It's Dewan Puri's dream - a new restaurant in Bellevue called "India King." But it seems his contractor is making him feel like a joker. He paid John Mulinski over $100,000 and what has he got?
"I haven't got anything yet," he said.
We've been tracking Mulinski's business dealings for more than a year. He's been hit at least a dozen times by Labor & Industries for violating contracting laws in this state. He also faces 13 criminal counts of construction malfeasance in California.
"I believed in him so much. I just went with it," said Michelle Young, one of his victims. The foundations of a room addition to her Black Diamond home was all she has after 3 years and $13,000.
"He kept coming over and wanting more money and I told him he doesn't have a license any more, you cannot work on my house until you have a license and give me my money back," she said.
So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that Mulinski was now working at India King.
Matt Jackson is an inspector with Labor & Industries who's followed Mulinski for more than a decade. Jackson says John Mulinski currently isn't licensed and shouldn't be doing any construction contracting at all.
Mulinski is working under a business named "United Services, LLC." For all Dewan knew, Mulinski was the owner. But in truth, he's not.
Records show United Services LLC is owned by Richard Brandan, even though Brandan's name is nowhere on the contract for the restaurant.
So whose name is on it? John Mulinski.
In fact Dewan gave him $17,000 in January. At the time, United Services LLC wasn't even registered as a contractor with the state. That's illegal.
The company finally registered February 17. Mulinski's name is nowhere on the official documents - or employee lists. Yet, he is the one signing the back of the checks.
"Nobody that I spoke with, from the owner to the architect to two subcontractors, and an employee, not one of them knew who Richard Brandan was," Jackson said.
Remember, it's supposed to be Richard Brandan's business, but Mulinski is the man depositing the checks. Getting him to write them is another issue.
"He has not paid us a dime," said Chris McIlrath of AA Plumbing.
He runs the business with his son Curtis and claims Mulinski owes them $5,000 for putting in a sewer line in the restaurant. In this case, Mulinski gave them his credit card.
"We ran it for half, $2500, then we tried to run it for $1,000 then we tried to run it for $100. Then a dollar. Nothing," Curtis said.
So where was Richard Brandan in all this? I couldn't find him at his Maple Valley home. Later, by phone, he said his relationship with Mulinski centers on praying with him.
"I'm paying the electrician, I'm paying for the plumbing," said Dewan who now says his restaurant is almost two months behind schedule.
He's had to borrow thousands of dollars to pay the subcontractors United Services LLC should have paid. He hopes to open in the next few days, but his dreams of getting his money back will have to wait.
"I'm not sure what we're going to get from him," Dewan admits. "He's clever guy."
New infractions were filed against Mulinski and Brandan for the work at the restaurant. The state has revoked the registration of United Services, LLC. Thursday, Mulinski goes before a judge on two criminal counts of unregistered contracting in King County for a past case.