A Dent man has been charged with felony theft by swindle in Otter Tail County in a case related to the construction of his home.
According to the criminal complaint, Timothy Stoll, 64, swindled property worth more than $35,000 from Dan Hokanson, a house builder with D&M Roofing Company, around Dec. 15, 2015.
Stoll was charged with felony theft on Feb. 10, 2021, and first appeared in court on March 8, where he pleaded not guilty, according to his attorney, Drew Hushka. Another hearing is set for May 10.
In 2015, Hokanson agreed to build a house for Stoll at 41506 Fawn Oaks Road and started construction. According to Hokanson, he was building the house at a discount price, since it was experimental.
Hokanson said Stoll did not make any progress payments on the construction three months after they were due. Because they hadn’t received any money for their work, D&M Roofing stopped construction on the house on Dec. 3, 2016, stated Hokanson. He said the construction was almost complete.
Stoll stated that he needed to move into the house before freeze-up and moved in on Dec. 2, 2016. According to the criminal complaint, Stoll and Hokanson agreed on a price of $330,000 at a meeting on Dec. 11, 2016.
In an interview, Hushka said there was a disagreement on the payment schedule and the amount of money owed due to the quality of construction.
Stoll, who had previously worked as an officer of Farmer's State Bank in Perham and Dent, still didn't make any payments on the house.
Stoll attempted to renegotiate the price of construction several times. He then filed a civil lawsuit against Hokanson.
Stoll’s lawsuit states that repairs or replacements would be needed for plumbing, leaking basement walls and cracking interior walls and ceilings. The Stoll family also had additional electrical work completed for $17,000. Stoll bought additional items directly for about $15,000. All of this information is found in Stoll’s lawsuit.
In said lawsuit, Stoll requested that he pay $132,000 plus any reasonable value for the house. Stoll also requested he be given 60 days to gain the financial means to make a payment and that he be awarded the other mentioned costs.
According to Hokanson, D&M Roofing was being sued for construction defects, but construction wasn’t completed because Stoll hadn’t made any payments.
“That’s like not paying your electricity bill then suing the electricity company when your food spoils,” Hokanson said. “I would’ve thought you could trust bankers.”
Construction on the house was completed by a different organization.
As stated in the criminal complaint, in a deposition on May 15, 2019, Stoll agreed he owed at least $165,000, yet hadn't made any payments while continuing to stay in the house.
According to the criminal complaint, Stoll then made an offer to Hokanson on June 6, 2019. Hokanson stated that Stoll said he would either buy the home for $175,000 or file for bankruptcy. Hokanson denied the offer.
According to Hushka, Stoll needed to financially declare bankruptcy. Stoll filed for bankruptcy in June 2019.
Hokanson and Hushka said Stoll filed for bankruptcy the day before the summary judgment, which delayed resolution of Stoll’s lawsuit until the bankruptcy case is resolved.
"We believe there is no criminal liability in this case, and Mr. Stoll remains innocent," Hushka said. "The criminal charges are unsupported and unwarranted."
Stoll is currently a member of Lake Park & Cuba Insurance Company's Board of Directors in Lake Park.
He was an officer of the Farmer's State Bank in Perham and Dent. Farmer's State Bank was sold to United Community Bank in 2012.
Stoll is not currently being held in jail.