National News

Contractor stole thousands from Milwaukee families

Posted May 15, 2018 11:36 a.m. EDT

— A Greenfield contractor took thousands of dollars from Milwaukee homeowners, without finishing the work he agreed to.

Thomas Krivitz pleaded guilty to three charges of theft by contractor in Milwaukee County last month. In all, he took more than $25,000 from three families, without completing the work.

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In July of 2016, Helen and Louis Grabovac say they needed a contractor fast to repair their roof.

"About a good half blew off during a wind storm," said Helen.

Someone recommended Krivitz, a contractor who at the time ran TK Improvements.

"We gave him $4,500 cash," said Helen. "It went sour right after that. He didn't return phone calls, impossible to reach."

They signed a contract and Helen says she even checked his license and rating with the Better Business Bureau.

"He was a bad news bear and he knew how to do this," said Helen.

Krivitz was also found guilty of theft by contractor in Racine, Washington and Waukesha Counties.

"It saddens me, I think a few people really hurt our industry," said Jonathan Synovic, the president of the Metropolitan Builders Association of Greater Milwaukee.

He says all contractors should go over Wisconsin's Right to Cure law with you before contracts are signed. The law protects consumers in these situations.

"It gives you that up front talk that most people don't want to go through," he said. "They don't want to have the 'hey what happens if something goes bad.'"

Synovic also said consumers should ask for proof of insurance, check state and local licensing and make sure contracts include an end date, which Helen and Louis Grabovac said was their one big mistake.

They now want others to learn from their story.

"He ripped off some very nice people," said Helen.

Krivitz is expected in court on May 24 for a restitution hearing for the three Milwaukee families he stole from. The Grabovac's say they hope to get at least some of their money back.