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State to look into Grill contract dispute

By Staff | Dec 25, 2008

The State Attorney’s Office will decide which agency, if any, will look into a claim by a Cape Coral woman that city council member Eric Grill defrauded her.
Lisa Johnson, owner of Tropical Twisters Gymnastics, filed a complaint with the Cape Coral Police Department Friday, stating Grill took money for a construction project but has not paid subcontractors for the initial work on the project.
Johnson contracted with Grill’s company, Grand Cape Construction, for a new 7,000 square foot gymnasium in North Cape Coral for $800,000 in November 2007.
Johnson said she gave Grill an initial $3,500 payment in February, another $3,500 payment for builder’s risk insurance in May, and Partners Bank tendered a $46,000 payment to Grand Cape Construction in June. Two months later, Johnson became suspicious when Grill stopped returning her phone calls.
“About August I stopped hearing back from him,” Johnson said.
Samantha Syoen, spokesperson for the State Attorney’s Office, said the state will determine which agency will look into the claim.
“We did receive some information from the Cape Coral police to review for the matter on Grill. It will be looked at and a decision will be made what agency, if any, will review it,” Syoen said.
In November, Honc Construction issued Johnson a lien notice for $20,000 of clearing work done in September and authorized by Grand Cape Construction. Johnson said Grill never paid Honc.
After attempting to contact Grill to get him to refund the payments with no results, Johnson decided to take action.
“My bank called and said (Grill) told them he had no intention of paying the money back,” Johnson said.
“He already had a year to work on my project and nothing was done,” she added.
Grill was fired by Johnson earlier this month, and she has since hired Hammer Construction to build her new gym.
Johnson’s lawyer, Curtright Truitt, plans to file a civil suit over the matter next week.
Grill declined to comment on the specific allegations, saying only “I will not conduct my personal business in the media.”
Mayor Jim Burch said the City Council will wait for further developments in the matter before taking any action.
“Right now it’s a civil matter. It’s certainly concerning but you kind of have to wait and see what happens with the State Attorney,” Burch said.