EVANSTON, Ohio (WKRC) – As bitter temperatures blanket the greater Cincinnati area, one church is nearly as cold inside as it outside.
The furnace broke about a year ago inside the Christ Temple Full Gospel Baptist Church. In October 2018, Pastor Rev. Peterson Mingo says the church started taking bids from contractors.
"He said they would have everything hooked up, originally before Thanksgiving. Then he said before Christmas, then he said before New Year’s, and now it's the last day of January and we still have no heat in the building,” said Mingo.
Mingo says at this point, the church has paid the contractor $40,000 for parts and repair work but very little has been done in the boiler room.
"The piping has never arrived, and we found out the piping was never ordered. Then he told us he needed another $17,000 for the boiler. And the thing we have in the basement looks like anything but a boiler,” said Mingo.
The building is nearly 100 years old and is nearly 60,000 square-feet. The original furnace is massive and the replacement boiler the contractor brought in, Mingo says, isn’t big enough.
Mingo says the contractor was recommended by a friend and had a good reputation, but clearly something went wrong because he says the work just stopped and the contractor isn’t returning calls or messages.
"If you saw him, you would think he's a candidate for Santa Claus; he's just bubbly, energetic, convincing and he smiles a lot and tells a good story, but we found out he is definitely a thief and a liar,” said Mingo.
The contractor isn’t accredited with the Better Business Bureau and the company address is an empty lot.
“Some people say Christians are too trusting, but we like to give people the benefit of the doubt,” said Mingo.
Police are looking into the matter. If the work isn't completed or money not given back, the contractor in hiding could be charged with felony theft.