know where it is, but I'll look," Dickey said.

He kept his word. A few days later he contacted us to let us know he had found the computer still in the box it was mailed in. He said he was now updating it with the new programs Connally had purchased and would mail it ship it back to him on Tuesday.

That's the first good news Connally has heard in three years.

What Dickey couldn't do was provide Connally with the additional Christmas decorations he'd purchased. He said those would have to come from the company's owner. But owner Paul Smith has never returned FOX 4's phone calls.

According to court records, Smith has a $300,000 lien against his business by the Missouri Department of Revenue and another $20,000 judgment against him by an electrical supplier.

Connally wasn't hopeful about ever getting this rest of his order, but he's grateful to have the computer back and determined to not let the whole experience dim his spirits or the lights on his home.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.