The on-again, off-again criminal case against a Delafield contractor over his work on a Mequon home is off again.
Clients of Timothy Rigsby say he took money meant for paying subcontractors and spent it elsewhere. The Ozaukee County district attorney charged Rigsby, then withdrew the charges.
The clients, James and Michelle Friedman, then turned to a little-used state statute to directly petition the circuit court to initiate charges. Ozaukee County Circuit Judge Joseph Voiland agreed there was probable cause of criminal fraud and appointed David Frank as a special prosecutor for the case.
Frank filed a complaint in the fall charging Rigsby with fraud on a financial institution and theft by contractor, both in amounts greater than $10,000.
But after a preliminary hearing earlier this month, Washington County Circuit Judge James Muehlbauer found the case lacking in probable cause.
“We are pleased that the court agreed with us — even using the lowest of evidentiary standards, this case should not go forward,” said Brent Nistler, Rigsby’s attorney.
A Mequon police detective testified at the preliminary hearing that he did not have specific information about money from a bank paid to Rigsby that was not then paid to subcontractors who were owed the money.
Michelle Friedman also testified about her dealings with Rigsby and his company, The Rigsby Group.
Muehlbauer dismissed the complaint without taking arguments after testimony, saying he wasn’t convinced there was enough evidence Rigsby had committed a felony in Ozaukee County.
“He may very well have done it,” the judge said. “Maybe that forensic accountant guy (hired by the Friedmans but who did not testify at the preliminary hearing) could have convinced me of that but based on the state of the record I have here, all I’ve got is a muddled mess where two witnesses say what they’re relying on.”
The Friedmans sued Rigsby in 2015. The civil case has morphed into a quagmire of extensive discovery battles, a special master, intervenors and counterclaims that has bounced among several judges in three counties. It remains pending before a Waukesha County judge.
Rigsby blames the Friedmans for breaching their contract for the house, saying they were trying to build a $2 million home on a $1 million budget.
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