The owner of a Sharonville remodeling business already facing nearly 50 counts of theft owes more than $180,000 in civil judgments in Hamilton County, court records show.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost last week announced the indictment of John Drennan, accusing him of taking $213,000 from customers in three states and failing to deliver promised services or refunds.
Among the charges the 33-year-old Drennan faces is engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. The indictment, filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, lists 24 victims.
The most significant civil judgement is the result of a lawsuit filed in November 2018 by a Bond Hill couple who say they paid more than $35,000 for basement renovation and waterproofing work. The lawsuit says the renovation work was never started, and the waterproofing wasn’t done correctly, if at all.
Drennan’s basement remodeling business, Basement Boost, is no longer in operation.
In a ruling last month, after no response to the lawsuit was filed, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Jody Luebbers said the Bond Hill couple was entitled to collect nearly $106,000. That amount includes three times the actual damages, which court documents say the couple is entitled to under Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act.
Drennan could not be reached by phone Monday. He did not have an attorney listed in court records.
The criminal charges against Drennan include 48 counts of theft. All but five of the victims live in Ohio, Yost said in a news release. Victims include 11 in Hamilton County, three in Butler County, and two in Warren County.
Yost said Drennan was “in the business of deception.”
“Evidence shows he took thousands of dollars from these victims without ever starting any work or delivering supplies for their home repair projects,” Yost said.
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In one of the cases, a Newport, Kentucky couple signed an agreement with Basement Boost in June 2018 to renovate their basement for $29,000. Two months later, according to a lawsuit filed by the couple, a representative called to say the work could begin immediately if they paid half the amount.
The couple agreed, but the work never began, the lawsuit says. The couple called to ask when the work would begin and were repeatedly told someone would call back “in a day or two,” the lawsuit says.
Finally, in late August, according to the lawsuit, someone from the business came to their home and told them “all of the employees…had been fired and that (Basement Boost was) ceasing operations, effective immediately.”
The couple’s money was never returned.
In November 2018, after no response to their lawsuit was filed, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Foley entered a default judgment for just over $14,000.