Yost sues Wapakoneta construction business for swindling consumers


COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is suing a Wapakoneta construction company and its owner for accepting roughly $200,000 in payments from clients who complained that work on pole barns and other buildings was never started, never finished or done improperly.

The lawsuit, filed last week in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court, contends that Jerry Weeks, owner and operator of Grizzly Buildings, violated Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act, Home Solicitation Sales Act and Home Construction Service Suppliers Act.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to hold their breath when they do business with a contractor and hope that the work they’re paying for actually gets done,” Yost said. “When you’re hiring a contractor, ask for a cost estimate, a written contract and references.”

Yost’s office received 11 complaints about Grizzly – with most alleging failure to deliver – from November 2021 to March 2023. In a separate development supporting the lawsuit, a referral to Yost’s Economic Crimes Unit resulted in a 16-count indictment against Weeks on Dec. 8, 2022, in Wood County.

Yost’s lawsuit requests that Grizzly and Weeks be ordered to reimburse consumers and pay civil penalties and court costs.

The Consumer Protection Section of Yost’s office recommends that consumers take these steps before signing a contract for home-improvement services:

• Check with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau for any complaints against the contractor.

• Make sure your contract includes notice of your right to cancel a door-to-door sale. Contractors generally cannot start working until the three-day “cooling off” period ends.

• Get written estimates from several contractors before making a final decision.

• Check to make sure that the written contract includes any oral promises made by the contractor; start and end dates for the project; and an itemized list of all significant costs, labor and services.

• Be wary if the contract requires a large down payment or requires you to write a check directly to the contractor instead of his or her company.

• Check with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office to confirm that the business is registered properly.

Ohioans who suspect unfair or deceptive business practices should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.

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