Two area contractors accused of taking money for home repairs after the Memorial Day tornadoes but not doing the work were indicted Tuesday on theft charges.
Robert Tracy Greene, 53, of Dayton, is charged with 20 felony and two misdemeanor counts of theft involving 10 victims. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office says his company, TK Home Improvement, went to tornado-damaged areas and entered into contracts for repairs but either completed partial work or did no work. Most of the charges estimate dollar amounts at more than $1,000.
SPECIAL PROJECT: Walking the Path of the Storm
Brandon Valandingham, 35, of West Carrollton, is charged with eight felony theft charges involving four victims. His company was called Buckeye Storm Solutions. Charges against him estimate dollar amounts at more than $1,000 and more than $7,500.
“(Valandingham) took payment from the victims but never returned to do any of the work,” county Prosecutor Mat Heck said.
Valandingham was booked into Montgomery County Jail Tuesday on a warrant, Heck said. Greene remains at large. Greene already had two warrants out for his arrest on area theft charges. Greene has also been convicted of theft three times for contractor-related accusations: twice in 2012 and once in 2013.
Heck said they are currently investigating whether there are other victims.
Anyone with knowledge of Greene’s whereabouts are asked to call 937-225-4747.
Valandingham already faces similar charges in Miami County and a civil lawsuit by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for alleged violations of the state’s consumer-protection laws.
The Dayton Daily News first revealed the accusations against Greene and Valandingham in an investigation into complaints from tornado victims that unscrupulous contractors were delaying rebuilding.
The most serious charges against Valandingham allege he stole more than $7,500 from Kathy and Larry Borgerding of Dayton. The Borgerdings told the Dayton Daily News they paid his company $7,700 from an insurance settlement to repair tornado damage but he never showed up, so they had to pay another company out of pocket.
“I’m very thankful that they were able to do this for us and to catch him, and I’m very happy for Dayton Daily News standing by us and helping us through this,” Kathy Borgerding said. “I’m hoping he either does community service or some jail time and then he pays everybody back.”
Valandingham’s attorney, Charles Slicer, did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
Heck said his office is receiving additional complaints on a daily basis about contractors from after the storm and has multiple open investigations.
“Tragedy and misfortune bring out the best and the worst in humanity,” Heck said Tuesday. “We’ve heard a number of examples of neighbors, and … strangers helping those in need without even being asked or paid to do so. Today is about those who wanted to profit from the tragedy and vulnerability of others.”
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