The Eddie Show: Episode 2

In case you are just tuning in, be sure to read The Eddie Show: Season Opener

…and now back to our program.

And so, we marveled as the disintegrating old brick sidewalk (or so Eddie claimed) was rapidly removed and replaced with a fashionable new brick sidewalk – being very professionally laid by the ‘he finally made sense’ bricklayer. For an hour. At which point the brick layer stopped, admired the 20% of the job he’d completed, threw some plastic over a pile of bricks – some old, some new – and left saying, I gotta go, I’ll finish this tomorrow – mañana. That was October. This is April and the path remains the same: 20% new; with a plastic-wrapped pile of bricks in the middle of our torn-up sidewalk; crime scene tape directing everyone to step around the gaping hole; and, while you’re at it, be careful on the steps. The bricklayer had removed the riser on the first step so you climb our front stairs at your own risk.

Our front path still a mess

When we finally put a stop to The Eddie Show some four months later we had four of these damage and dash sites on our property, with none of the contracted work completed and expensive new problems created. Don’t imagine for a minute that any of this was acceptable to us; just know that we’d signed a contract and the mortgage company holding our insurance settlement in escrow had given Eddie close to $8,000 as a deposit on the project. Let’s just say we were desperate to find a way to work with this very charming fellow, who always had an answer, always had an excuse, and constantly added in extras at no cost to sweeten the rapidly souring situation.

But Eddie was fun and he always left us thoroughly entertained and exhausted in the wake of his erratic drop-ins. I’d turn to my sisters following an Eddie appearance, raise my eyebrows and prophetically declare, “Eddie is either bipolar or a criminal or both!” Because renovation à la Eddie didn’t match any business standards I’d ever understood to be normal or acceptable, let alone professional. Eddie didn’t arrive, he entered the scene, and began to perform immediately, claiming every bit of oxygen in the room. Everyone was greeted with a kiss and a request. Annie, please, a Benadryl before your pets kills me. Clare, the love of my life, hot tea, please, I’m dying here. Jokes were told along with great, big, outrageous, over-the-top stories where every character was a mobster or a criminal – everybody’s father was a pedophile and everybody’s kid was a drug addict. Everyone in every story always seemed to be doing time or newly released. One day I challenged Eddie saying, “My God, Eddie, don’t you know any nice stories. It’s like everyone you know is a con.” And Eddie would smile his very winning smile, showing off the fullness of his very nice dental veneers, and he’d wink and I’d think as he exited stage left, yep, bipolar or criminal – mark my word.


Life with Eddie fell apart finally and completely early one morning when once again the bricklayer arrived – not to complete the brick walkway – but to remove the roof from our garage – the only part of our home that was NOT leaking buckets. Our 110-year-old worker’s cottage has a matching 20-year-old garage. This 2 ½ car godsend is invaluable to our business as it functions perfectly as both warehouse and garage. It had sustained plenty of storm damage; but we’d made it clear to Eddie that we had to move in a prioritized fashion. Leaks first, all else second. And now he was tearing off our garage roof! At the absolute end of our rope, with no roofers or shingles in sight, we got the brick layer off the roof with strict instructions in both English and Spanish to touch NOTHING, get back in his truck and wait there while we tracked down Eddie.  

We quickly formed a 3-sister huddle in the living room, still in our jammies, and called Eddie who assured us that he and a roofing crew were on the way. He agreed that removing the garage roof was a bad idea and probably not the way to approach things. However he then proceeded to get more than a little indignant as we were being unreasonable creating way too much drama for his taste. You’ve got to always give it to Eddie for hutzpah. While Clare did her best to maintain her sanity while dealing with Eddie, I followed my intuition and proceeded to check on the garage. Sure enough the bricklayer was back on the garage roof, moving like the wind, flinging shingles everywhere – including our neighbor’s yard. Half the garage roof was already gone!

Eddie trying to install tarp

I thought for sure I would have a stroke. Right there that very Saturday in my jammies on my back porch watching the demolition of my garage. I was at the absolute end of my rope with damage everywhere and nothing getting done. Except Eddie. I was done with Eddie, exhausted from now four months of his shenanigans and my house in worse shape than the day we hired him. I literally took to my bed. Clare had to leave for a meeting leaving Annie to patiently supervise Eddie and the bricklayer as they attempted to tack tarp on our garage in the middle of a rapidly increasing wind storm. Eddie left with assurances that he would make good on all of this the following week.

