Money

It was evident from the start that Haince's business was under-capitalized, or he at least wanted it to appear that way. There were indications that he had essentially no working capital at all, based - for example - on his request that the client cover his liability insurance and in some cases, his payroll.

In the beginning, Haince had asked for an ambitious payment schedule which was not tied to progress, but rather regular weekly payments. The clients refused, offering instead to pay on a progress basis, as well as specific milestone payments upon the completion of specific tasks - skylights installed, bathrooms completed, etc. Haince agreed to the milestone payments, after increasing them by about 10%.

The milestone payments represented about 36% of the project cost, and became the focus of several noisy confrontations and much lost time. A pattern developed early in the process in which Haince would demand milestone payments for supposedly completed tasks. In almost every case, the task had not been completed and some cases had not even been started. Some examples:

The main floor bathroom was mostly done, but the 3rd floor bathroom looked like this. It looked like this until the day Haince was fired. Click on it for the full-sized version.

On October 16th, Yvan invited his clients to lunch - on him. He announced that he had a definite completion date - November 27th. He was so confident that he offered to pay a $300/day penalty for each day he was late beyond the 27th. In fact he said, he was so confident about meeting that deadline that he had already booked his vacation for the following week. There was no mention of "Bruce's project" which he had said at the beginning needed his attention by the end of September. The clients were encouraged and agreed to pay up to $4000 for extra trades people, if they were necessary to meet the deadline. The clients made it clear that if the deadline was missed, any or all of the $4000 used would have to be repaid - immediately. Yvan agreed.

The $4000 was based on the fact that if they had to stay in rental accommodations past the end of November, the cost of apartment rental and storage would amount to almost $4000.

And speaking of $4000, recall that Yvan was shut down by an HRM building inspector on August 20th for not having a permit. On September 8th, Haince asked for a loan - "an advance against the final project payment" in his words - in order to "stay alive". He asked for $4000, in cash if possible. He got it. Go to the "Stairway" page to see how this unraveled.

The top floor bathroom became a festering problem. Short of cash, Haince asked for a 25% advance on the milestone payments for the main floor and 3rd floor bathrooms on October 21st. The clients paid it. On November 22nd, he asked for the balance of the milestone payments for both bathrooms.

Some truly bizarre financial transactions took place over the next few months - especially the Stairway episode. Early on, the clients began to realize they were paying for milestones which had not been reached. Haince's habit of asking for payments by phone without explaining what they were for (but promising to explain 'later') became an increasing source of irritation, and each payment was followed by repeated demands by the client for a breakdown of what the payment was for.

By the end of November, the clients knew that the light at the end of the tunnel was a train. They began the process of tallying up the costs. One of the items which was of particular interest was the amount of cash which had been handed over to Haince, so they asked him for a receipt - this is it.  This was in addition to the approximately $20,000 which had been paid by cheques. He asked for the receipt to be returned the next day - the clients decided to keep it.
By the end of November, the project was about 50% complete, and 2 months behind schedule.

Yvan Haince was fired on December 29th. The various liabilities which he incurred, including the $4000 loan and the $4000 to "absolutely, without fail, guarantee November 27th completion" and an accumulated late completion penalty of $8100 remain unpaid. Milestone payments of $10,350 for projects which were supposed to be finished but were not are being pursued for refund. In addition, it has been found that much of Haince's work - or that of his employees - was substandard and/or illegal and had to be redone, at a cost of $32,000. In addition, the clients hold Haince responsible for costs incurred in accommodations and storage for the months of October, November, December, January, February and March - approximately $21,000.

A few weeks after Yvan Haince was thrown off the project, he sent an email to the clients informing them that they still owed him $58,964.76 - in addition to the $72,000 which he had already been paid. No invoice or cost breakdown was included and no payment was made.
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