News25 Investigates


25 Investigates: Broken Contract

Posted at 9:38 AM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 00:21:44-05

TEMPLE, TX — Valarie Saygidia's family had a dream to build a restaurant near Temple. She said the dream quickly turned into a nightmare the day she was approached by a stranger at a hardware store.

She said they were buying supplies when Lorenzo Terrazas introduced himself.

"He saw that ya know we bought a lot of supplies and he went to solicit his business and how he could help us make our dream come true," Valarie said.

Terrazas disputes this claim. He said that Valarie's uncle approached him at a gas station.

Despite how they came to this point, the two entered a verbal contract in May of 2015. Terrazas was going to be the contractor for their project.

Terrazas wrote up a proposal, but he never gave Valarie a written contract or a binding commitment. She said she never saw any important documents such as a contract, blue print or a time table for when the project would be completed. She even asked for examples of his work around the Temple area.

When 25 Investigates asked Lorenzo about that conversation and how both parties agreed it would be a fully operational restaurant (something he actually wrote on the proposal given to Valarie) he said he never even dealt with Valarie. He said he only dealt with her mom.

25 Investigates obtained copies of the paperwork filed by Valarie. In the certificate of ownership for a business or profession, Valarie's name is clearly listed as the owner of the proposed restaurant. In a letter from the title company (addressed to Valarie Saygidia), it addresses her "purchase" of an acre of land where the restaurant would've been built. Amy Rasor, with the Better Business Bureau of Fort Worth, suggests you get at least three bids before making a decision.

“What you really want to work toward is a written contract. You need everything in writing. Do not leave any blank spaces that they can go in and modify at a later time...and keep a copy of everything you have,” Rasor said.

In June 2015, Valarie says she handed Lorenzo a cashier’s check for $21,500 dollars to begin the project. Three months later, she forked over another $14,000 - and that’s when he finally poured cement.

Terrazas claims he has done nothing wrong, and he has text messages to prove it. However, he never would send us those messages.

In the meantime, state law requires a septic system to be installed for any restaurant business or home, and in Bell County, builders need to get that permit from the Public Health District. Director Kent Stephens oversees the On-Site Sewage Facility Office.

"It doesn't always make sense that somebody would start a project and have it near completion before they would even see if a septic system fits on the property or a suitable for the location, whether it's a residence or a business," Stephens said.

We were also curious to know where the address on Lorenzo’s proposal led to. We went to the original address, but the newer address penciled in led us to an open field.

"They just got mad because I just didn't finish uh...ya know, I just didn't want to uh finish the building at their request," Terrazas said.

Valarie admits she and her family should've done a better job of vetting Lorenzo. Now, she just wants to warn others.