We woke up three days later to discover that the tarp had blown off. The weather prediction? Heavy rains with snow to follow.


Midday on Tuesday, Clare and I once again left poor Annie to deal with Eddie and the dangling tarp. I had to get to my twice a week rehab doctor. Throughout our ongoing Eddie ordeal, my doctor had laughed along with me about Eddie’s shenanigans and reinforced my belief that contractors could be hard to deal with – assuring me that it would all work out in the end. But on that Tuesday both my doc and I knew Eddie had crossed the line one time too many. Mary, he said, I’m afraid this guy is a world class BS artist and it’s taking a real toll on your health. What neither my doctor nor I knew was that Clare was at that very moment sitting in the waiting room uncovering the terrible truth. Finally, Eddie had made a mistake and dropped it right in Clare’s lap.

Back at the cottage, Eddie had sent out Raphael, one of his numskulls, to reattach the tarp.  He’d also texted Annie the phone number of a new roofer he was assigning to our house. A better one than the previous fool he’d brought out to see the job multiple times already. Materials for the house and garage would be delivered the very next morning. Along with the many inches of snow the weather service was predicting, thought Annie, but she simply responded okay. What neither Eddie nor I was aware of was Clare and Annie were rapidly making other plans.

As soon as Raphael had secured the tarp – tacking it over the gutters and onto the pristine wood paneled siding on our garage – Annie ordered him into our home and proceeded to work with him to restore order for the first time in four months. The wallpaper had been mostly stripped and the walls patched but NOT sanded and painted. Still the Eddie-induced chaos was ending that day. Annie bossed and directed Raphael as only Annie can do until all the filthy tarps and blue tape and plastic that was covering everything was removed. Down came the ridiculous plastic dust protection wall he’d taped up four months earlier and – par for the course – parts of the wall surface along with it. Annie worked with a very crabby and put out Raphael as the floors were cleaned, pads and rugs laid and vacuumed, and all the furniture repositioned. Excepting the dozens of neatly stacked and labeled boxes, it looked and felt pretty much like home again.

But before she’d begun her big clean up with Raphael, Annie had texted the roofer’s phone number to Clare who sat waiting for me at the doctor’s office. Clare retrieved the number and tried to save it to her contacts but was unable to. The number for the new roofer duplicated a phone number she already had – the phone number of Jessica Muñoz, the woman who had referred us to Eddie in the first place, the woman from the online mommy group where we’d found Eddie. The fellow mommy who’d provided all the glowing reviews about Eddie! The woman who was always too busy to talk on the phone, or stop for a quick coffee, but who provided upon request dozens of amazing reviews from family and friends and neighbors, all of whom had worked with Eddie and his massive stellar team and had nothing but praise for his professionalism. An alarm went off in Clare’s head. Eddie and “the roofer” and “the referral lady” were all one and the same. All hidden within the internet anonymity of the mommy group. It was all Eddie and nothing but Eddie. And we’d made our great big decision based on a pack of lies from an online scammer who’d infiltrated our local online resource for the busy and unsuspecting women in our community!

Within a matter of minutes and this new information Clare was quickly able to discover the real Eddie. She pulled up the Better Business Bureau website where she’d found no complaints about Edward Cavanaugh and Goliath Construction originally and began to play with variations on the name – a company name so generic that checking it out had been damn near impossible. This time she found the perfect configuration – Goliath Construction Corporation, Inc. – and the owner Edmund Kavanaugh. We’d been one letter off from avoiding the whole expensive and time consuming mess. Edmund Kavanaugh with a K, not Edward Cavanaugh with a C, as Eddie had told us. A simple spelling change uncovered a life long record of criminal activity, arrests, convictions, imprisonments, name changes, mug shots and more.

Clare stepped outside the doctor’s office and quickly brought Annie up-to-speed. And then the two of them proceeded to keep me out of the loop for two days while they pieced together the whole sordid mess.

Clare and I arrived home from the doctor that Tuesday to find a garage secured with a reattached tarp and our home not renovated but at least restored to normalcy for the first time in four months. I was thrilled. At that point, all I wanted was a little peace and quiet and Annie’s extraordinary surprise efforts gave me that. I didn’t know that the girls had wisely restored a modicum of order because they knew the Eddie Show had ended and they needed peace and quiet, as well, to focus on the daunting task of figuring out how to get back our $8,000 deposit and move on. Neither of them imagined the full scope of the task ahead.

