KENNER, LA (WVUE) - A second law enforcement agency is now investigating the owners of a local furniture company that the FOX 8 Defenders have reported on for months. Kenner Police confirm they're investigating Hamilton Enterprises Imports in Chalmette after a Kenner business reported it paid for thousands of dollars in office furniture that it never received.
Dan Wagner, who runs a utility services company in Kenner, told FOX 8, "We have a million-dollar building that we're using about 20 percent of right now." Wagner walked us through the halls of BLD Services' brand new building. "As you can see, we have empty room after empty room," he said. It's an inconvenience for employees who have to use folding chairs and tables, share office space, and sift through files piled up on the floor. One employee is working out of the kitchen.
"It just doesn't add up. None of it adds up," Wagner said. He explained that he ordered office furniture to match what they already had. "We ordered 18 pieces of furniture for $25,463. It was five desks, five glass bookcases, five file cabinets and three different model glass bookcases," Wagner said.
BLD Services placed the order in August with Hamilton Enterprises Imports in Chalmette, the same business that's the subject of an ongoing FOX 8 Defenders Furniture Store Fallout investigation. BLD showed us the check it wrote to Hamilton for the full $25,000 up front. Wagner tells FOX 8 that Lisa Hamilton picked up the check in person at their Kenner office, but six months later, he's still waiting for all 18 pieces of furniture BLD purchased.
Wagner shared several emails with FOX 8 from Lisa Hamilton. One of them in early February explained that the furniture would "arrive any time now." Like many consumers who've turned to the FOX 8 Defenders over the last several months with similar complaints, Wagner says he can't get answers. "We got story after story, none of which added up, so we asked for the contact information at the furniture company so we could talk direct to the furniture company, cause it was always intimated to us that it was a shipping problem," Wagner said. He doesn't believe the office furniture was ever ordered.
After our series of reports exposing several consumer complaints about paying for or financing furniture that took months for delivery or didn't get delivered at all, as many as eight people filed formal complaints with the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office. The St. Bernard District Attorney Office is now screening and investigating the case.
With BLD Services, because Lisa Hamilton picked up the $25,000 check in Kenner, Kenner Police are questioning Hamilton's owners about why they haven't delivered the merchandise or refunded the money.
For Dan Wagner, the whole situation is even more disappointing because of his family's relationship with the Hamiltons. "Our daughters went to school together from kindergarten through 12th grade. Their daughter was in our daughter's wedding. Our daughter was in their daughter's wedding. I mean it really is a shock. My wife's just mortified over it because we were so close," Wagner said.
David Hamilton emailed FOX 8 the following response:
"Yes we did receive a order for office furniture we quoted the customer in late August and finalized the order sept 4/2015 . At the time of ordering the furniture we were both in agreement that the furniture would not be needed for quite a while because it was pre construction at that time and we would be notified of the progress of the building and when the furniture would be needed . We were notified at the end of January that they were about a week out to be completed and to receive delivery. The customer requested delivery February 5th basically we were given about a week to 10 days notice for delivery. There was a couple of delays in getting all of the merchandise complete it had to be transferred from 3 different locations so there would be no back orders. The complete order will deliver to us on March 5th or 6th and we will deliver and set up all furniture either the same day or next day. I know our customer is upset and ready for delivery and we sincerely apologize about the delay but in total we are 4 weeks out from when we were originally asked to deliver this furniture . I would have wanted nothing more than to deliver on the date they requested but due to unforeseen delays it just wasn't possible but we will have them delivered by the 6th of March .
Wagner disputes that information.
Meantime, the St. Bernard DA's Office says it continues to receive complaints, and asks anyone who has one to call 504-271-1658.
If you've got a consumer concern, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women at 1-877-670-6397 or fill out an online complaint form.