help/advice needed with contractor problem

I hired a contractor to remodel a 1/2 bath into a full bath. The original contract was signed in mid may with no date of completion stated...but contractor said "two weeks".
In mid June, the project was still not even close to being completed, so we re-wrote the contract with a final completion deadline with monetary penalties if said dealine wasnt met. Both partied signed the written contract that also stated that ZERO money was due until the porject was 100% completed.
Now, the contractor is demanding that I pay him 80% of the cost even though the project is *still* not even close to completion (in mid august).
I guess what im asking is: How legal is a signed contract that wasnt drafted by a lawyer? According to the contract, I dont owe him a penny....but he has purchased some materials that are in my house and installed.
Any advice would be great.
thanks, pat
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snipped-for-privacy@cinci.rr.com (pat) wrote in message

A not uncommon problem. Small claims court should settle the issue. Here, you can represent yourself. The signed contract and some photos should be enough. However, the kicker is what do you do with the construction. It's hard to get someone to pick up a half finished project.
Tom Baker
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It doesn't matter who drafted a contract. If it's clear, the judge will like it.

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Contract is binding if both sign it. I am always a big fan of the 1/3 at a time payment plan, myself.
--Don--

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I agree. In fact, I even offered to place money in escrow until the project was complete...the contractor refused.
I agree that the contractor is flaky and things dont make sense....but hindsight is 20/20 and now im in a situation where I just want it to legally be over. If he sues me and a judge says I have to pay him (effectively making the signed contract useless) then Im ok with that to simply get the guy to stop harassing me. :(
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