Contractor charged with theft by swindle in St. Paul housing development, construction of Wisconsin home – Twin Cities
A former residential building contractor charged with theft of more than $1 million from a nonprofit affordable housing developer in St. Paul is facing new allegations.
Prosecutors charged Gary Charles Findell this week, saying that within days of law enforcement interviewing him last year about financial issues at a housing project, he entered into a construction contract with a couple to build a home in Door County, Wis. They paid Findell nearly $300,000 and the house was not built, according to their attorney.
Between both cases, Findell is charged with six counts of theft by swindle. He has pleaded not guilty to the initial charges and a court date is scheduled for next month for the new charges. Neither Findell nor his attorney responded to requests for comment.
The Ramsey County attorney’s office makes the following allegations in criminal complaints:
Findell, 66, previously owned Design Development LLC, which was a general contractor for a development of single-family homes undertaken by Dayton’s Bluff Neighborhood Housing Services. For the Village on Rivoli development, Findell’s company was to construct nine modular, solar-powered homes.
Law enforcement started investigating after being informed that Findell forged more than 20 lien waivers for subcontractors on the project and then didn’t pay them. Two of the nine homes were completed, but construction was stopped because the subcontractors reclaimed most of the materials.
When law enforcement interviewed Findell in May 2021, he said he used funds he received for the project to pay other debts.
Also in May 2021, through a separate company that Findell owned — NeuHus LLC — he entered into the contract to build the home for the couple in Wisconsin.
Three days later, the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry revoked Findell’s state builder’s registration, along with the licenses of two of his companies, and assessed a penalty of $250,000.
Prosecutors charged Findell in September with four counts of theft by swindle in the Village on Rivoli project.
Before then, Findell received hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from the couple for the Wisconsin home. He didn’t tell them “he had incurred significant amounts of debt and legal liabilities, that he was about to and quickly did lose his licensure to act as a contractor in Minnesota, that NeuHus did not hold the required licensure to perform residential construction work in Wisconsin, and that he did not have sufficient funds to pay the vendors and subcontractors for the construction of their home,” the complaint said.
The man Findell had the contract with for the Wisconsin home “eventually learned of the criminal charges and confronted Findell about them,” according to the complaint.
In December, Findell provided the man with a spreadsheet of expenses for the project. The man contacted vendors to verify expenses and found many of them hadn’t received the amounts that Findell said he paid.