5 On Your Side

Raleigh deck-building company goes bankrupt

Posted May 7, 2008

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— WRAL’s 5 on Your Side has 15 complaints against Dimensional Decking and its owner, Phil Piurkoski. He has paid back some of the complainants, but 5 on Your Side has learned that the company recently filed for bankruptcy, and the rest likely will lose the money they advanced the firm for projects.

About a year ago, Frances Cronlund said, she hired Piurkoski to build a porch. Since he had built a back porch and deck for her two years earlier, Cronlund had no qualms about paying Piurkoski $20,000 of the new project’s $28,000 total cost up front.

Cronlund said Piurkoski started in November, but stopped in December. She has not heard from him since January, even though she has called repeatedly.

“I want him to come out here and finish the job,” Cronlund said.

In January, 5 on Your Side interviewed Piurkoski, who blamed project delays on bad crews.

"We had a lot of problems with crews, couldn't keep good crews on-site," Piurkoski said then.

Piurkoski promised to pay back three customers who had complained to WRAL. Since then, he has given refunds to two. Piurkoski also said he'd catch up on all his jobs by March.

"It’s my business. I’m gonna make it good,” Piurkoski said.

Last week, however, Dimensional Decking filed for bankruptcy. Court documents show the company's income for 2006 and 2007 totaled nearly $1.5 million. The company said it owes more than $220,000 to a long list of creditors, including Cronlund, and has $300 in the bank and few assets.

Five on Your Side tried to track down Piurkoski at his Raleigh home, but no one answered. Piurkoski’s attorney, Richard Sparkman, said there is no money to repay customers. Sparkman said he doesn't know what Piurkoski did with the money he collected.

The case is an example of why customers should never pay too much money up front. Experts say customers should start with 10 percent down and pay more as the work is done.

15 Comments

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  • capitalland May 12, 2008

    Howdidit...,

    Its a small world, I checked out the link you sent on your first post and noticed that your 'agent' is the same person who tried to sell me a prebuild back around 1990 in the Youngsville area. He sold himself as a 'small town' guy. Sorry you got burned.

    Raleigh is a very small bigcity. Word travels fast if you do good work and even faster if you do poor quality work. I don't think Phil is going to have an easy go with construction in the future.

    cap land

  • Pharmboy May 12, 2008

    Capital Land,
    Working on his house is different than him working on your house. He may have been nice and courteous, but even serial murders and rapists were "nice and courteous" fellas to their neighbors. This guy is just a criminal who gets a lot of money from innocent people. Post his addy so others can "talk to him."

  • howdiditgettothis May 12, 2008

    capitalland -

    at least we know where some of the money he took from other people went.

    sure - he's going to pay YOU on time. You're doing work on HIS house.

    Disorganization and stealing are two very, very different things.

  • capitalland May 8, 2008

    I have met Phil, I actually did some work for him on his own home. He treated me honestly and paid me on time. I didn't consider him a 'crook' then nor do I now. He does however, have a flaw; he is completely unorganized. If adult A.D.D. exists, Phil has it. He seems to be a hard worker but his efforts are often misdirected.

    I really hope things work out for him and his former customers. Its so hard to be sucessful in the construction business, muchless trying to pay back debts and carry forward with new work.

    Capital Land

  • angora2 May 8, 2008

    My husband and I have watched developers go bust and then show up a few months later with a new company name. We had to play detective to find out who each company's stakeholders were so we could deny them a charge account. We got fooled a couple of times, but also escaped some hits by investigating. These developers lived in mansions and seemed to become wealthier after each bankruptcy. It is disgusting.

  • howdiditgettothis May 8, 2008

    Sure you could TRY to get money from the compensation fund that exists. Even if you file against the builder's license (we did, and ours lost his license) - it is YOU having to take off work, and do all the legwork.

    Over $10k in actual damages/loss on our part resulted in less than $1000 from this "fund." (after over a year) and again, you are the one taking off work for the hearing. We were told "you better feel lucky to get this money" and made to feel like it was OUR fault that the builder was a crook.

    Bottom Line - Licensing board should regulate THEIR licensees better! Laws should protect VICTIMS not criminals.

    No one should be allowed to file bankruptcy, and own a 3 million dollar beach front house (or business) just a few years later.

    Particularly when there were over 100 creditors on the bankruptcy filing, none of which were EVER compensated for HIS bankruptcy.

    Laws should protect VICTIMS not criminals!!!

  • I know some stuff May 8, 2008

    yes, his home in Raleigh is worth over half a million dollars. You've got to suspect some less than honest business here, considering the money the customers paid, vs. his lack of investment in the unfinished projects. How do people live with their conscience? There should be a place in jail for such folks.

  • IceCreamMan May 8, 2008

    Why the heck do people pay $ upfront for services? Especially when the company is small. Do you pay Toyota for a car you'll get in 3 weeks? In that case at least you could sue a company with deep pockets who certainly won't be going out of business.

  • mrtwinturbo May 8, 2008

    $28,000.00 for a deck, did it have a built-in hot tub with seating for 12 too?

  • HappyGirl08 May 8, 2008

    I would contact the contractor's licensing bureau and complain. Also, there is bound to be some sort of "fund" that you can apply to for a refund. I know there is such for home builders.

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