Family’s Struggle With Contractor Brings Felony Charges
Left, Jason Grezenski stands in the unfinished bathroom of his Custer home. The contractor Grezenski’s family hired to complete work on their home is now facing felony charges. (City-Times photo)
By Patrick Lynn
A local contractor faces felony charges after a Custer family say he duped them out of more than $50,000.
Jason and Miranda Grezenski, who live on Rolling Hills Road with their children, say they hired Jason Napiwocki of Rosholt in 2012 to remodel and expand their home. More than $50,000 later, the home remains unfinished and- in some spots- exposed to the elements.
Napiwocki now faces charges of contract violation, theft and fraud thanks in part to an investigation by the Wisconsin Dept. of Consumer Protection. The felony charges could put Napiwocki in prison for up to six years and fine him as much as $10,000.
“This was supposed to be our dream home,” said Jason Grezenski, who works for Wisconsin Public Service. “Now, I can’t even get a home equity loan to finish what he started.”
In January the City-Times reported the Grezenski Family hired Napiwocki based on their past friendship in summer of 2012 to perform upgrades and add space to their home. Jason and Miranda Grezenski say they signed a contract with Napiwocki for the work but he continually asked for additional funds without completing the work. Napiwocki eventually asked the family for a total nearly $80,000.
“There was already a whole bunch of stuff he hadn’t completed but he kept asking for more money,” Jason Grezenski said. “We had no more money to pay him anyway.”
The Grezenski’s accuse Napiwocki of leaving unfinished walls and ceilings, half- completed lighting projects, visible and exposed insulation, gaps in the woodwork and uninstalled windows.
The Grezenski’s also say there’s been a lien placed on their home by a local lumber company over an order for construction material which Napiwocki never paid for.
“I can’t even get a home equity loan to finish all this (work) because there’s a lien against it,” Jason Grezenski said. “We don’t have the money to move, so we have to see this through.”
Jason Grezenski also says subcontractors hired by Napiwocki have approached his family looking to be paid. Grezenski also said his family’s own attempts to get their money back- or at least get the work completed- have failed and were met with threats against the family by Napiwocki.
“We’ve called police, we’ve contact lawyers; I guess it’s up to what consumer protection has to report,” Jason Grezenski said.
When City-Times staff spoke with Napowocki to hear his version of the events, Napiwocki only threatened legal action and refused to answer questions.
“You don’t know half of what’s going on here,” Napiwocki said.
Grezenski and his wife say they contacted the Wisconsin Department of Consumer Protection, which sent an investigator to observe incomplete work to the family’s home and forwarded the findings to Portage County District Attorney.
“They (consumer protection) got out here pretty quick,” Jason Grezenski said. “But they won’t tell us if they can help get our money back, or get the work we paid for done, so we’ll have to wait and see until it goes to court.”
Napiwocki is expected to appear in court on March 17 to answer for those charges. He currently remains free on a $5,000 signature bond.