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Investigator: Elderly couple, Amish suing so-called scam artist

7:58 AM, Sep 13, 2012   |    comments
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BAINBRIDGE -- A man who committed "unconscionable acts" against consumers in Columbus is at it again in Geauga County, say an elderly couple and two Amish loggers who are suing him in separate cases.

Voldemars Kruza and his wife, Anna, live on a cul-de-sac street in Bainbridge. A brother has a home down the street, and Voldemars Kruza's parents lived across the way until they passed away.

A few years ago, the Kruza's sold the parents' home, accepting installment payments rather than a lump sum as part of what's called a "land contract."

"It was meant to be income for retirement," said Anna Kruza.

But the Kruzas say William Bridge is refusing to make those monthly installments since taking over the payments from a friend last year. 

The Kruzas are suing Bridge in Geauga County Common Pleas Court to revoke the contract, for fear they'll lose the home.

"They're stuck paying the electric bill, the gas bill, doing without rent," said attorney Doug King.

Bridge says he might not be perfect but denies any wrongdoing.

"Nobody's got a little white halo," Bridge said. "It's an unfortunate set of circumstances...None of it could have been a scam."

He said the Kruzas are to blame because they refused to give him an accounting of what he owed. 

The Geauga County court Wednesday, however, sided with the Kruzas, ordering the land contract forfeited and the property returned to them.

The judge will hold a hearing in the future to determine whether to award the Kruzas damages, King said.

Bridge is no stranger to controversy. The Ohio Attorney General sued Bridge three years ago, accusing him of ripping off people around Columbus whose homes caught on fire. 

A Franklin Count judge found that Bridge's fire reconstruction business "committed unfair, deceptive and unconscionable acts" by doing "shoddy, sub-standard and un-workmanlike" repairs.

The judge fined Bridge $125,000, ordered him to repay homeowners $255,000 and ruled that Bridge could not work with consumers for five years, unless he gets court approval.

King is also suing Bridge on behalf of two Amish loggers. They say Bridge sold them the trees on his property for $18,000 but would not allow them to cut them down.

"He don't even own the property," said David Weaver, one of the loggers. "His name isn't even on the deed."

As for the Amish loggers, Bridge said the loggers initially didn't have the right insurance to do the job and then didn't get a survey of the land as he requested.

Still, Bridge said he is willing to repay the loggers over a period of time.  


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