Grand Forks, N.D. - A local woman's dream home turns into a nightmare, after she says a contractor took her money and ran.

Now, she's taking him to court.

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Karrie Kellenbenz filed a civil suit against John Kuk of "Country Boy Construction, LLC."

In the affidavit, she says Kuk was the lowest bidder and could start work soon.

But after he started, the price of the project kept going up.

Karrie Kellenbenz said, "It was exciting to be able to do this I fully trusted him."

Karrie Kellenbenz's husband wanted badly to remodel their Gilby, N.D, home.

But because of cancer, he never lived to see that day.

Honoring her husband's wishes, Kellenbenz hired a contractor.

"I would suspect that this probably wouldn't have happened if my husband were here,” says Kellenbenz.

She says she hired John Kuk with Country Boy Construction to renovate.

Court documents filed by Kellenbenz say Kuk originally quoted a price of $13,000, but that amount rose to $19,000.

She stopped paying, and wanted to see receipts.

On Wednesday, June 21, Kellenbenz received notice of a construction lien on her home, saying she owes him over $12,000 for the project.

Her renovation still isn't finished.

"Oh gosh, frustrated, disappointed, sad really because it was a project that was very special to me," says Kellenbenz.

WDAZ TV’s Kenneth Chase reached out to Kuk at home, and spoke to him over the phone.

Kenneth Chase, WDAZ: “I talked to a lady that said she was scammed out of some money.”

John Kuk: “Talk to my lawyer.”

But in 2015, Kuk did speak with WDAZ.

He spoke with us about being a convicted felon, and trying to get back on his feet.

"I just feel like society treats you know anyone with a criminal record, or anyone that has done anything wrong has more less of a person. I feel like I deserve as much as anyone else," said Kuk.

“I gave too much. I was naïve. I've never done this before. I didn't know," says Kellenbenz.

While her remodel still isn't finished, she'll have to wait and see what happens in court.

WDAZ reached out to Kuk's attorney late Wednesday afternoon, and have not yet heard back.