Fargo construction company receives cease and desist orderThe North Dakota Attorney General’s Office has ordered the owners of a Fargo-based construction business to stop doing business in the state, claiming George and Karla Ann Nelson took thousands of dollars from people in nine counties to build pole barns and never finished the work.
By Emily Welker
Forum News Service
FARGO — The North Dakota Attorney General’s Office has ordered the owners of a Fargo-based construction business to stop doing business in the state, claiming George and Karla Ann Nelson took thousands of dollars from people in nine counties to build pole barns and never finished the work.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued the cease and desist order against Baron Buildings, which is owned by the Nelsons, and AgPro Buildings, with which the attorney general’s office says the Nelsons’ sons Benjamin and Nick helped them continue defrauding North Dakota customers.
The cease and desist order states the Nelsons’ companies “made untrue, deceptive and misleading representations” to their customers about the cost of work, when buildings would be done, and whether they were licensed to operate in the state.
In part, the order reads, “the consumer attempted to contact Respondents numerous times, but Respondents would either not answer their phone or would provide an excuse in order to delay finishing the project. Respondents provided some poles for the foundation and excavated some holes, but left the job site and never returned to finish erecting the building.”
“It could have been faster, I guess,” said Karla Ann Nelson, adding, “Nobody’s ever tried to call me.”
She said she was not licensed in North Dakota. “I should have made it a higher priority.”
Nelson denied any other wrongdoing, and said the problems with the unfinished buildings — some of which ran into the $50,000 range — were the result of “all crazy bad luck, accumulated bad luck.”
She said she has been unable to finish the projects because her company is out of money, in part because her husband, George Nelson, faces criminal charges in South Dakota on similar allegations. He is now being held in the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Faribault on what Nelson said was a probation violation.
The allegations have made existing customers “turn on them,” Karla Ann Nelson said. “They really hate us. I think they just wanted to make everybody not do business with us.”
Katie Nelson, who is married to Ben Nelson, said she is the owner with Ben of AgPro Buildings, which is licensed out of Georgia. She said the company has only been incorporated since November and is in the process of seeking licensure in the state of North Dakota.
Katie Nelson denied the allegations laid out in the cease and desist order and said her company has nothing to do with her in-laws’.
Ben Nelson is being held in the Cass County jail on an unrelated charge.
The attorney general’s office said it has received information that there may be additional customers in Stutsman, Bowman and Mountrail Counties who have paid the Nelsons for buildings that they have failed to build or finish.