A handful of people who say they were bilked by Castle Builders met with Robin and Rob Milliken and her son, Brandon Rubenstein, owners of SRB Homes LLC, and a couple of volunteers Sept. 26 to debrief and try to come up with a plan of action to secure any homes that need to be buckled up before the cold sets in.

The Millikens opened the meeting at Thompson Community Center in Union with an emotional sentiment. "It's hard for me to sit in my house at night when it's raining out knowing people are getting wet," Robin said, "especially after you've paid for it [the work]."

She said the family-run business wants to help those in need, and that she considers the most serious situations to be open roofs and messed up floors or windows.

Corey Staples, a former Castle Builders employee who reported the firm's activities to the Attorney General's Office, was also there. He also paid for a project that Castle Builders left unfinished.

"Because I'm not a roofer, we contracted with him and were taken for $20,000," Staples said. "And we live under a blue tarp right now. So I definitely feel the heartache and pain in this room."

Staples said he has seen many of the unfinished jobs and it haunts him to know that the owners of Castle Builders — Malcolm and Elizabeth Stewart — could do such a thing to so many people.

Valerie Jackson of Washington, whose roof is also covered by a blue tarp, said she has an appointment Tuesday, Oct. 1, with the Attorney General's Office and urged any other victims to contact them as they are trying to build a solid case.

She said she was advised by a couple of lawyers to file a police report, and found it difficult to even speak with some attorneys, as Malcolm had already spoken to them within the last two weeks and it created a "conflict of interest."

Staples said anyone who has signed a contract and put money down should contact the authorities, as it is theft by deception and a breach of contract.

Alan Lowberg of Hope was on hand to volunteer his assistance. "I'm a good carpenter's helper," he joked. "With the right supervision, I'm the best carpenter's helper you ever saw."

Virginia Flood of Belfast said she's had a couple of projects started by Castle Builders, and a garage roof completed — which is already buckling.

She said she tried to get her money back in August after contracting with the Stewarts in March. She said she paid for the work and nothing was done and no materials were ordered. "The thing of it is, I didn't contract someone out of the blue, we've been friends for years," Flood said.

She said Elizabeth gave her a check for $3,000 as reimbursement Sept. 1 that was post-dated Sept. 5. However, there were no funds in the account to allow her to cash it.

"My husband died in November, so I'm doing this alone and I'm living on Social Security," she said. "This is no fun, to have lost $3,000."

"I'm shocked to find out more and more cases," Flood said, but what she's more shocked about is how the Stewarts could do so much to so many people.

In order to qualify for the help being offered, proof of payment and a contract must be provided.

"This is the third business he's [Stewart's] had," Robin said. "Hopefully he's not allowed to start up another one."

Anyone wishing to volunteer or customers who wish to report their incident anonymously can contact Milliken at SRBhelping@gmail.com.

Assistant Attorney General Linda Conti said consumers and other potential witnesses should contact investigator Mark Pelkey at 626-8546.

Anyone wishing to make monetary donations to cover materials can do so at Bangor Savings in the account of SRB Helping. Also any contractors with leftover materials they would like to donate to the cause should contact the Millikens at the email address above.

Another meeting of volunteers and former Castle customers is set for Thursday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. at the Thompson Community Center in Union.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.