CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio - Greg Slawson was looking forward to having a fresh coat of paint applied to the outside of his classic Cleveland Heights home, but unfortunately the painting contractor he paid left him with nothing but promises.
Slawson showed NewsChannel5 the Aug. 2012 contract with Heights Painting & General Contracting, but Slawson reports that after dozens of phone calls, owner Bill Vaughn never showed up.
"We like to keep our house maintained as well as possible, and I like to get on things before it gets to be a problem," explained Slawson. "The first time this guy came, actually, I should have known right away."
Slawson filed a report with the Cleveland Heights Police Department after Vaughn took his $500 down payment and never returned to do any work.
Slawson told NewsChannel5 Vaughn even took the paint that was to be used for the project.
"One of the first things he said to me was, 'I don't know about you but I believe in karma. What about you?' I said, 'Yes, I do actually,' and so that was one of his opening statements, and it's just been one excuse after the other."
Slawson is not the only victim. Six other residents have reportedly filed complaints with Cleveland Heights Police, including Richard Woods.
Woods paid Vaughn $400 for a job back in 2010. Vaughn never did any work, so Woods took him to court, winning a judgment ordering repayment.
Vaughn never made restitution, but Woods is hoping one day the renegade painter will come clean.
"I haven't stopped looking for you," Woods said with a grin. "I want my money, that's my message. I don't care what happens to you, just give me back my money, that's all."
NewsChannel5 tried to track down Vaughn to get his side of the story, but his phone has been disconnected and he's no longer living at his listed address.
Ask for references, and take the time to look at samples of a contractor's work before signing a contract.
Consumers should only give enough up-front money to cover the cost of initial supplies needed to start the job.
NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com will keep you updated on the search for William Vaughn.
Meanwhile, Greg Slawson has a very short message for Vaughn.
"Bill, you got to stop doing this," said Slawson with a chuckle. "Please call me."