Dubuque man charged with contractor theft in Grant County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque man charged with contractor theft in Grant County

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. (KWWL) -- A Dubuque contractor is scheduled to appear in court on a charge of "theft by contractor."

According to the Grant County Sheriff, Dubuque contractor and owner of Equity Builders Peter Eck is scheduled to appear in court July 26. His charge is for allegedly failing to complete work in 2007 on a $192,600 hangar construction contract for the Platteville Municipal Airport.

The Platteville Municipal Airport commission president Richard Schumacher said the commission had its loan from the city of Platteville approved in August of 2007. It then ordered materials, and, in October, Equity Builders started building.

One month later, however, due, in part, to cold weather, construction halted, Schumacher said.

"We finally got the money to begin, we finally purchased the materials, and the project began, and then, as quickly as it began, it ended," Schumacher said.

As of mid-January, Equity Builders had not done anything more to the site, according to Schumacher.

It was in the winter of 2008 that Eck told the commission he needed $15,000 more in a change to the original order. When the commission questioned him on this, Schumacher said, Eck walked away from the project, which - at that point - was at the same stage it was left in November of 2007.

"When we were given a bill of 15,000 dollars for that change order, it was ludicrous, so we decided not to pay it," Schumacher said. "That's when he left."

KWWL tried contacting Peter Eck, but every listed phone number was either disconnected or incorrect, and the address listed for his business was a house that was for sale and empty.

The airport commission learned that what Eck had built was not up to code, so it was left with the decision to either tear it down and leave it empty or tear it down and build a new hangar from the ground, up. It decided upon the latter, which, according, to Eck, required even more money from the city of Platteville.

"Roughly, we owe the city about 311,000 dollars," Schumacher said of the total debt.

Even though the airport commission has paid some of that back, Schumacher said it would likely take far more than ten years for the airport to pay all that back on its own. It hopes to recover some of the money Eck received.

The second contractor finished the hangar in the winter of 2010.

Online Reporter Becca Habegger

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