HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Holly Springs business owner is accused of taking thousands of dollars from food truck owners, but a surprise twist has one of his customers shocked, yet thankful.
Sabrina Grillo never thought she'd seen a dime of the $16,145.69 she paid Nic Baliva, owner of Premier Food Trucks, to retrofit her truck. I first introduced you to Grillo, owner of Pinup Girl Coffee in November.
She was trying to pick up the pieces after she says Baliva crushed her dreams of expanding her coffee truck business.
"I worked so hard and you think you're getting somewhere and it really pulled the rug from under me," Grillo said.
Grillo was just one of the many food truck owners I heard from who say Baliva took money to build their food truck yet did little or no work and left them with empty promises. I first started investigating Baliva in late 2014.
At that time, he operated under several different names, including Blue Sky Dining and Bull City Builders. Food truck owners from N.C. and from other states told me Baliva took their money to build food trucks, but didn't do much work.
After my most recent story, Grillo took several steps to try and get her money back from Baliva. One of those steps included contacting Baliva's family members about how Baliva taking $16,145.69 has taken a toll on her business. Grillo says Baliva's mother emailed her back and wanted to work things out.
"Her heart was in the right place. I think she's trying to fix the situation by doing the right thing," Grillo said. "She felt bad about what happened."
Grillo says she emailed back and forth with Baliva's mother, and Grillo says she agreed to be refunded $14,500 to settle the dispute. Baliva's mom sent Grillo a check.
"I'm just so grateful. Thank you to you guys. I feel like that story was instrumental in getting our money back," Grillo said. Grillo says she will put that money towards rebuilding her business.
Besides Grillo, Baliva did refund several other food truck owners that were highlighted in my stories. One group that is still owed money is the Holly Springs Elementary School PTA. Back in 2013, when Baliva owned Blue Sky Dining and went by Chef Mike, the Holly Springs Elementary School PTA paid him a $600.00 deposit for an event. The day before the event in December 2013, Baliva backed out of it.
Baliva promised to refund the PTA their $600.00. Baliva tells me he has worked out a re-payment plan with the PTA, and has already paid back $125.00 of the $600.00. No one from the PTA has confirmed that payment.
I did recently hear from yet another food truck owner from Tennessee who says Baliva ripped her off too. After seeing one of my stories, she contacted me and said Baliva took $25,000 to build her a food truck. She says when she came to N.C. in September to see the progress on her truck, nothing had been done and all she got were excuses from Baliva. She did file a police report, and is working with authorities on the case. Investigators confirm they do continue to work with other victims. I will keep you updated on what the outcome of that investigation.