KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — A man accused of taking money from people and never doing the construction work he was hired for was seen passing out business cards in storm-damaged areas south of Grand Rapids Monday.
The EF-1 tornado and accompanying storm that ripped through parts of Kentwood and Wyoming left a string of property damage in its wake. There was damage to landscaping, garages, houses and businesses. Monday, people were starting to clean up.
As they were working to put the pieces back together, some of them said they were approached by Jeffery Scott TenElshof II — who more often goes by Scott and owns Four Seasons Construction, LLC. — offering his contracting services.
TenElshof faces multiple criminal counts for allegedly taking money from clients — thousands of dollars, in some cases — and never finishing the work for which he was hired.
Monday, TenElshof waived his preliminary hearing in Kent County’s 63rd District Court. He’s scheduled to be in a Grand Rapids courtroom Tuesday for a similar case.
Also Monday, he was handing out business cards in the storm-damaged area.
“The guy handed me his chard and said, hey, he’d waive deductibles, no problem at all,” resident Tim Mills said.
24 Hour News 8 was not able to contact TenElshof for comment Monday.
And even if his intentions were completely legitimate, there could be others looking to take advantage of people in a tough situation.
“Anytime there’s a disaster, someone’s going to find some way to take advantage of somebody,” Mills said. “There’s going to be some people that take advantage. It’s a shame, but it happens.”
Homeowners should do their homework to avoid being taken advantage of, running a simple Internet search on contractors to check them out, looking them up with the Better Business Bureau and checking their licenses with the state.
“Pay no money up front. Get with your insurance company, talk to your insurance company about what needs to be done,” Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody advised. “The unfortunate reality of it is a situation like this sometimes brings out certainly the best in people but also the worst of people.”
And, of course, people should be wary of deals that seem too good to be true.