Well-known Southern Tier contractor charged with scheme to defraud, grand larceny

LITTLE VALLEY, N.Y. (WIVB) – For weeks, Call 4 Action has been taking a look into a Southern Tier contractor — now accused of pocketing millions of dollars for doing little to no work on various projects.

A Rochester doctor says he and his family were taken advantage of.

This criminal case is focused on Dana John, 56, who is a well-known contractor, based in Great Valley. Investigators say that John was given an estimated $3.1 million on multiple construction contracts in the Ellicottville, Mansfield and Salamanca areas.

The projects were never completed and the sheriff’s office says one construction project was paid for but never started.

News 4 is hearing from Rochester-based Dr. Michael Gagnier. Two years ago, he and his family hired John to build their dream getaway home in the Town of Mansfield at a cost north of $600,000.

But, Michael says they noticed issues to the front porch, the foundation and missing beams inside the home. He says it was then hard to get a hold of Dana John and eventually fired him from the project.

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“He was very difficult to get a hold of until he wanted money and then, he would come up and ask for advances on future draws and that is kind of how we got into the cycle of things getting done a little bit here and there enough to get some money from the bank,” Gagnier said.

Michael and his wife are now using a different contractor to finish the work to their home.
Dr. Gagnier says he believes Dana John owes him and his wife nearly $100,000. They say Dana John Contracting has not been transparent — they’re seeking restitution.

“Our hit I would say is less than some of the other families that I know of, so we are lucky enough to be in a place that it’s not costing us double but it is costing us a considerable amount over than what it should in terms of basically wiping out the entirety of our savings,” Gagnier said.

Dana John was arrested on Thursday and was arraigned in Ellicottville and then, released on his own recognizance. He faces charges of scheme to defraud and grand larceny. News 4 has attempted to get in contact with Dana John, but we have not heard back.

If you’re aware of Dana John and feel you’ve been taken advantage of, you’re asked to contact the Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office at 716-938-2217.

“I’m happy that this is now being stopped so that no one else can be hurt, I’m lucky that I’m young enough that I can recoop this and it’ll be a memory, a bad memory, but a good learning experience as well for myself,” Gagnier said.

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Jeff Preval is an award-winning anchor and reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2021. See more of his work here.

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