Man ghosts Chapel Hill woman who paid him thousands for backyard work; and this isn't the first time

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County man who was in trouble with the law and at the center of several Troubleshooter investigations involving food trucks several years ago is in hot water again.

He's now accused of taking a Chapel Hill homeowner's money and not finishing the work he promised, work that he's not even licensed to do.

"He literally left at the end of the day and he didn't come back Tuesday morning," Laura Grisham said.

She hired Nic Baliva of Crafted Design - Build - Sell to turn her backyard into an oasis for her and her dogs.

"I hired him to build a screened-in porch, two decks, and a fence at my new home. I gave a large deposit because he said he had to pre-purchase the materials to have them in time to start on time," Grisham added. She did her research and googled the company and says she didn't see any red flags.

She signed a contract for more than $32,000 and to get the job started, the contract required 60% down, which she paid $19,659.

While work started and there was progress made on the fence, along with other items, all of a sudden she says Baliva was a no-show.

"I texted, 'Where are you? Are you showing up today?' No response. I texted again, 'Are you OK? Are you in jail? Are you hurt?'"

After not hearing from him, Grisham googled Baliva's name.

"I just sat in shock a good five minutes," she said.

Grisham was shocked because she saw ABC11's numerous stories on Baliva dating back to 2015 when he operated as a food truck builder and we showed you how he took thousands of dollars from food truck owners and didn't complete their food trucks. After our investigation, he paid several of his victims back and even pleaded guilty to a criminal charge related to our investigation.

Now years later, he's opened a new business, not involving food trucks, but doing contract work. That's how Grisham found him.

"He's not welcomed to come back to my property. He deceived me," Grisham said.

Grisham reached out to Wilson and she did some investigating. In North Carolina, it's required by law you must be licensed to do any job over $30,000. The North Caroline Licensing Board of General Contractors, confirms Baliva nor is his company are licensed, despite Grisham's contract with Baliva being for more than $30,000.

Wilson reached out to Baliva and got an immediate response via email, saying, "Ms. Grisham halted work on her project on her own. We have mailed her a fair invoice for the work completed and then subtracted that totally from her initial deposit. The remainder of which will be going back to her as soon as we get acceptance of the invoice total."

Grisham said that's the first she heard anything from Baliva since he stopped doing the work. despite her sending him several texts asking if he was coming back to do the job. Still, she does want her money back.

It took some time, but Baliva agreed to refund Grisham for the work he didn't do, which amounts to close to $12,000.

While Baliva has stated he will refund her the money, Grisham is still waiting for it, and he also has not responded to how he is taking on jobs he's not licensed to do here in the state.

This is a good reminder if you're looking to get work done, you need to thoroughly research who you're hiring, check multiple sources like Google, the BBB, Yelp, don't just research the company, but the owner's name and also if it's more than $30,000, check for yourself that they are properly licensed.
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