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Customers Say They Were Duped By Log Cabin Company

Customers Say They Were Duped By Log Cabin Company
Posted at 10:51 PM, Sep 23, 2015
and last updated 2016-01-18 00:43:06-05

A DeKalb County pastor and his wife are accused of taking thousands of dollars from folks around the country. 

The couple claims to sell fully built log homes.

But their customers tell NewsChannel 5 Investigates that they never got the homes they paid for.

Now, the couple is facing charges because of what the log home company owners allegedly did after one of their customers confronted them.

Danny Hall was slapped and wrestled and had an arm wrapped around his neck in home video captured when he confronted the Smithville couple, who he says ran off his money.

Hall explained to NewsChannel 5 Investigates, "We ended up with nothing for $36,000."

The Michigan man and his wife ordered a brand new log home through the Starry Hill Log Homes website back in January.

The company, which promises to build "the home you've always dreamed about," is run by Duane Park and his wife, Maureen.

But Hall said that, as soon as the couple cashed his checks, the nightmare began.

His logs were supposed to arrive in July, but didn't, Hall recalled.

"On several different occasions, he told us they were being shipped from Tennessee to Michigan. We waited. They never showed up."

Hall said he called, texted and emailed.

"Finally, he told us the $36,000 that we paid him, he had used for another job and that job went south and he didn't have the money to do ours."

But our investigation found that Duane Park has been telling customers this same sort of thing for years.

Similar complaints to the Better Business Bureau go back five years when he first ran Grizzly Log Homes.

After the BBB gave the company an "F," Park's company had a new name, Starry Hill Log Homes.

But the complaints from customers were the same.

Hall said, "He took my money and ran."

Hall drove all the way from Michigan to Smithville three weeks ago, looking for Duane Park.

And he found, as we did, that the address for Starry Hill Log Homes is the same as this storefront office for New Heart Outreach where, according to a sign in the window, Pastor Duane Park offers Bible studies twice a week.

When Hall finally found the Parks and asked about his house, he ended up getting the beating from them.

Both Duane Park and his wife, Maureen, were arrested and charged with assault.

Kenny Tripp is another Starry Hill customer who paid Duane Park essentially everything he had.

Tripp told NewsChannel 5 Investigates, "I think he (Duane Park) needs to be stopped. I think what I'm going through, nobody needs to go through."

He lives just a few miles from Park in DeKalb County and said Park was very convincing.

"He's trying to make you believe that him and God can construct anything," he said.

Tripp said that, for $19,000, Park promised he'd have his new log home in just two weeks.

"He was going to take the youth of his church and some men from his church and they was going to come and build it," Tripp explained.

That was nearly a year ago.

Tripp said no one ever showed up and Park gave him story after story and then finally blocked his calls.

Tripp eventually got part of his order of logs and cobbled together what he could.

The end result, though, is not anything near what he dreamed of.

"Basically what I've built is a barn - not a log home," Tripp said, as his eyes filled with tears.

Meanwhile, the other victim, Danny Hall, told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that the Parks, "take vacations using our money, Myrtle Beach, Disney World, having a great time," his voice drifting off in frustration.

Hall said he'd like to see the Parks arrested again and held accountable for what they've done.

"I want to put them in prison, and I don't want there to be another victim, Hall added.

Both Duane and Maureen Park are due in court Thursday morning on the assault charge. We did reach them by phone and they turned down our request for an interview.

In addition to Danny Hall from Michigan and Kenny Tripp from Smithville, NewsChannel 5 has been told that there are customers in Chattanooga, as well as Texas and Kentucky, who all say they paid the Parks for homes as well and never got them.

Several of those victims are now talking not only to local police, but also state and federal investigators.