INDIANAPOLIS — Customers are now hitting new roadblocks in getting their money back from an Indianapolis concrete company accused of taking people’s money and not doing the work promised.
Back in February, we told you about complaints against Quest Concrete, which used to be located in an Indianapolis office complex on Sadlier Circle W Drive.
Customers are now receiving letters from law firm ICE Miller saying Quest Concrete closed in December 2022 and is essentially out of money.
Vince Helmer of Indianapolis received one of the letters.
“It says there’s nothing to go after,” said Helmer. “It’s from a very prestigious law firm.”
Helmer is a Vietnam veteran and recipient of the Purple Heart.
Helmer said he paid Quest Concrete a $3,800 deposit for driveway work, but says they didn’t even start the job.
“I signed the check on August 11, 2022 and they cashed it on the 15th,” said Helmer.
The letter from ICE Miller said Quest Concrete closed its normal business operations in December 2022.
The letter blames “material and manpower costs and challenges” and “Quest’s inability to secure additional capital or funding” for the company not meeting its obligations.
ICE Miller’s letter goes on to say Quest has no assets or funds to complete projects or pay its financial obligations.
Helmer won a $3,800 judgment against Quest Concrete, but says it’s not about the money.
"I've been in treatment for stage four throat cancer related to agent orange from my service in Vietnam,” said Helmer. “I'm just trying to get things right for my girls, my wife and daughter. I’m trying to get this stuff right for them before I pass away."
Justin Barkey of Fortville also got one of the Ice Miller letters after winning a $7,645 judgment against Quest Concrete.
"I feel like justice was served. I won, but did I really win?” said Barkey. “I don’t think I will see any of my money back. I think that it’s pretty ridiculous.”
Barkey had to hire another contractor to finish his backyard patio on top of the money he lost from hiring Quest Concrete.
“It’s been stressful,” said Barkey. “I’m not an attorney and don’t pretend to be one. All the legal jargon is confusing.”
Customers say holding Quest Concrete accountable has been a nightmare.
"Nobody is taking responsibility whatsoever,” said Barkey.
Many customers have used Secretary of State records, which show the business has changed registered agents three times: first it was Todd Holzer, then it was Ben Caughey, and now it’s “ICE Miller LLP c/o Jeffrey A. Hokanson.”
In Indiana, a registered agent is usually just the person who accepts correspondence for the business. Registered agents are not necessarily in charge.
In fact, when you create a business with the Indiana Secretary of State's office, state law does not require you to list who owns or manages the company— a fact consumers say leads to a lot of confusion.
“A new entity may not have investors, shareholders, directors, managers, etc.” said Lindsey Eaton, a spokesperson for the Secretary of State’s Office, in an email to WRTV. “The Secretary of State cannot require any information other than what is required by statute. For an LLC, that statute does not require governing person information at formation, nor does it require the names of the managers or members.”
Customers say Quest Concrete is connected to a similar-sounding business, Quest Exteriors.
The Better Business Bureau says the names were used interchangeably.
Customer Busy Boyer of Fishers signed contracts with both Quest Concrete and Quest Exteriors, records show.
WRTV Investigates was in Hamilton County court on March 28 when Boyer won a $988 judgment against Quest Exteriors, but the judge said she needed to find a better address to serve Quest Concrete.
"It's hard to get somebody served when there's so many addresses listed and so many registered agents and the names keep changing,” said Boyer. “A layperson like me- you have no where to go! "
Boyer also got a letter from ICE Miller saying Quest Concrete is out of funds.
“You’re stuck,” said Boyer. “There’s nothing for you to do.”
Attorney Ben Caughey showed up to Boyer’s hearing.
He served as a registered agent for Quest Concrete earlier this year, and now represents former registered agent Todd Holzer, who was also named in Boyer’s lawsuit.
WRTV Investigates asked Caughey if he knows what happened to customers’ money.
“I don’t have any comment,” said Caughey as he left court.
Busy Boyer’s trial against Todd Holzer is scheduled for June 12.
No one from Quest Concrete LLC showed up to her hearing on March 28.
“It’s infuriating,” said Boyer.
Secretary of State records show Quest Concrete’s manager was listed as Carie Gossett.
Quest Exterior’s registered agent was listed as Mike Gossett.
WRTV Investigates knocked on the Gossett’s door at their home and left a business card, but we have not heard back.
Since November, customers have filed at least 16 lawsuits against Quest Concrete, Quest Exteriors or their leadership.
Fed up with the courts, consumers like Vince Helmer and Justin Barkey have filed police reports with various agencies in the hopes of finding out where their money went.
They say Indiana needs to make it easier for consumers to hold businesses accountable.
“We understand that identifying responsible parties can sometimes be a frustrating experience,” said Lindsey Eaton with the Secretary of State’s office in an email to WRTV. “The Secretary of State’s office cannot provide legal advice, and recommends consultation with an attorney or consumer advocacy resource (i.e. Attorney General).”