DENVER - A local kitchen remodeling business has filed for bankruptcy, leaving customers with unfinished kitchens.
Herman and Susan Hinojosa were the owners of the Denver area kitchen remodeling businesses Kitchens 2 Go and Kitchens 4 Less. On Nov. 20, 2013 they filed for bankruptcy, leaving a string of customers with unfinished kitchens, questioning their recourse. Now customers, who paid thousands of dollars upfront, are hoping to recover their money as creditors in the bankruptcy.
On Jan. 29, over 40 creditors with claims against the Hinojosas had the opportunity to ask the couple what happened to their money. Family members, former employees and other business owners took turns questioning the Hinojosas. They asked why their kitchens were stripped and left unsafe; why they their cabinets and countertops were never ordered and if they will ever see their money again.
Creditors have no guarantee if they will be repaid the money they are owed, but in this case many are upset Hinojosa was permitted to operate the business at all.
One of the creditors who lost thousands of dollars with Kitchens 2 Go said "It's a crooked organization. I'm really concerned about anybody else ever having to deal with these type of people. They've been doing it for years."
This is the second time the Hinojosa's have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last 10 years. The first time resulted in a standard discharge of all debt. In addition, CALL7 learned Herman Hinojosa was sentenced to prison for theft following multiple arrests and charges brought against him for theft and fraud.
At the meeting of creditors, creditors were told to contact the Adams County district attorney regarding their claims. Hinojosa told our CALL7 investigator, "I haven't done anything wrong for criminal charges" and says he will he will try to pay back his customers.
The Adams County DA confirmed that they have received multiple complaints against Herman Hinojosa already, and are looking into criminal charges.
"It sounds like we have to go to the District Attorney in Adams County and maybe try to file a fraud case and that's what they've all, they've advised us to do at this point, " said Diana Schakel.
This news adds to the worry that creditors will never see their money again. Facing this reality, one of Hinojosa's many victims reached out to CALL7.
-- CALL7 helps victim repair damage --
Virginia Wilson emailed CALL7 pleading for help. Her sister Christine Wilson hired Kitchens 2 Go, but instead of a remodeled kitchen she was left with a dangerous construction zone in the heart of her home. Wilson's request for help was not only for her sister, but for her mother who lives with Christine. Because of health and safety risks connected with the unfinished kitchen repairs, their mother, who requires oxygen and a walker to move around, was forced to leave the home.
Christine Wilson, who had been saving to remodel her kitchen, chose to work with Kitchens 2 Go after seeing their "A+" Better Business Bureau rating and personally meeting with the Hinojosas. She signed a contract with Kitchens 2 Go in June 2013. By the end of July, her floors, cabinets and appliances were removed from her home. After removing all essential kitchen appliances and cabinetry, Wilson had a difficult time getting any other work completed. Kitchens 2 Go attempted to lay her floor several times, but failed to do so properly. Her walls remained bare and the appliances were left outside unable to be used.
In October, Wilson learned Hinojosa was having financial problems and attempted to mitigate her losses. Before receiving any response from the company, the once A+ BBB rated business was rated "F" and the company declared bankruptcy. She realized that despite the thousands of dollars she gave Hinojosa to remodel her kitchen, she was left with an unsafe, unfinished kitchen and no means to repair the mess left behind.
Unfortunately, the Wilson's story is only one example of the many affected by the Hinojosa's bankruptcy.
When CALL7 investigators learned about Wilson's story, we contacted Rebuilding Together Metro Denver to see if they would be able to help.
-- Rebuilding Together --
By the time the Wilson's were introduced to Rebuilding Together they had exhausted all possible resources trying to repair their kitchen. Rebuilding Together immediately evaluated the health and safety of the Wilson's family, and determined they were the right candidates to work with Rebuilding Together.
When discussing the Wilson's situation, Kathryn Arbour, CEO and President of Rebuilding Together, said "It was pretty unbelievable. We found not only were things just upside down, floors were ripped out, cabinets ripped out, stacks of things everywhere, the bathroom pretty unusable, the kitchen completely unusable."
Rebuilding Together arranged a time with the Wilson's to make their home safe and functional in four days, something Kitchens 2 Go was unable to do in 5 months. According to Arbour, the work completed by Rebuilding Together would have cost between $10,000 to $12,000 dollars at market value. However the Wilson's, like all families Rebuilding Together supports, received the repairs at no charge.
Today the Wilson's mother has been able to move back into her home. With their family together again, they're making dinner in their "new" kitchen and getting back to their normal routines.
Like many non-profits, Rebuilding Together keeps a low profile, but does big things for the community. They rely on skilled volunteers and licensed professionals willing to donate time or give discounts for their services. Their mission is to "provide crucial home repairs, safety modifications and energy efficiency upgrades to qualified homeowners and community centers."
Rebuilding Together is always looking for professionals to partner with them either by discounting or donating their services. To learn more about Rebuilding Together visit their website, rebuildingdenver.org
If you have a complaint against Kitchens 2 Go, contact Adams County Senior Investigator Ron Miller at 303-835-5633. According to trustee John Smiley all claimants seeking administrative claim must obtain a Court Order pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code Proofs of Claim due by 05/5/2014.