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Men charged in Douglas County paving scam

Two men face charges in Douglas County Circuit Court for allegedly running a traveling asphalt and sealant scam in 2015.

Jacob Lee Hall, 29, of Texas, and Mark Tracywick Wells, 28, of Lone Wolf, Wis., each face felony attempted theft by false representation and misdemeanor violate unfair trade general orders. Initial appearances for both men are set for November.

According to the complaints:

Hall and Wells were among employees doing business as Z-Line Construction, a home improvement contractor, in September 2015.

A homeowner in Poplar told Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Corey Knutson that employees representing Z-Line approached him and asked if he wanted them to pave his driveway. The Z-Line representatives allegedly told the Poplar man the company was working on the County Highway P repaving project and had leftover asphalt from the job. They offered to blacktop the man's driveway at cost since the crew had some down time.

Z-Line presented the man with a bill for $28,000. The Poplar man contacted Asphalt-Duluth to check the project cost. Asphalt-Duluth said the price he was quoted — $26 per square yard — was extremely high and the project should have cost about $9,000.

An Amnicon man told Knutson he was approached by Z-Line representatives. They started work on his driveway without a signed contract.

The man said he was quoted a price of $900 initially for the job, but that changed to $1,500 after an employee measured the driveway. To add in the turnaround portion of the driveway would bring that up to $4,000. Z-Line employees stopped work on his driveway before it was complete, and the Amnicon man told them not to do any additional work until he could talk to someone.

Ryan Hayworth, operations manager for the County Highway Department, told Knutson Z-Line was not involved in any Douglas County paving projects and multiple residents in the Poplar area reported being contacted by Z-Line.

It was determined that Z-Line left work incomplete, overcharged customers and performed substandard work. In addition, the contract provided the Poplar man was incomplete and did not list project materials and costs as required by state regulations.