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Contractor faces charges he took tens of thousands from studio for paving never done

| Saturday, May 4, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Pittsburgh contractor faces a preliminary hearing May 17 on charges that he duped the operator of a Greensburg dance studio out of $56,597 for paving work he never did.

Westmoreland County Detective Will Brown filed a complaint of theft by failure to make required disposition of funds against Anthony F. Jones, 53, of 1028 Old Gate Road, Pittsburgh.

According to Brown, he was approached by the operator of Laurel Ballet — Eleanor Tornblom of Highland Avenue — and relatives of Tornblom last year regarding the alleged theft.

Tornblom told detectives that in 2010 that she was facing a deadline by city planning officials to complete the parking lot of her business or face fines when she was approached by Jones to complete the paving.

She told Brown that she paid Jones $72,500 for the engineering work and construction, but the work was never completed.

“Jones failed to initiate the work on the project and has refused to return the funds previously provided,” Brown wrote in the affidavit of probable cause.

Tornblom subsequently had the work completed by another contractor, but Jones still owed her money for the work that was never completed, according to the affidavit. Brown reported that Tornblom's relatives said she took out a second mortgage on her residence to complete the work.

During an interview with detectives late last year, Brown reported that Jones said the matter would be cleared up shortly.

“Mr. Jones further informed me that the funds he received from Mrs. Tornblom are currently in an ‘escrow account' and will be released upon an agreement between Jones' attorney and Mrs. Tornblom's attorney,” Brown wrote.

Brown said Jones agreed to keep Brown posted on the matter, and provide him invoices and receipts on the work completed.

Brown said the charges were filed after Jones failed to respond to subsequent inquiries regarding the money.

A hearing is scheduled May 17 before Hempfield District Judge Mark Mansour.

Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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