DENVER -- Six months ago, FOX31 Denver exposed a company that refused to do business in a Denver neighborhood because, according to a manager, "colored people" who live there do not pay their bills.
The Problem Solvers have learned the company, Mile High Heating and Cooling in Westminster, has closed its doors, leaving customers who paid up front without service.
The investigation started when we sent an undercover producer with hidden cameras into the business to check out a tip about the company’s racist policies. A manager who said her name was Andrea said, “You are being hired to set appointments.”
Within an hour of starting the job making cold sales calls, the producer asked why the company never calls Denver’s Montbello neighborhood.
“Do you know anything about Montbello? You don’t live there do you? We call it Mount Ghetto … (laugh) … Um, colored neighborhood," Andrea said.
The Problem Solvers thought we might have heard it wrong, so we asked a Montbello homeowner, Pam Jiner, to book an appointment with Mile High Heating and Cooling in Westiminster. No one from Mile High ever responded to Jiner’s request for service.
“It blows my mind, It blows my mind. Who would do something like that? Single out a race and a community?” Jiner said.
Company owner Kevin Dykman refused to comment on the investigation.
Former employees who quit after they said their payroll checks bounced said the company announced to the staff of plans to close Mile High and open with a new company under Dykman’s live-in girlfriend’s name.
State records show the new company called Mountain View Heating and Cooling became official in August. Former employees said Dykman continued to do business under the Mile High name and collecting payments up front until mid-September.
“They are trying to disappear. I truly believe they intended to rip these people off.," former employee Kim Cricket said.
Lorie Gottschlik believes she is a victim of Mile High Heating and Cooling.
“He’s a shyster. I’m sorry," Gottschlik said.
The 82-year-old paid the company for a $2,800 swamp cooler and nearly $1,600 more for a part after a technician claimed her old cooler could start a fire.
“It all happened so fast and when they said ‘fire’ it scared me. I didn’t stop to think, which I know better,” Gottschlik said.
She canceled the order for the part and said Dykman promised a refund, but she never received it.
“He is one of these who is out to make a buck. Take what he can get and take off,” Gottschlik said.
Dorothy Bush said Dykman took off with her money, too. Bush said his company installed a $3,600 furnace incorrectly, sending poisonous gas into her home.
“She could have died, easily," said Donna Bush, Dorothy's daughter-in-law.
The furnace was so dangerous that a Sheridan city inspector posted a notice prohibiting anyone from turning it on.
“They put a stop work order on the furnace,” Bush said.
They tried to cancel the check, but it was cashed immediately.
“This guy needs to be run out of town,” Bush said.
Dykman did not go far. We found him at his girlfriend’s new company Mountain View Heating, which is set up less than a mile from Mile High’s old office in Westminster.
Dykman refused to talk about Mile High or his girlfriend’s new venture. As Dykman escorted us out of the office of Mountain View Heating and Cooling, he did a little dance and laughed.
But it’s no laughing matter for Dykman’s former employees and elderly customers.
“It’s not right. It’s unethical. It’s just dishonest,” Gottschlik said.
The Colorado Attorney General's Office has launched an investigation. If you believe you've been a victim, call the attorney general's fraud hotline at 1-800-222-4444.AlertMe