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Customers out thousands of dollars, garage doors after Colorado Springs company files bankruptcy

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Gary Lamontagne paid American Overhead Door about $4,400 for two garage doors in December 2022. Nearly a year and a half later, he still doesn’t have those garage doors.

Cindi Hinds also paid the Colorado Springs company $4,300 as a 50% down deposit in August and her garage remains doorless. Lamontagne and Hinds are just one of dozens of homeowners across Colorado that paid American Overhead Door and never received the garage doors.

“We have a carport and everything is exposed to the elements,” Hinds said. “We have no security for our goods because we don’t have garage doors.”

Both homeowners told KRDO13 Investigates American Overhead Door gave excuse after excuse as to why the garage doors were taking longer than the four to six weeks they said. The company eventually gave the homeowners court documents, showing they had filed for bankruptcy.

American Overhead Door and its owner Gary Dejong filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy, meaning the business can stay open and take on customers. It is an opportunity for companies to reorganize and move debt while still operating. However, customers claim filing for bankruptcy allows the company to avoid repaying and installing garages for dozens of homeowners, while still defrauding customers.

“If we do nothing else, we need the community to know what this guy is up to so that he doesn't do it to other people, because he's still taking money,” Hinds said. “He's still in business and he's still taking money.”

The bankruptcy filing lists more than 200 creditors, including more than 100 individuals. According to the court documents, some homeowners paid $2,000 for garage doors, while others paid nearly $15,000.

“When you take the $250,000 that all 108 of us gave him, and he is supposedly maybe going to pay it back over five years interest free, it's as if all 108 of us contributed money to give him a business loan to stay in business,” Hinds said. “It's wrong on so many levels.”

Homeowners said Dejong had no intention of providing garage doors and claim he is committing fraud.

“I feel like this person should be in jail,” Lamontagne said. “This is fraud. I don't know how many sleepless nights I've had just thinking about how frustrating it is.”

KRDO13 Investigates reached out to American Overhead Door and Dejong multiple times. They said they didn’t have a comment and to contact the company’s attorney. That attorney never responded to our requests for comment.

Elizabeth German, a bankruptcy attorney and partner with Robinson and Henry, said not everyone gets paid back in a bankruptcy filing, as there is no great way to equally protect both the debtor and creditors in bankruptcy court. While homeowners are claiming fraud, she said that’s difficult to prove in a chapter 11 bankruptcy.

“Those fraud standards are a little harder to pin down and prove,” she said. “You have to have some really finite, concrete evidence for those fraud standards. It's kind of almost a buyer beware mentality. It's always a possibility whenever you go anywhere that that business could shut down.”

However, she said customers could rely on Colorado’s Construction Trust Fund Act, which states a company that receives funds for work on a specific project can only use those monies for that project.

As required with the bankruptcy, Dejong filed a reorganization plan, which explains how he will repay debt. That plan said he would pay customers who didn’t receive a garage door $3,300 over five years at no interest. However, like their deposits and garage doors, homeowners don’t expect to see that money.

“Our bankruptcy courts have been written specifically, and they say to protect the honest but unfortunate debtor,” Hinds said. “This guy is not an honest but unfortunate debtor. He shouldn't have the protection of the bankruptcy courts.”

Homeowners are disputing the reorganization plan in bankruptcy court. However, the judge said they need an attorney. Hinds said they can’t find one because this case likely won’t have any payout.

“The rest of our money is just going to basically go bye bye,” Hinds said. “They are going to continue to stay in business and we are out of luck.”

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Quinn Ritzdorf

Quinn is a reporter with the 13 Investigates team. Learn more about him here.


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