The family claims they lost $50,000 to Magnolia Network’s “Home Work” hosts

A third homeowner has leveled allegations against Home Work presenters Andy and Candis Meredith.

The hosts of the Magnolia Network renovation show have been accused of poor workmanship, excessive delays, bloated budgets and questionable accounting by at least two other homeowners whose homes have been remodeled in the series on Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network. The network pulled the show Thursday over the allegations.

“Magnolia Network is aware that certain homeowners have expressed concerns about the renovation projects being undertaken by Candis and Andy Meredith,” the network said in a statement emailed to TODAY. “Within the last day, we have received additional information regarding the scope of these issues, and we have decided to remove Home Work from the Magnolia Network offering pending verification of the claims.”

Vienna Goates, a mother of five, first wrote about her experience in a 19-part series of Instagram posts before speaking to TODAY on Saturday. She claimed she and her husband paid the Merediths $50,000 as a down payment for a 2019 renovation that never began. To this day, they say they have not recovered the funds. The Merediths confirmed the goats’ story in a phone call on Friday to TODAY.

“The goats just published their story and it’s true,” Candis told TODAY during a phone call Friday, in which she referenced Vienna’s Instagram posts.

Vienna and her husband Robert Goates say their collaboration with the Merediths began in 2019. While they had already started planning their home renovation and had plans drawn up by an architect, Vienna said she saw a casting call for “Home Work.” on Instagram and was thrilled to be selected as one of 10 homeowners whose remodels would be featured on the show.

Vienna and Robert Goates. (Viennese goats)

“She was like … have your other contractor hand the project over to us because we can do it faster and you’ll be on TV,” Vienna said. “They said they could do more with our budget than we normally could because it had to look good for our budget, so we said ‘Oh my God.’ At that point it was kind of a whirlwind.”

The story goes on

The Goates family said they plan to spend about $80,000 on their renovation but are willing to spend up to $100,000. They told TODAY they had saved for about two years to make the renovation possible and were pleased with Candi’s claims that she could do more with her budget. Robert said the couple hope to add two bathrooms to their one-bathroom home and “build it out for (their) family.”

The Merediths confirmed TODAY they started the project with the Goates family. Two other homeowners who appeared on the show spoke to TODAY and said the Merediths promised similarly low budgets and quick turnaround times. Vienna and Robert said they were careful.

“We had a lot of questions and we had talked to some other contractors and professionals and we asked these questions, ‘Can you really do it in this time frame? Can you really manage this budget?’” recalled Vienna.

“It sounded too good to be true,” Robert added.

Wien said Candis informed her in October 2019 that the renovations would be completed by Christmas, but the holiday season came and went without work starting and without much communication from Candis. In mid-January, Vienna said she met with Candis, and the host told her other projects weren’t going well.

Two other homeowners spoke to TODAY about their alleged experiences on Friday: Aubry Bennion had a kitchen makeover go awry while the Hawley family intended to transform several rooms in their home. Both homeowners described a renovation that was promised to be completed in a matter of weeks at a modest cost. Instead, both said it took months longer than promised, was poorly made, and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Candis told TODAY that she spent “tens of thousands” of her own money on the Bennion renovation.

“You could see that[Candis]was upset, you could see that she was stressed,” Vienna said. “And we said, ‘OK, we’re patient, we’re not going anywhere, and we want to do this.”

Vienna said that at that meeting Candis told them they needed to increase the budget to $100,000 and they agreed to go ahead with the project. On February 4, 2020, they sent Candis $50,000 as a deposit.

As of the end of March 2020, work had still not started and the couple say it has been difficult to reach Candis. Her occasional messages, Robert said, “are not enough to allay fears that we are forgetting”.

In an interview with TODAY, Candis confirmed that she was blown away working on these projects.

“I think we were really overwhelmed and did our best to communicate as soon as possible,” she said. In addition to speaking to TODAY, the Merediths also issued a lengthy statement on Instagram.

