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CALL 6: Explosion survivors faced another nightmare

Home builder didn't pay sub-contractor
Posted at 12:04 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-18 12:13:38-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Ryan and Sabrina Konecky got great news on Thursday. A mechanic’s lien on their home was dropped, and four years after surviving the Richmond Hill explosion, their home rebuilding nightmare is finally over.

“We are relieved and grateful that this nightmare is over and hope laws in the future will change to protect others  from a similar ordeal,” said Ryan Konecky.

The Koneckys and their two young children survived the Richmond Hill blast in November 2012. The couple lived behind the home that exploded on 8349 Fieldfare Way. Despite the death of two neighbors, and the devastation, they decided to rebuild in their south side neighborhood.

MORE | Richmond Hill Explosion

“It was tough to leave even for amount of time we were gone. Even while living away from here, we find any opportunity to drive through, find out how other people were doing and how other homes were doing,” Ryan said.

The Koneckys hired BiltRite Homes in March 2013 to build a new home on their old lot. The couple’s bank managed their insurance payout and provided BiltRite with money when the company needed  to pay a subcontractor or buy materials.

“The expectation was that he would pay all the vendors and subcontractors and use the money appropriately,” Ryan said.

It turns out the owners of BiltRite were not paying subcontractors. In fact, owners Gary Ogle and Robert Fersch are facing criminal charges in multiple counties including Boone, Hamilton, Hendricks, and Marion. In Boone, Ogle alone was charged with 113 felony charges including perjury, theft, forgery, and corrupt. In Marion County, court documents accuse him of misusing more than $1 million dollars.

“When you choose a builder you think you are in the home stretch," Ryan said. "This is going to get us back where we were. We’re going to move into our home and we can put the past behind us. It’s been a new nightmare added to an existing nightmare.”

Among the vendors Biltrite failed to pay was Chisholm Lumber and Supply Co Inc. in Indianapolis. The business on the hook for thousands of dollars in lumber materials placed a lien on the Konecky’s home as a way to recoup their loss. The law allows businesses to take such action. Chisholm was seeking to collect more than $40,000 from the Indianapolis family, even though the Konecky’s bank records show Biltrite had received money to make payments on the lumber.

The Konecky’s reached out to Call 6 Investigates to look into this matter and we emailed Jim Dawson, who is the lawyer representing Chisholm Lumber and Supply.

Dawson responded by saying:

“Thank you for the opportunity for my client Chisholm Lumber and Supply Co., Inc. to respond regarding the mechanic’s lien filed on the Konecky residence. Unfortunately, Biltrite’s actions have caused Chisholm losses well into six figures. In order to recoup some of its losses, Chisholm filed mechanic’s liens on several residences in which it supplied materials. The lien filed on the Konecky residence is a valid and proper remedy under Indiana law."

Biltrite left Chisholm with a bill in excess of $290,000, which included several homes beyond the Koneckys.

Chisholm reviewed its position on the Konecky lien and last week decided to drop its claim saying “the matter has been resolved to everybody’s satisfaction and the lawsuit will be dismissed.”

The Koneckys are putting this experience behind them, though they hope there can be checks in balances put in place to prevent a business from losing money and innocent consumers from being shocked with an unexpected bill.

“We would like to see laws changed. If you were to buy a car and the manufacturer didn’t pay their bolt supplier, the bolt supplier shouldn’t be able to come back to you and bill you for these bolts,” Ryan said.

Former Biltrite owner Ogle is scheduled for a jury trial in Hendricks County on Setepmber 20, a  Marion County trial on September 26, and a trial in Hamilton County on October 6.