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Cheatham County Commissioner Tangled in Lawsuit

Commissioner Gary Binkley

Court documents bring to light a lawsuit and counter lawsuit between current Cheatham County Commissioner and contractor, Gary Binkley, and Kingston Spring’s residents, Dan and Debbie Small.

On June 8, Binkley filed a complaint claiming breach of contract and unjust enrichment against the Smalls; he is seeking $10, 281.47.

In response, the Smalls filed multiple counter-complaints against Binkley to include: breach of contract, violation of the Tennessee Contractors Licensing Act and the Tennessee Truth in Construction and Consumer Protection Act, fraud, civil conspiracy, intimidation, and defamation on July 13.

The lawsuit states that in January of this year, the Smalls contacted Binkley about working on their new home in Kingston Springs. Due to the “longstanding” relationship between the Smalls and Binkley, he agreed to do the work for actual expenses, foregoing all profit.

Based on this, the Smalls agreed to employ Binkley to perform the work of enclosing an area under an existing deck and turning it into an office.

Over the next three months, there were some unforeseen circumstances—frozen pipes in the master bathroom and subsequent damage—that altered the plans to instead create two new rooms: an office below the master bathroom, and an exercise room under the deck.

After most of the work was completed in the new office area and other various projects were finished, the lawsuit claims that Binkley was advised by Mr. Small to leave the premises, terminating his work on the project.

On April 23, 2018, Binkley submitted an invoice in the amount of $10, 281.47; it currently remains outstanding.

Binkley declined to comment at this time.

In a counterclaim, the Smalls say that Binkley is actually the one who breached the verbal agreement by engaging in “unlawful work in a civil conspiracy with his father-in-law, David Lenhart.”

“Both Binkley and Lenhart knew that permits were required for the work to be conducted on the Small’s home,” the countersuit reads. “Both of them knowingly failed and refused to obtain the permits required by law and the inspections, also required by law, for the protection of consumers like the Smalls.”

The Smalls state that Binkley failed to complete the work in a professional, good, timely, and workmanlike manner, failed to complete the work as agreed, misrepresented his quality of work, and knowingly and deliberately overcharged the Smalls for work allegedly done- a significant portion of which had to be (or will have to be) ripped out, repaired, and/or replaced.

The suit also states that Binkley charged the Smalls for unauthorized costs, sued them for the purpose of intimidation/harassment, violated the Tennessee Contractors Licensing Act and the Tennessee Truth in Construction and Consumer Protection Act, and defamed their name.

“Binkley’s claims are frivolous, without legal or factual merit, and brought for the purpose of intimidation and harassment,” says Small who also says that Binkley was paid $20,000 and that all materials purchased from Midway Supply were charged to the couple’s account there.

The $10,281.47 Binkley is requesting, the Smalls say, is a false and fraudulent asserted claim that “he has neither earned or rightfully expended.”

Due to the lack of permits and inspections required by law to be obtained, the Smalls could be forced to leave their home until inspectors are satisfied that all work has been properly permitted, inspected, and is compliant.

“He believes that, because he is a Cheatham County Commissioner, he can avoid the consequences of his misconduct while leaving us and our home at great risk,” Small adds of Binkley who is up for reelection on August 2.

A court date has not yet been set.

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