House painter still faces charges in Cass and Pottawattamie County after refunds

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 10:24 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - There are new developments since a 6 On Your Side investigation exposed a painting contractor taking money and not doing the job. One homeowner has been paid back but we’ve found others still waiting on refunds.

Sarpy County dropped a theft by deception charge against house painter Richard Griger after he paid $3,000 restitution to a Gretna homeowner. But that doesn’t brush aside felony warrants in two other counties.

“As long as he doesn’t do this to anyone else, I’ll be happy,” said homeowner Sean Halverson.

Council Bluffs homeowner Sean Halverson paid Griger $1,900 a year ago and received only paint samples.

“He agreed to pay me back and then I kept texting him leaving voice mails, ‘where’s the check?’. ‘Are you sending the check?’ and I heard nothing for five months,” he said.

In Louisville, Nebraska, a couple paid Griger $3,000 for trim painting and allegedly got mostly excuses.

“There was a death in the family, there was something wrong with him, there was something wrong with the weather,” said homeowner Karen Harvey Holmes.

Mike and Karen won a default civil judgment against the panter but they’ve yet to collect. The couple hired another contractor who painted the trim but because the first one didn’t do the job means they’ve spent another $3,000 more than they budgeted for.

The homeowners found the house painter through social media and agreed to pay him half down.

“I’d never do it again, pay money upfront. And we’ve had a couple of situations where people asked for money upfront. We explained this situation and said we understand,” said homeowner Mike Zulkuski.

The Better Business Bureau warns against large down payments before work starts.

“We always get a little nervous when contactors ask for half the money down. In this case, that’s a pretty big chunk of change,” said Jim Hegarty, BBB.

The homeowners say they sought criminal charges against the house painter after his broken promises left them seeing red.

“It’s not just the loss of $3,000, it’s been two years of our life,” said Karen.

“I’m not vindictive, I think I gave him more than enough time to make it right,” said Sean.

6 News’ check of court records shows active warrants against Richard Griger in Cass County, Nebraska, and Pottawattamie County, Iowa. There was no reply to text messages 6 News sent to the painter and his Nebraska attorney hasn’t returned calls.

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