Worst Milwaukee Contractors of 2009

Worst Milwaukee Contractors of 2009

Monarch Homes of Wisconsin | Slinger

Lawrence E. Gruber, chief operating officer for defunct builder Monarch Homes of Wisconsin, was arrested in September on 10 felony counts of theft.

Monarch Homes, featured on the show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," filed for bankruptcy. In June, the company claimed more than $7.5 million in liabilities and $1.4 million in assets.

Gruber's attorney, Vincent R. Biskupic, says his client looks forward to challenging the criminal charges in court. Gruber also has one civil case pending against him in Waukesh Circuit Court.

Steven Ray of Caledonia says he was stuck with improper wiring and a bad air conditioner after Monarch completed his home, and he had to deal with subcontractors' liens.

"You thought you were getting something good, but you were getting the shaft the whole time," Ray says.

Denver Kalkofen | New Holstein

A former securities broker accused of stealing millions from mostly senior citizens will go to prison for seven years after her conviction in July on four counts of theft and two counts of securities fraud.

Prosecutors say Denver Kalkofen, 55, of New Holstein, convinced 26 victims in nine Wisconsin counties to invest $2.4 million in a fictitious company called "Denuer." She then used the money to gamble.

Kalkofen even hosted a birthday party for a 91-year-old victim, says Patricia Struck of the state's Financial Institutions Division of Securities.

According to state records, Kalkofen was terminated as a licensed securities agent with ING Financial Partners in October 2008. The state revoked her license in January 2009 after investors complained she continued to sell phony securities for several more months.

A judge ordered Kalkofen to pay $2.2 million in restitution. Kalkofen's attorney declined to comment.

— reporting by Emily Udell

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Worst Milwaukee Contractors of 2010

A home builder who pleaded guilty to felony counts of contractor theft returns as one of the worst of Milwaukee and is joined by a loan modification company.

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