Confounding Contractor

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Seven On Your Side
August 31, 2010 11:46:31 AM PDT
7 on your side's been looking for this man for a year. A contractor who's left in his wake a wave of broken promises and angry consumers; out hundreds of thousands of dollars. But finally, we found the man, operating without a license, trying to solicit more money for a job not well done. "I believe you owe this woman, $167,000 dollars. Do you want to stop and answer the questions?"

He turned his back to our cameras, the same way his client Alexandria Piszczatowski, says he turned his back on her home, leaving it in disrepair, uninhabitable with no utilities.

"I don't whether he's stalling or just wanted to take my money or take advantage of me."

His name is Wayne Drinkwine. More than 3 years ago Alexandria took out a loan to pay his company, Min-Con Construction Co., a hefty downpayment, $58,000, to demolish her house and rebuild the two family structure.

6 months later? she says Drinkwine came looking for more money.

"I believe it was a 5% discount I got. So I needed to give him $105,000 additional."

To date, that's more than $160,000. But all Alexandria has is blueprints and a list of permits and surveys allegedly completed.

A year ago Tappy Phillips met Stebbin John another homeowner who says he also gave Wayne Drinkwine, who he knew as Wayne Thomas of JZac Construction, money to renovate his home in Queens.

"I don't know if you can see it right now, covered up all this had to be ripped out and redone," pointed out the homeowner from Brooklyn. "I'm on the hook to him for $130,000 JZac, plus another $100,000 to finish the mess he left."

New York's Department of Consumer Affairs ordered JZac to pay restitution to a dozen dissatisfied customers. DCA also ordered Drinkwine to refund Alexandria's money.

On the day we caught up with him, Drinkwine was back at Alexandria's boarded up property, asking her for another $8,000 to get started. Using yet another alias - W.T. Duke Benevino and another company name. Drinkwine's new company is called D.C All Quick Development Construction, he freely admits it's not licensed in the 5 boroughs to do home improvement work. His excuse? It subcontracts out the work. But, according to DCA, if you take money and sign a contract you MUST be licensed.

Drinkwine talked to 7 on your side over the phone, later, agreeing he owed Alexandria all of her money, minus expenses he claimed he outlaid. But so far,- he's paid nothing.

As for his old company JZac, it will be the focus of a hearing on deceptive sales practices, at consumer affairs later this week.

Wayne says he was just a salesman, not responsible to make refunds.

But now the Queens District Attorney is investigating Drinkwine and wants to hear from consumers who feel they've been ripped off. If you have a complaint about Wayne Drinkwine, the Queens District Attorney wants to hear from you. Call the Queens District Attorney's office at (718) 286-6673.

Story by: Nina Pineda

Produced by: Steve Livingstone CONNECT WITH NINA PINEDA AND 7 ON YOUR SIDE