Rogue lawn care provider solicits for new charity to aid veterans

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by Chris Nagus / News 4 Investigates

KMOV.com

Posted on May 8, 2012 at 9:14 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 9 at 3:10 PM

(News 4 Invesitgates) -- Raising money for the troops, who would say no to that?

This story might touch a nerve when you see who's behind this good cause and why the whole deal raises a lot of questions.
 
Larry Buckingham, aka Uncle Buck is selling lawn services to people like Bill Lamprecht of Ballwin.
“The name he gave me was Larry buck” said Lamprecht.
 
Lamprecht says he gave Buckingham a $250 down payment for yard work back in February 2012. But Lamprecht told News 4 “bottom line nothing has happened.” Buckingham’s company is advertising with a flyer.
 
It's a special offer for lawn service with some of the money going to help the troops.
 
 
When Larry Buckingham showed up to the house of one of our producer’s he proudly showed off the certificate from the Secretary of State’s office. As our cameras were recording down the street Buckingham told the News 4 producer “what we do is donate 20 percent of the profit.”
 
Here's the problem, also listed on the company’s articles of incorporation: Matt Buckingham, Larry's son.
 
The St. Louis Better Business Bureau has so many complaints about Matt Buckingham’s past lawn care businesses they ran out of table space to show them off.
 
Rob Klingler hired Matt when he was running a company called Greener Spaces.
“He is collecting money from people and not doing the work it is a complete scam.”
 
So News 4 went undercover and called these guys for a bid.
 
When our producer asked Larry Buckingham if he worked with anyone else, Larry responded “oh yeah, my son.”
 
Speaking of Matt, he was nowhere to be found. 
 
So News 4’s Chris Nagus went to the address Matt listed with the Missouri Secretary of State office. He doesn't live there but Chris Nagus did find a close family friend.
 
He told us Matt is “abusing the use of this address for personal reasons and we don't approve of it.” When Chris Nagus asked him if he thought Matt was running a charity, his response was “No I don't think so.”
 
The BBB says they can't find Matt either and when they get a Matt complaint they usually deal with Larry. 
 
“Our experience with the Buckinghams has been so bad we can't recommend anyone do business with them” said Bill Smith, an investigator with the BBB. He also told News 4 they have not found any evidence that Larry has donated any money to charity so far.
 
Larry told Chris Nagus he has donated $2,000 to the troops so far, mostly to help with utilities.
 
He couldn't provide any names so Nagus gave him the chance to call back so News 4 could verify that information. He never called back.
 
He also said he doesn't want his son Matt involved in this new company, and it won't be an issue because he's moving to Miami.
 
For taxes purposes, Larry’s company has not yet filed the proper paperwork with the IRS to be considered a charity.
 

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