December 4, 2012

Contractor charged with theft due to debts

PLATTSBURGH — A local contractor has been charged with grand larceny in relation to $177,293 that he allegedly owes a building supply company.

Mark D. Allen, 56, of West Chazy, who owns Lee Custom Homes II and manages Lucenda Self-Storage, has been charged with four felonies: three counts of third-degree grand larceny and one second-degree grand larceny.

His wife, Lori, is co-owner, but she has not been charged.

According to State Police in Chazy, Mr. Allen had four outstanding accounts at Sample Lumber in Mooers starting in April 2011: one for $25,788; a second for $102,155; a third for $7,563 and the last, dated October 2012, for $41,786.

Mr. Allen told the Press-Republican that the situation is unfortunate and a circumstance of the poor housing market, the economy and other parties owing him money, causing him to fall behind with suppliers.

“I don’t think I am guilty of this,” he said. “I’ve done over $5 million worth of business with Sample Lumber over the years. We are just caught up in an economic situation, and it’s terrible. It’s a difficult time right now.

“I am the biggest builder, so I am getting hit the hardest,” he said.

Mr. Allen said he has steadily built 25 houses a year, but this year he has constructed only five. The company’s revenues, which are usually about $6 million, are barely clearing $1 million this year, he said.

“We’ve done a lot for the North Country — we’ve built over $100 million in homes — and we will continue to do so,” he said. “We’re a respectable company that has been in the North Country for 25 years. This has been very hard for me emotionally and physically.”

Mark also said he does not feel that this should be a criminal case, but a civil one. 

A representative at Sample Lumber said they were advised by their lawyer not to discuss the situation.

Lee Custom Homes II is the second generation of a family-owned and -operated residential home builder business.

In fall 2009, Lee Custom Homes completed a million-dollar facelift on the Bouyea-Fassetts Bakery Inc. building at 290 Margaret St., which was reopened as Lucenda Self Storage.

Mark and Lori Allen are managing Lucenda Self Storage for owners Pierre Tremblay and Richard Bergeron of Montreal.

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