Meet Charlie. He and his buddy, Bob, ran a countertop company that went out of business recently. A lot of businesses are going under in this economic downtown, but it doesn't look like Bob and Charlie are experiencing any downtown in their lifestyles. News 4 Investigates found them soaking up the sun in an exclusive neighborhood in Naples, Florida. While they live in a community, famous for its many millionaires, scores of people throughout the midwest are accusing Bob and Charlie of ripping them off.
Robert "Bob" Gasiorowski and Charlie Thiede owned Rock Tops Granite. It expanded to 15 stores in 8 states with a store in O'Fallon, Missouri and another in Maryland Heights. All of the stores closed suddenly on December 19, leaving customers who'd prepaid, out thousands and employees who had worked long hard hours, without a paycheck for their last 3 weeks of work and without a job during a time that jobs are hard to find. A few employees contacted some customers, whose custom cut countertops were sitting in the stores, and installed them without getting paid for their work.
Up until 48 hours before the stores closed, they were still taking orders and payments from customers. The owners have certainly created an appearance that they took the money and ran. The company was headquartered in Michigan and that's where Bob and Charlie lived. Click here to see an article about the store closings in The Macomb Daily newspaper, which shows a picture of Bob's $1.5 million home. As soon as the stores closed, Bob and Charlie packed up and moved to Naples, Florida where Bob owns a home, valued at $625,000, near a golf course and the ocean.
We sent a producer to Naples to try to talk to Bob and Charlie about the business. We only got to talk to Charlie, before he kicked us off the property, but his reaction makes you wonder what he has to hide. First of all, when we asked for Bob, Charlie acted like he didn't know anyone by that name. We asked if the house was owned by Bob Gasiorowski and Charlie told us, "No." But the answer is yes. Records show that the house at 8875 Ventura Way in Naples, is owned by Robert Gasiorowski. Charlie refused to tell us his name and when we asked about the business, he told us we were on private party, said, "thank you," then turned around and walked back into the house. Again, what do Bob and Charlie have to hide?
A criminal investigation is underway to determine if Bob and Charlie committed fraud by taking customers' money, while knowing they planned to close down the business. Former customers and employees are watching closely to see what comes from that, but in the meantime they're venting their frustration online.
Click here to read the previous blog on Rock Tops Granite.