ELLSWORTH — A Winterport man accused of taking money from an Orland couple has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of theft.

Robert M. Denike, 45, owner and operator of Barrd Builders in Holden, is facing three counts of theft in connection with a building project in Orland.

According to Hancock County District Attorney Michael Povich, Denike was hired by the couple as a general contractor to oversee construction of a house in Orland. In August 2005 and again that December, Denike was paid approximately $66,000 that was to be used to pay subcontractors for their work.

“Each [payment] was around $66,000,” Povich said Monday. “It is alleged that he didn’t use the money to pay off the subcontractors at all.”

The first two counts of theft deal with the payments made to Denike by the homeowners. The third count is for the theft of services from the subcontractors who did work on the house but reportedly were not paid by Denike.

Povich said Denike is believed to have used the money he received from the homeowners to pay off subcontractors in other construction projects his company was spearheading.

According to documents filed in Superior Court, the amount of money that subcontractors were owed by Denike for the Orland project but did not receive is nearly $89,000. Specifically, the documents indicate that Denike allegedly failed to pay:

• $21,748 to N.S. Giles Foundation Inc.

• $21,000 to Hammond Lumber.

• $6,345 to Ellsworth Building Supplies.

• $19,057 to Granville Lumber.

• $400 to AAA Portable Toilets.

• $5,535 to John S. Gilbert Well Drilling.

• $10,746 to Moosehead Construction.

• $1,320 to Castine Plumbing.

• $2,000 to Pellscott Development Co.

Povich said some of the subcontractors ended up putting liens on the Orland house but those liens are no longer in effect.

“The house was completed by other contractors, but it cost [the owners] more than they expected it to,” Povich said.

Denike, wearing a coat and tie, appeared last week in Hancock County Superior Court in Ellsworth as he pleaded not guilty to the three counts of theft.

Denike’s attorney, Jeff Toothaker of Ellsworth, said Monday that his client had to file for bankruptcy and was having difficulty paying his bills. Toothaker said he was still trying to review all the documents related to the case and declined further comment.

“The information in this case is huge and I’ve not had a chance to look at it all,” Toothaker said.

According to documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Bangor, Denike voluntarily filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in March 2006 and did not emerge from bankruptcy until July 2007.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....