That was Tuesday afternoon. All day Wednesday and half of Thursday the girls were extraordinarily busy in our basement factory, which is always a good thing when you are in business. I thought nothing of it. But when my sisters proposed a hot cup of tea in the living room after Thursday lunch – and cookies were served – I knew something was up. Sugary treats are a rarity in our home so I knew I was being softened up for the dropping of some sort of bad news bomb. And when I saw the deep concern on their faces I immediately grabbed one of those fortification cookies.

I don’t need to remind you, do I, that we’re Irish; just know that the first words out of Clare’s mouth were, “No one has died.” Pause. Deep breath. “But Eddie’s a felon!” Full stop. I’d noticed that next to the two cookies was a small Halloween-sized Butterfinger. My favorite candy bar. I unwrapped it and popped it whole into my mouth. This was clearly going to be a big bomb drop and I braced myself. Sweet sticky chocolate dissolved in my mouth as the very unsavory story unfolded.

Ed Kavanaugh mug shot Addison Police Department

This is the precise moment when the primary language in our home changed from tea tree oil crop reports and concerns over tariffs destroying the price of our signature deodorant decanter to: rap sheet a mile long, state penitentiary for a long time, and mug shots – of which there were several. Our Eddie was a felon, a forger, a fraud and more. He was a complete and conniving fabrication. Every promise he’d made was a lie. Every deadline unmet just part of the game. Enjoined by court order from ever offering home repair services in the State of Illinois, even bidding our job had been a criminal act.

It was a devastating amount of bad news with real consequences to take in. We’re absolutely cursed, I thought. Absolutely cursed. And we’ll never see those $8,000 again. I could feel the deep shame and hopelessness I had fought against all my life settling like a living shroud over me in those first moments of shock and disappointment. I also saw the very exhausted faces of my sisters and I knew that they didn’t deserve this either and they didn’t need me to indulge in a melt-down. And so, I didn’t. And for that I am a weird kind of proud and eternally grateful to whatever spiritual grace carried me past my more typical response pattern. In that very moment, I was miraculously able to say no to US owning this. No to us being responsible for this. No to us being stupid or duped or naïve. No to us carrying any of the shame or responsibility for his deeds, his lies, his thievery, his deceitfulness, his choices. No to him and every man who had done this over and over to us our entire lives.

“It’s not just us, is it?” I asked. There had to be others. Other victims. Other women. Other seniors. Other deposits taken and now gone forever. They both looked me straight in the eye and shook their respective heads, yes. I wanted and needed to know more. Who had they called? Who had they involved? Had they contacted our insurance? His insurance? Did we need to involve the police? Had the online mommy group been notified? Did we need a lawyer? Some of the answers they had. Some they didn’t. What they did have was an organized folder of what they’d already uncovered and an outline of how to proceed. They only needed my blessing and they would move like the wind to stop Eddie in his tracks. Eddie, I exclaimed, what do we do about Eddie? Do we fire him? What if he shows up unannounced like he so often does? What about the roof? The roofer? Is there actually a roofer, or is that a lie too? Is he dangerous? Will he become so once he realizes that we’ve figured him out?

“So far I’ve found six other victims.” Clare said. “And I’ve barely scratched the surface.”

It had begun. The busy days and long nights of investigating; the sunny days dimmed by shades fully drawn; the nervous days of checking to be certain doors were locked; checking the yard regularly to make sure no one was out there doing further damage; and jumping at sounds we would never have noticed before. The days became weeks and for the first three of them I never slept more than a few hours. And most everything that mattered to us in our real lives had to be put on hold. But before any of that began, I had to give my blessing.

“I’ll be fine,” I told my sisters. “Work the phones. Do everything you can. We’ve got to stop him in his tracks before he victimizes one more person in our community. Back to work, both of you. But first, lock that front door, drop the shades and please, get me a copy of his mug shot.” The one where his mask has been removed and his sinister nature revealed. Clare had already printed it out and she handed it to me – along with 2 more bite-sized Butterfingers.

Advance to Episode 3: the Season Finale >

About the author: Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters, creators of lifestinks® natural deodorant that actually works and lifestings® bug repellent to help you beat DEET naturally. 

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