Local church warns others of contractor as new parking lot already starts to fall apart

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Pastor Brian Gallardo of Life Gate Church kicked his nearly new asphalt parking lot -- only to see gravel fly up.

Pastor Brian Gallardo of Life Gate Church

"This is just every where," Gallardo said. "It should not be doing that."

He pointed to weeds already poking out of the asphalt and to other areas where the new asphalt was spread so thin you could still see the old parking lot beneath.

It's frustrating for Gallardo who said his 300-member congregation spent about $32,000 to repave the parking lot just three months earlier. The work was done by Mike Sharp of Sharp Surface Solutions.

"He left a flyer on our front door, and it just happened to be the exact time we were accepting bids for the parking lot," Gallardo said.

At $32,000, Sharp's bid was on the lower end, but Sharp said that's because he planned to donate much of the labor. He laid out the terms in an email. There was supposed to be 2.5 inches of asphalt over the entire parking lot.

The church paid a second company to test the crumbling parking lot. It showed only one inch of asphalt was poured.

"He gave us his word," Gallardo said.

But just a week after finishing the job, Gallardo started to see problems.

He hired a company to test the asphalt. It determined the majority of the parking lot had about an inch an asphalt.

"They said by winter, it will be coming up in pieces," Gallardo said.

It was news so bad that the pastor had to tell his congregation.

"I'm pretty upset for my people because I know they worked so hard" to raise the money, he said.

Mike Sharp of Sharp Surface Solutions

FOX4 Problem Solvers caught up with Sharp as he was preparing to put a bid on someone else's driveway. He denied that he had laid less than 2.5 inches of asphalt.

"What you are saying has no validity," Sharp said.

But he said he was still in discussion with the pastor, trying to find a way to resolve any dispute.

We pointed out that the pastor was no longer talking to Sharp on the advice of his attorney and that he said the resolutions that Sharp had already offered -- sealing the parking lot and filling in low spots -- would not solve the problem.

FOX4 asked Sharp for the church's $32,000 back. Sharp told us he would give the pastor a call.

Gallardo told us he received a phone message from Sharp, but no refund was offered. The pastor told us that Sharp warned him in the phone message not to speak poorly of him.

Life Gate Church parking lot

Sharp's attorney later contacted FOX4 Problem Solvers to inform us that Sharp upheld the terms of his one-page contract with the church.

The attorney said the promise of 2.5 inches of asphalt, which was made in an email, was not listed on the contract and would therefore not be binding in a court of law. She added that Sharp is still willing to try and work with the pastor and his church.

But the pastor said his main goal now is to warn others.

"My hope for this story is to tell our community, which I love deeply, to be on guard if they get a flyer from this company."

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