Contractor rips up yards, rips off customers
MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A local contractor is facing lawsuits and complaints after customers say he did more damage than construction.
CBS 58 Investigates initially had just one complaint about Paul Porter, owner of Dimensional Concrete but we quickly found people who’ve had problems with Porter dating back a year.
A brand new patio, a place to hang out with the kids over the summer, that’s what one West Allis family thought they were getting when they hired Porter.
“We paid him on a Sunday and he was supposed to come out on a Monday to start framing and he didn’t show up and didn’t contact us at all,” said Kathryn, who didn’t want to show her face on camera.
Kathryn paid Porter $3200. The three-day job was supposed to be done at the beginning of June, but after ripping up the yard, Porter made excuses about why he wasn’t showing up. Kathryn says Porter also destroyed their front yard with his bobcat.
Days turned to weeks, Porter promised to come back after the 4th of July to finish.
“Did he come out on July 5?” CBS 58 Investigative reporter Kristen Barbaresi asked.
“No,” Kathryn said.
“When did you see him again?” Barbaresi asked.
“We’ve never seen him again,” Kathryn said.
CBS 58 Investigates started looking in to Dimensional Concrete and found other angry customers telling similar stories.
Debbie Bertnick hired Porter to put in a new drive way and concrete slabs by their pool. The job was supposed to be done at the end of March or early April but it wasn’t.
“He called and indicated that there was a problem,” Bertnick said.
Bertnick says her family got back from a trip and found a ton of damage and all work stopped because Porter hit a gas line and didn’t realize it. A neighbor called We Energies after smelling gas.
“So April 8 you come back, you see all the damage, when did you get in touch with Paul?” CBS 58 Investigates asked.
“We started reaching out to Paul over the next couple of days, we had a hard time getting a hold of him,” Bertnick said.
Porter never did any more work and Bernick filed a law suit saying she’s out more than $10,000 just to repair the damage.
Dave Ory tells a similar story. He paid $3000 for a new sidewalk and patio, supposedly a three-day job.
“How many times did he show up and actually work?” CBS 58 Investigates
“Oh he would come over here 8 different times,” Ory said. “And he would do little things like stand by his truck and talk on his phone. Move a piece of wood over there.”
Ory says when Porter finally poured a section of concrete, it was crooked.
And it’s not just customers who have complaints. Michael Kriewaldt worked for Porter briefly over the summer but quit after he didn’t get paid.
“Came to Friday and he didn’t pay me,” Kriewaldt said. “Told me to call him Saturday at 7:00, called him then and he blew me off. Told me to call him a couple hours later and blew me off.”
Kriewaldt says Porter owes him a about $900 and is taking him to court.
CBS 58 Investigates tracked down Porter to get some answers. He agreed to an interview but when he showed up, refused to go on camera. He asked us to email questions. We did but never got a response.
Off camera he admitted he owes Kriewaldt the money and says Kathryn’s complaints are valid, but he denies the rest.
All of the customers who had problems say they asked for a contract but didn’t get one. The Better Business Bureau says that’s a red flag.
“You wanna have some kind of security, make sure you get a contract and it’s on letterhead, something with that companies name, address, not just scribble don a notepad,” said Jim Temmer with the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin.
It’s a lesson all these customers learned the hard way.
“I will never, ever go with a contractor without a signed contract, one that’s from a reputable company,” Bernick said. “[I will] Never pay cash for anything.”
All the customers CBS 58 Investigates talked to say they had to hire other companies to finish the work.
Court records show Porter was a no-show at a court date in one of the suits against him. He’s supposed to be in court for a different case on Oct. 28.