Home improvement contractor facing dozens of charges

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A home improvement contractor is facing dozens of criminal charges in Milwaukee County.

A handful of those charges are for an unfinished project at a house that once belonged to one of Milwaukee’s most illustrious men.

Jeff Mathis’ house in the Washington Heights neighborhood is steeped in Milwaukee history. One hundred years ago, the Mediterranean-Italian style home was occupied by William S. Harley, co-founder of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. Three generations of the Harley family lived in the home on West Washington Boulevard.

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“We don’t renovate. We restore,” said Mathis of the ongoing construction at his house.

The William S. Harley Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places, but the house was in rough shape when Mathis and his wife bought it in 2021. Their search for a contractor is how the noble history of the house came to involve Nathan Noble Regina.

Contact 6 met Mathis at the Milwaukee County Courthouse where Regina appeared on 45 criminal charges related to his business, Nobleman LLC.

Mathis said Regina gutted much of his first floor after taking $11,230 as a down payment to remodel the kitchen, install a main floor laundry and to remove a back staircase. Then, work at the house went idle.

“He did very little work for us,” said Mathis. “He was to return our deposit. He refused to do that.”

Mathis’ family of five, including a toddler, lived in a house of hazards for months in 2022. Mathis says after Regina demolished the staircase, he left a one-story drop from the kitchen into the basement.

“We had to keep doors shut and be very nervous,” said Mathis. “Always on our toes.”

Regina now faces nine counts of theft by Contractor. Six counts are felonies involving losses greater than $2,500 to $5,000. Three are misdemeanors with losses less than $2,500. Regina faces another 36 misdemeanor violations for home contract violations and not providing lien waiver notices.

Three of those misdemeanor violations are for the William S. Harley Mansion job.

Regina didn’t respond to Contact 6’s questions while leaving the courthouse on June 13.

Contact 6 first reported on Regina and Nobleman, LLC in December 2022. That’s when Contact 6 spoke with Philip Ufnowski, another unhappy customer. Ufnowski paid Nobleman LLC $635 to replace an outdoor support pillar. When work didn’t start, Ufnowski says Regina told him he’d get a refund.

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“I never expected to get my money back,” said Ufnowski, speaking to Contact 6 again in 2024. “As far as I’m concerned, he’s defrauded, he’s a deceitant and a cheat.”

Regina faces a theft by contractor misdemeanor count for Ufnowski’s project, plus three misdemeanor violations.

In court, Regina pleaded not guilty to all the misdemeanor charges. For the felonies, he’s scheduled to return to court on June 28th for his preliminary hearing.

Mathis found two new carpenters to kickstart Regina’s project. He’s refocusing on what he hopes will be the long life of the restored William S. Harley mansion.

In June 2022, Regina was ordered by Milwaukee County Small Claims Court to pay $24,230 to the Mathis family. Mathis says Regina hasn’t made any payments.

Regina did try filing for bankruptcy but failed to make payments, so the bankruptcy was dismissed in August 2023.

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