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More theft cases alleged against local contractor

April 17, 2020 by Abigail Bostwick

Charges and cases against a Minocqua contractor have increased in number and counties since last year. 

Past charges in Vilas, Oneida

Gerald Stodola, 59, Minocqua, of Stodola Contracting Solutions of Hazelhurst, was charged with felony theft by contractor in Vilas County Circuit Court for using more than $97,000 from the St. Germain Chamber of Commerce for purposes other than labor and materials for their new construction project in spring 2019.

In another Vilas felony case, Stodola is said to have misused almost $50,000 from a couple renovating their Arbor Vitae home before fully moving to the area. He’s also charged there with fail/give timely notice of contract delay, a misdemeanor. 

Both the Chamber and couple had to hire others to finish their projects, as well as invest extra money, they noted in testimony at a preliminary hearing last year. 

A recent pre-trial did move matters past the pre-trial stage. Another pre-trial is set for late May before Judge Neal Nielsen. A defense motion by Stodola’s attorney, Ben Lucareli, to dismiss the cases last fall was denied by the judge. 

Stodola has entered not guilty pleas on all counts. 

New charge in Iron

Filed in late 2019 in Iron County Circuit Court, Stodola is charged with felony theft by contractor for up to $100,000. 

Here, Stodola is accused of agreeing to improve a town of Mercer business — The Cranberry Inn — and taking money to do so. 

The Iron County Sheriff’s Department investigated the complaint first in June 2019 when Forslund Building Supply said they were due more than $58,800. Stodola Construction had been hired as contractor with those supplies at the Inn in Mercer, which has tiny cabins, the criminal complaint reads.

The owner of The Cranberry Inn told police Stodola did contract work at his business to about 95% completion. The work took almost three years to complete, and Stodola did not work for about six months during that time, the owner added, stating a family member of Stodola came in during that time. The rest of the work was paid for and completed by the Inn, based on court records. 

Monday in court before Judge Tony Stella, Stodola relayed he has “accepted an uncontested judgment” and is working on a plan for payment. He requested more time from the judge to work out the details. The case will be heard again there in late May. 

He is free on a $1,000 signature bond in all cases. 

Non-criminal charges

Further, Stodola has three civil court cases open against him in Oneida, Vilas and Fond du Lac counties. In Oneida, a judgment for money seeks nearly $50,000. In Vilas, just over $202,000 is sought for payment to Pukall Lumber.

In small claims court, a bank wants about $7,000 from Stodola. Another small claims case remains open as well. 

Also, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue has a file against Stodola through Oneida County — $23,500 in delinquent tax warrant while the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has a case for nearly $10,000 from the local man. 

Stodola has a number of settled civil cases claims in Oneida, Vilas and Fond du Lac counties since around 2010. 

Abigail Bostwick may be reached at [email protected]

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