Homeowners and suppliers in the Alberta-Saskatchewan border city of Lloydminster claim they are owed tens of thousands of dollars by a contractor who seems to have vanished after collecting deposits for jobs they say were either not started or were never completed.
Customers who spoke to Go Public say they have been told their deposits, which range from $6,500 to $31,500, are probably lost.
The company’s owner, Kirk Kimberley, has been unreachable.
Jay Fisher with the Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour said the Government of Alberta is still trying to serve Kimberley with an order to pay more $57,000 to employees who say they are owed wages.
Fisher said the Ministry investigated 22 complaints, the majority being from the Calgary area, with three or four coming from Lloydminster and Edmonton.
Around the same time workers in Calgary were complaining, the company was actively pursuing contracts in the Lloydminster area.
Company promises an on-time completion
In October, 2013, Jenna Young wanted new windows and siding, and a new roof for her bungalow in Lloydminster.
She said she chose From Foundation to Finish -- even though its estimate was higher -- because they assured her they could meet her schedule.
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Young was expecting a baby and wanted the work finished before her due date.
She signed a contract with From Foundation to Finish for just over $28,000, with the work to be completed by Feb. 15, 2015.
She paid the company a deposit of $11,607.50, believing it was standard industry practice to collect deposit before work starts.
“They seemed reasonable,” Young said. “They required a 40 per cent deposit in order that they could order the materials to get our job done in the time frame.”
When no work had started by the end of January Young went to the company’s office only to find they were no longer there.
“I just felt sick to my stomach” customer says
“I just felt sick to my stomach,” she said. “At that point I knew our money was already gone.”
In the end, Young and her husband paid another contractor to repair the roof. Young says they took a line of credit to cover the the deposit and the repairs, and are paying interest on the more than $11,000 they believe is lost.
They plan to sell the house without replacing the siding or windows.
“We were supposed to be happy with our house. Now we don’t even want to live here,” Young said. “It’s a lot of money for 25 year-olds. We don’t have that to throw around.”
Customers stuck with interest payments
Spencer Bassett dealt with From Foundation to Finish at a new office in Lloydminster and hired them to excavate and repair his house’s foundation.
On Feb. 1, 2014 he gave the company a bank draft for $12,500 -- 50 per cent of the estimated total.
The work was to be started May 15, but when he called in April to check on the progress he said the phone numbers were disconnected.
Bassett said when he went back to the From Foundation to Finish office he was told the company was no longer operating and that his deposit was gone.
“I was very angry. It’s not like I have that kind of cash to give away,“ Bassett said.
Bassett said he and his wife had also taken a line of credit to pay for the repairs and had planned to pay off the loan by selling the house.
Now, he says they’re stuck paying interest on a loan and can’t afford to pay for the foundation repairs.
“I work hard for that money, ten hours a day in the oilfield getting muddy and dirty. That’s blood, sweat and tears. It’s very upsetting.”
Go Public has spoken to four other customers and two materials suppliers, in Lloydminster as well as Maidstone and Kitscoty, Alta., who say they are owed amounts ranging from $3,600 to $31,500 by From Foundation to Finish.
Former employees operating new company at same address, says customer
At the office, Bassett said he was told two former From Foundation to Finish employees -- Mike Semesock, with whom he signed the contract, and Daniel Armstrong -- were operating as a new company called Lloydminster Renovations Plus Ltd.
Bassett said Armstrong told him he’d been “helping other people who had been screwed over by this company,” and offered to write up a new estimate for the job.
“I’m like, ‘You think I’m going to let you guys into my house after I just gave you all this money? Why would I … hire you guys?’“
Semesock refused a Go Public request to comment on his time with the company.
There is no evidence to suggest Semesock or Armstrong are responsible for any wrongdoings that may have been done by From Foundations to Finish.
Armstrong repeated to Go Public that his new company was “helping” former Foundation clients by referring them to other contractors.
“Our company is completely segregated from (From Foundation to Finish),” Armstrong said, who insisted he was only an employee and had no signing authority for the company’s finances, and claims he is also owed money by Kimberley.
Armstrong would not be specific about when he stopped representing From Foundation to Finish and began working as Lloydminster Renovations, but said he and Semesock were setting up a new company because he suspected Kimberley was in financial trouble.
Armstrong says he hasn’t heard from Kimberley in two months.
Go Public has tried six phone numbers for From Foundation to Finish and Kimberley -- all have have been disconnected.
We also sent emails to 8 addresses, two of which bounced back as undeliverable. We also tried to reach him through LinkedIn and Twitter. After CBC sent a message to Kimberley’s Facebook account, his page was shut down.
In previous email and Facebook exchanges with Young and Bassett, Kimberley blamed the company’s problems on employees who managed the company and says the company will be dissolving and he will be filing for personal bankruptcy.
Armstrong thinks otherwise. He suggests Kimberley’s problems began when he tried to expand too far and too fast.
From Foundation to Finish Builders Inc. was registered as corporation in May 2013 with Kirk Kimberley as its sole director. According to court records as of May 15 neither Kimberley nor From Foundation to Finish had filed for bankruptcy.