Worst Milwaukee Contractors of 2010
Monarch Homes of Wisconsin | Slinger, Wis.
In August, the chief executive officer of Monarch Homes pleaded guilty to three felony counts of contractor theft in Waukesha County Court, marking another low in the long fall from grace for homebuilder Lawrence E. Gruber, who was once featured on the TV show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
Steve Klug says the Cedarburg home Monarch built for him had numerous defects, including misaligned doors and countertops. "We thought we were going with a local person who was trustworthy and would do a good job for us, and we got stiffed," says Klug, who also had to hire an attorney to deal with subcontractors' threats of liens.
Monarch filed for bankruptcy in 2009, declaring liabilities of more than $7.5 million to consumers, suppliers and others, and was one of Milwaukee's Worst Contractors last year. An Angie's List notice was added to alert members to the felony conviction. Gruber's attorney, Vincent R. Biskupic, did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Federal Loan Modification Law Center | Northridge, Calif.
In June, the Wisconsin attorney general won a default judgment of nearly $106,000 against the Federal Loan Modification Law Center for deceptively marketing itself to Wisconsin consumers as if it were affiliated with the federal government, according to the judgment.
It also collected upfront fees and failed to provide loan modification or foreclosure rescue services.
The California-based company demanded up to $3,500 without providing services to six Wisconsin consumers, including two from the Milwaukee area. It also didn't have the required state license.
"This fraud on consumers was vigorously pursued," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says. His office confirms the company hasn't paid the Wisconsin judgment.
The Federal Trade Commission issued $22.6 million in judgments against the company's executives and shut it down for ripping off more than 10,100 people nationwide. An Angie's List notice was added to alert members it's out of business. The company's phone numbers are out of service.
— by Emily Udell