Vienna said her family remains understanding of her project’s delay, particularly as the stalled renovation coincided with the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We knew they weren’t the only ones being stopped,” Vienna recalled. “It made sense, yes you will have delays because no one knows what to do at the moment.”

That spring, the family’s main concern was interest on the loan they took out to fund the project, but in early April, Candis sent a payment that covered some of that interest.

By May, work had not started and Robert was laid off, leaving the family financially stressed.

“We were ready to finish,” said Vienna. “She promised to get back to us with specific launch dates and things … Then it was like August and we still hadn’t heard anything, so September is when we tried to pull the plug.”

In mid-September, Vienna said she had texted Candis to let her know her circumstances had changed and they would not be able to continue with the project. She told TODAY that Candis seemed understanding at the time and said she would get the couple’s money back.

In November, the Goats hired an attorney who sent the Merediths a letter demanding their deposit be returned. The Goats said the Merediths told them they could pay $21,000 up front and then requested a payment plan for the remaining amount. Their attorney set out a “rigid” payment schedule, but to date, the Goates family has only recovered about $14,000 of their original $50,000 payment, Robert and Vienna said.

TODAY reviewed a judgment signed by Candis Meredith that confirmed the Merediths owed the Goates family $39,537.94 as of September 30, 2021.

Candis and Andy Meredith confirmed the couple’s story to TODAY and confirmed they still owe the couple money.

Construction on the Utah Goat House was never started or completed.  (Viennese goats)

Construction on the Utah Goat House was never started or completed. (Viennese goats)

“We actively tried to pay, and we paid everything we could every time,” Candis told TODAY. She also said faulty work by contractors was to blame for the delays and extended budgets on other projects, though she declined to name the contractor or confirm details about TODAY. Andrew told TODAY that as per their contracts, he and Candis were only consultants on the renovations.

While the Merediths still owe the Goates family, Robert said he and his wife are not taking any further legal action at this time because they believe pursuing a lawsuit will cost more than they hope.

Vienna said she still feels “guilty” about choosing to work with the Merediths and expressed regret for responding to the casting call instead of going ahead with the plan they had.

“It was awful,” said Vienna. “There was a realization that she was really nice and she’d professed to care about us and our situation so many times… and to realize that wasn’t the case was devastating… That realization that we were being taken advantage of felt.” really get hurt.”

As the goats join two other families in discussing bad experiences with the Merediths, one woman whose home was featured in Home Work shared her positive experiences with the Merediths on Instagram.

“Many of you know that I had to wait longer than I liked for my reading booth to be ready, but ultimately I love what they did and would have done it again,” wrote @hotcocoareads, who takes to Instagram as Jeana has been identified. “I don’t think their intention was to hurt anyone or steal, but they just couldn’t take on all the projects they tried.”

Taking to Instagram, the Merediths criticized the “one-sided narrative” unfolding on social media.

“All we can say is that there are two sides to every story, and while we have chosen not to go public with our truth because we know how hurtful that feels, we understand that just hearing one side is a negative.” can draw a picture,” the couple wrote.

Candis admitted to TODAY that she and her husband “made a lot of mistakes” and wanted to make things right.

“We never want to do that again,” Candis added. “We never meant to hurt anyone … It’s just impossible to share the full truth without hurting people.”

While the Goates family is not filing a lawsuit, they did hire a collections attorney in August 2021, and Wien said they received a payment from the Merediths in December. However, Vienna said the Merediths didn’t stick to the originally agreed payment schedule.

“We received a small payment last month, $3,000, but over time the interest has continued to accrue and now we also have legal fees,” Vienna said. Robert said they have paid “about nine or ten thousand dollars” in interest so far, only a portion of which is covered by Candis’ payments.

“There was clearly a huge mismanagement of the situation, and why are we the victims of that?” Wien told TODAY. “Why are we the victims if they mismanaged our money?”

Update 1/12/22: The Merediths posted a series of videos and statements on Instagram on January 12, 2022. TODAY they reported on their posts here.

Update 1/13/2022: Magnolia Network announced it will air “Home Work” again. TODAY wrote about the announcement here.

Comments are closed.