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Homeowners, employees protest after contractor goes bankrupt

Homeowners and former employees protest outside the home of Adam Gardin, the owner of GarCon Building Group, Jan. 5, 2015. CITYNEWS

The frigid conditions didn’t stop enraged homeowners from protesting outside the home of a contractor they claimed bilked them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

About a dozen people including Greg Harris say they hired Adam Gardin, the owner of GarCon Building Group, to do renovations on their homes. But when the company suddenly shut down last week, they were not only out thousands of dollars, but their homes were in shambles.

Harris said he hired Gardin in August to put an addition onto the back of his home.

He said he should have known something was off right from the start when he was asked to put down a 30 per cent deposit, which was over $60,000, before any of the work was done.

The project was supposed to take four months to complete but was delayed three weeks.

The renovation also required workers to completely gut his finished basement, which has caused extensive damage to his home.

“Due to not tarping my house when the demolition happened, my entire basement was destroyed – which was completely finished. So we’ve probably got $15,000 of damage plus $50,000 of services not rendered,” Harris said.

Shortly after that Harris said subcontractors began to come to him to say they couldn’t continue their work because they were no longer being paid.

Finally employees notified him that they had been locked out of work.

Other customers have a similar story.

“I gave him a lot of money and basically I have a big hole in my backyard and an empty house that’s gutted and I don’t know if I can finish the project,” homeowner Karim Hajee said. “We’re trying to get our four kids back into the house and we don’t have a home to go back to.”

Former employees of GarCon also joined in the protest, claiming that Gardin gave them no warning the company was closing and left them without work or pay.

“I’m here to make it known that Adam Gardin is not the person to come to for work,” former employee Jason Ponikvar said.

In a statement emailed to CityNews, Gardin said he consulted professionals to help him with the business but before any changes could be made, he was locked out of his office and forced to close his business operations for owing $9,000 in rent.

He acknowledged the company’s failure and said many have suffered due to his decisions.

“My business was growing at a rate that I was not able to manage and the overhead grew to a level that put my business at a significant loss,” the statement read. “I am extremely remorseful about the current situation and turmoil that has been the result of the failure of my business, GarCon Building…Many of my clients, employees, investors, and most of all  my own family, have suffered immensely from my bad business decision.”

However, he denied that he had scammed his customers.

“I am not a thief,” he said. “I have not defrauded anyone of the money they invested in me and my company.”

The homeowners say they have united with the workers and are thinking of taking criminal action against Gardin.

“We’ve all united to try to get something out of him, try to get some kind of action taken,” said Hajee. “Either the ministry or the government, somebody has to step in and try to help all these people.”