Calgary contractor who attracted clients with Property Brothers endorsement faces new allegations

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Alan Hrehirchuk faces 5 criminal charges but police say the investigation continues

By the time police laid criminal charges against Calgary contractor Alan Hrehirchuk, former employees and clients say he was taking weeks-long vacations, locking the doors to his office showroom to avoid angry tradespeople demanding payment, all while convincing new clients to hire him by showing them celebrity endorsements, including from the popular HGTV show The Property Brothers.

Hrehirchuk’s next court appearance is Sept. 11.

Since the announcement of charges on July 12, the Calgary Police Service says about a dozen new alleged victims of Hrehirchuk have come forward and the investigation continues. Police say further charges are possible.

Court documents show nine lawsuits were filed against Hrehirchuk’s company Envision Custom Renovations in 2023.

More alleged victims come forward 

The civil cases are in their early stages in the court process and none of the allegations against Hrehirchuk have been proven in court. 

CBC News gave Hrehirchuk the chance to respond to the allegations made against him in this story.

“My client denies the allegations and has taken my advice to not make a statement while the matter is before the courts,” wrote Cory Wilson in a statement provided to CBC News.

CBC News has spoken with two homeowners, Hrehirchuk’s former project manager and a subcontractor who detailed a fragile house of cards built by Hrehirchuk, which, by July, appears to have collapsed on the 53-year-old.

One couple, in their 60s, have been living in their basement after they say Hrehirchuk began work on their home but failed to pay the tradespeople and left the job unfinished.

That couple also says one night in the middle of their renovation disaster, they spotted their home on TV as Hrehirchuk promoted his renovation company.

Criminal charges

In July, Calgary police announced Hrehirchuk faced charges connected to allegations he forged subcontractor invoices and defrauded homeowner Carlos Camara and his wife, who spent more than $100,000 on work that was never done.

“It changed everything in terms of our immediate financial plans, for sure,” said Camara. 

Camara and his wife did their research. After buying their first home last year, they interviewed three contractors.

The couple was impressed with Hrehirchuk’s Envision Custom Renovations, and his slick showroom and portfolio, which included a letter of endorsement from the Property Brothers after he appeared on a couple of episodes.

Scott Brothers Entertainment, the company behind the Property Brothers TV show, did not respond to a request for comment from CBC News. 

Camara hired Envision at the end of December, and says he signed a contract for a $170,000- full house renovation. The couple say they paid a $50,000 deposit and more than $50,000 in invoices over the next several months.

Some of the demolition work was done, says Camara, but when there was no progress made on the renovations, he called the city and says he discovered none of the required permits had been issued. 

Camara started digging and discovered Google reviews posted by people who said they’d worked for Envision but hadn’t been paid. 

Looking closely at one of the invoices, Camara noticed odd fonts and called the company which had supposedly issued the bill. They told him it was likely forged.

‘You never think you’re going to be a victim’

He then called the tradespeople named on the invoices he’d been paying. Only one company said they’d been paid by Envision, according to Camara, who then involved police. 

The experience, says Camara, has been “extremely stressful” and changed how he feels about moving into his new home. The couple had to remortgage their condo and then sell it. They’re now living in a rental, unsure of where they’ll live in the fall. 

“You never think you’re going to be a victim and then you are,” said Camara.

“I don’t look forward to moving anymore,” said Camara. “I just want somewhere to live and be done with this and eventually try to get some money back.”

Still, Camara and his wife say “the important thing is that this may help others avoid falling into the hands of people like Alan and Envision Custom Renovations.”

Couple living in basement

Holly Hamilton says she, her husband and two dogs have lived in their basement with no kitchen — just a fridge and a microwave — for the last two years. 

Hamilton doesn’t want to say how much she’s lost but says it was “more money than we could afford to lose.”

Hamilton and her husband Steve Baekeland met with Hrehirchuk and hired Envision to renovate their home in 2021.

They paid a deposit and invoices. 

