Local builder charged with theft after abruptly closing business

PERRYSBURG, OH (WTOL) - A local builder is now charged with theft after his customers said he took their money, didn't pay the contractors for their work, and then abruptly closed up shop.

It's an update to a story WTOL 11 brought to you back in February about Slaske Builders.

"He took $47,000 the week before and then abruptly closed his doors," said Dan Hughes, one of Slaske's customers.

Dan and his wife, Pat, have gone through a host of emotions the past few months after they learned their builder, Ralph Slaske, walked away from his business and their unfinished dream home.

"How do you go home and look at your kids at night and teach them morals and values and know on the other side of it that you're the worst kind?" Pat asked.

The Hughes thought about throwing in the towel on the house, but now they're fighting back. Pat kept meticulous notes throughout the building process, not knowing then that it would build a case against Slaske.

"We're hoping that will give the other victims courage to step forward, go to their law enforcement agency and grab as many documents as you can to prove that you have a case and encourage them to file charges against him," Dan said.

The Hughes were supposed to be in their house between February and April. It's only about half finished and they're now working with another builder. They don't expect to be in their home until later this fall.

The couple said because Slaske filed for bankruptcy, they'll never get their money back, but justice may be served if they win their theft case.

"Spend some time in jail for the crimes he committed against us and 12 other people, then so be it," Dan said.

"Take some freedom from him. That's worth it," Pat added.

Slaske has a court appearance on his bankruptcy case Tuesday in Toledo. He'll be in court on the Ottawa County theft charge in early June.

WTOL 11 reached out to his attorney, who had no comment.

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