The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against Mark Melchiori, the former president of Melchiori Construction Co., the office announced on June 2.
Melchiori is charged with 47 felony counts, including diversion of construction funds, insurance fraud, violations of the unemployment insurance code, prevailing wage fraud, embezzlement, grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft.
This case was investigated by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Industrial Relations and Division of Labor Standards.
The construction company faced an array of lawsuits from 2011 and 2012 alleging that it did not pay its subcontractors and creditors on time.
In 2011, subcontractors of Melchiori Construction’s $4.5 million Emergency Operations Center project for the county of Santa Barbara complained that they weren’t being paid on time, or at all.
Later that year, Melchiori was fired as the general contractor on the $6.5 million Ocean Sciences building at UC Santa Barbara, one of many notable projects the company took on in the Santa Barbara area. It built Chapala One, the corporate headquarters of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust’s parent company and did a major renovation of the Granada Theatre.
Following the divorce from his ex-wife Heather Melchiori, Mark Melchiori was sued by his stepmother who claimed that the divorce was a ploy to hide assets from creditors.
The final blow came from Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. The $9 million lawsuit forced both the company and Mark Melchiori to seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2012, listing up to $10 million in debts and less than $50,000 in assets.
Melchiori was in custody at the Santa Barbara County Jail at press time but jail staff told the Business Times he would soon be bailed out.
• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]