DENVER — A father and husband trying to get his small business off the ground says he was swindled out of more than $50,000 by a Colorado steel building company.
Blain Gallup, an oil field worker in Laporte spent eight years saving his money to purchase a piece of property and a steel building to launch his welding business as his family grew.
“I work six days a week, 12 hours a day,” Gallup said.
His plan was to start working from home, and to help his dream come true, he turned to Colorado Steel Buildings. The company website states it’s “Colorado’s leader” when it comes to pre-engineered and design build steel buildings. Eager to support a local business, Gallup submitted his order for a steel building kit in November 2020.
“I was trying to keep money local and keep a small business going,” Gallup said.
Emails exchanged in November with the owner of the company, Christian Mendrop, outline the purchase order, which included a building cost of $51,523.
“I gave them $54,000 for the building kit and some other paperwork that was supposed to come with it,” Gallup said.
In November, Gallop was charged $7,500, and billing continued through March 2021, totaling nearly $54,000.
“I met Chris multiple times. He seemed like a nice guy,” Gallup said.
Things made sense at the beginning, but then Gallup started to notice things were taking a long time. When he asked questions, he says Mendrop made excuses and blamed COVID-19 for the delay.
Gallup grew frustrated. He shared text messages between him and Mendrop to Denver7. The messages show Gallup asking Mendrop to call him; Gallup texted Mendrop in April to cancel his order; and on April 22, Gallup texted Mendrop, “send my money back...I want a full refund NOW!” Gallup says he didn’t hear back from Mendrop after their last exchange at the end of May.
“I tried calling him almost weekly. Emailed him, text messages, everything, and there is just zero response whatsoever. I haven’t heard from him in at least two, maybe three months now,” Gallup said.
He filed a fraud report with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. Feeling helpless and frustrated he also contacted Denver7.
“I contacted you guys just hoping that either a bank or a news channel or somebody can help me get this money back,” Gallup said.
Denver7 called Colorado Steel Buildings, but no one answered. A visit to the company office located at 8310 S Valley Highway in Englewood showed the lights off, several desks empty and mail piled up on a desk.
We also emailed their business and messaged the company's Facebook page to no avail.
“I own my own small business, I would never rip somebody off like this, and I wouldn’t expect somebody to do that to me either,” Gallup said.
He disputed the credit card charges with his bank, Chase, but says he was denied because he took too long to file a dispute.
Four people left a one-star review in 2021 for the company on the Better Business Bureau.
Now, Gallup is warning people to beware.
“Just be really careful who you are going to deal with," Gallup said, "and don't pay up 100% upfront.”
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