The couple say they lived a full winter without siding or waterproofing. “The siding guys walked off the job because they hadn’t been paid,” said Hamilton. The roofers, who were from B.C., never showed up for the same reason, she explained.

One night, as they were living in their basement with no roof on their home, Hamilton was watching TV and spotted her own home on a television commercial.

Two actors, around the same age as Hamilton and Baekeland, appeared in the video standing in front of Hamilton’s house 

“He could have paid the guys the money he owed to finish my roof, instead he’s doing this commercial,” said Hamilton.

And, she says, he always seemed to be on holiday with his wife. 

“We were taking turns sleeping so we can catch water while this guy’s on holidays in Palm Springs or golfing,” said Hamilton. 

Hamilton says Hrehirchuk kept issuing invoices but nothing was getting done and “problems were building.”

Hamilton says when she’d confront Hrehirchuk, she says he’d blame the pandemic — supply and labour shortages. The couple say they were scared that if they broke their contract and fired Hrehirchuk, he’d sue them.

Like with Camara, Hamilton says Hrehirchuk used his connection to the Property Brothers to bolster his legitimacy. 

“That ended up being just a great marketing tool for him,” said Hamilton. “He’s really milked that one, that’s for sure.”

Hamilton also began reaching out to the subcontractors whose work she’d been billed for. 

She confirmed her suspicions when they told her they hadn’t been paid.

Hamilton says she was able to terminate the contract with Envision after receiving a call from a tradesman who said he hadn’t been paid and planned to put a lien on their home.

Project by project, Hamilton and her husband are now doing what they can on their own and saving money to pay trades to do what they can’t.

At the moment, her kitchen is being built. It’s the second time she’s paid for that. 

Subcontractor steps in to help

Steve Valley with Kival Electric is one of the subcontractors whom Hamilton believed she was paying through Envision.

Valley says he stopped working with Envision in December but knew there were homeowners like the Hamiltons who paid for services they hadn’t received from him. 

Not wanting to abandon anyone, Valley is now working with each homeowner to understand what they can afford and says he’ll “go from there.”

Maybe that means billing in stages, says Valley. Maybe it means not making homeowners pay twice — even if he didn’t receive his first payment.

“We will have our end done,” said Valley. “We can’t do anything about the other trades, but we’ll have our end done.”

Close the doors, manager told

Both Camara and Hamilton expressed deep concerns for trades workers. They both said they’d discovered unpaid subcontractors when contacting companies whose work they’d been invoiced for.

Peter Razniak, who was hired by Envision in December as a project manager, says the situation got so bad at Envision that Hrehirchuk told him to lock the doors to the showroom to escape angry tradespeople who were showing up, demanding to be paid.

“Al told us to just keep the doors closed so no one will come and bug him for money,” said Razniak.

Before being hired as a project manager, Razniak worked for Hrehirchuk for eight years as a painter.

He says there were times in the last two or three years when, as a subcontractor for Envision, he was paid late. But the money always came, which, Razniak says, is the reason he accepted the job as project manager when Hrehirchuk called him back in December. 

‘When problems started’

Razniak believes Envision’s troubles began around 2020, when Hrehirchuk began expanding his business, moving into a large, impressive showroom.

Everything in there was “super high end,” says Razniak. 

“When he grows, pretends to be a really big renovation company, that’s when problems started,” said Razniak. 

As Hamilton also noted, Razniak said Hrehirchuk was often away on vacation with his wife. 

One Friday, Hrehirchuk said he’d be gone for the next two weeks. 

“Everybody was shocked because [there was] so much work to do,” said Razniak. 

By May, Razniak said he hadn’t been paid in about six weeks and was missing bill payments. 

“That was my family’s only income source so I reached a point where I was barely able to survive another month.” 

Razniak went back to painting. 

He says he’s been working with police.

“He has no feelings to others,” said Razniak. “He don’t care about anybody else. That’s what I’m learning the hard way.”

This article was originally sourced from