Photo of the Day: Family Left Hanging by Contractor
Left, Homeowner Jason Grezenski stands by an unfinished wall he says was supposed to separate the bedroom from the master bath. The plastic hanging from overhead covers an unfinished ceiling. (City-Times photo)
The Grezenski Family of Custer say they’ve been duped out of about $54,000 by a local contractor who left work to their home unfinished.
The family hired an experienced contractor from Rosholt to remodel and expand parts of their Rolling Hills Road home. Jason Grezenski and his wife Miranda signed a contract for the work, and said they paid him a total of $55,400 over a three- month period in 2012 but the work is still not complete.
“We just don’t know where else to go,” said Miranda Grezenski. “We’re out of options.”
The family’s home is filled with unfinished walls and ceilings, half- completed lighting projects, visible insulation- some of which was left exposed- gaps in the woodwork and uninstalled windows.
According to documents provided by the Grezenski Family, the contractor was hired in summer of 2012 to perform the work. Since then, the family says subcontractors have contacted them looking for money which the contractor was supposed to pay them for smaller jobs completed on the Grezenski’s home.
“We figured, we’re paying him and he’s hiring those subcontractors, so he would be the one to pay those guys,” Jason Grezenski said, adding the family isn’t able to sell the home because of the unfinished work, nor can they afford to move.
“I can’t even get a home equity loan to finish what he started,” he added.
Grezenski said the contractor never used the money the family gave him to pay for building materials ordered from Feltz Lumber in Stevens Point, causing the company to place a lien against the family’s home. Grezenski showed City-Times staff the letter from his bank detailing that lien as the reason for denying the loan.
“You hear about things like this happening all the time. I know it sounds cliché, but we never thought it would happen to us,” Jason Grezenski said. “All we wanted was the home of our dreams- now our kids can’t even have a fully-finished house to live in.”
The Grezenski’s say they reached out to the Portage Co. Sheriff’s Office, the Custer Building Inspector, the Better Business Bureau and even several media outlets for help to no avail. The family contacted at least four different attorneys to help recoup their financial losses, but each turned them away. According to the Grezenski’s documents, lawyers from various Central Wisconsin locations were unable to take the family’s case, with at least two law offices saying they already represented either Feltz Lumber or the contractor in other cases.
The family says it finally got a response from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, which sent an inspector to the home last year and subsequently filed a report with the Portage Co. District Attorney’s Office. A representative of the Dept. of Consumer Protection acknowledged the report but said they do not comment on open cases.
Portage Co. District Attorney Louis Molepske, Jr. said he was familiar with the complaint as well as with the contractor, but other than to say a case involving a contractor was already scheduled to be heard in circuit court, he would not comment specifically on the Grezenski matter.
“What I would say to anyone looking for a contractor is to do your homework,” Molepske said. “Check out whoever you’re looking to hire, make sure they’re licensed. Don’t just ask around.”