PORTLAND, Ore. -- People who have been ripped off by one businessman are urging others not to follow in their footsteps and trust the man.
Jerry Rosenstiel has been the subject of a few KATU News stories because he's known to state officials as being one of the most complained about businessmen in Oregon. Recently, a whole new crop of people are upset because he hasn't paid them what he owes them.
A group of people gathered along TV Highway and made it known how they felt about Rosenstiel, who was working inside a nearby building. Most of the people are former employees of Rosenstiel, a man they helped to buy and sell cars. They're upset because they never got paid for their work.
One woman outside holding signs and urging others to not trust Rosenstiel was written a check for $2,700 by Rosenstiel. The check never cleared.
Less demonstrative, but no less upset is Mike Cuciti, the owner of CBM Computer Solutions, a small tech outsourcing company. Cuciti spends countless hours on the road servicing computer systems for local businesses.
"He cons people out of money," Cuciti said.
Cuciti was able to produce the bill he gave Rosenstiel and his business partner for computers and computer services he provided to them. He had five used computers, a custom-built computer, a monitor, ethernet switches and other equipment. The bill for all the equipment has yet to be paid by Rosenstiel. That was three months ago.
"He asked me at the end of March, I believe it was, to give him a bill and come back the next day and get paid," Cuciti said. "I came back the next day and he said, 'Well, I didn't get ahold of the bank. Come back again.' This went on and on for a whole month and he even said (the) check's in the mail or we delivered it but it came back because it had the wrong address on it."
Cuciti is out $4,033.25.
"I don't think I'll ever see the money," Cuciti said.
It's the same story, albeit a few twists and turns, other victims have told about their dealings with Rosenstiel. His dealings in Newberg led to an arrest, but he's obviously still at it.
Lately, Rosenstiel has been going by the alias of Jerry Bates because the man named Jerry Rosenstiel isn't supposed to be doing business at all in the State of Oregon, thanks to a ban imposed upon him by the Oregon Department of Justice.
Officials from the Oregon Attorney General's office cut him off from advertising, soliciting, carrying on or conducting any retail sales or service business in the state. That ban was put in place in 1993 -- nearly 20 years ago.
When asked about what he thought about the business dealings with Cuciti, Rosenstiel admitted he owed him money for the computers. He then called his business partner on his cell phone and used the speaker phone function.
"Hey Andy," Rosenstiel said into the phone. "I know you're busy in Indiana. Do you have a copy of the check you wrote Mike for the computers?"
Rosenstiel and his partner said they only owe Cuciti $500 for his services -- a long way off from the bill of $4,033.25 Cuciti had.
Rosenstiel wasn't sure what to say when asked why so many people are unhappy with him due to their business transactions with him.
"I cant given you a straight answer because I don't have one," she said.
Cuciti is still upset about his dealings with Rosenstiel.
"I mean, this guy -- out and out -- told me untruth. He lied. It just made me mad that he took advantage of me. If this helps anybody not dealing with Jerry, that would be wonderful. At least we can save them some heartache."
Rosenstiel said he lives with himself pretty well despite all of the complaints.
"You know what, I do a pretty good job living with myself because half these people are lying and I'll tell you the truth," he said. "And if you want to come in Tuesday, we'll lay everything out. You can lay it out."
Rosenstiel scoffed at the notion that his offer was just an appeasement and that he would never actually show up to the proposed meeting. However, a month later, Rosenstiel still never showed up to any meeting. His reasons ranged from delayed flights for his business partner, cell phone batteries dying to their company's bookkeeper's daughter having two separate back surgeries.
Along with the Department of Justice's ban against Rosenstiel, the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles has problems of their own with Rosenstiel. Officials there have received dozens of complaints about him buying and selling cars when he's not legally allowed to do that. He's not a licensed dealer, officials said, but he acts like one and DMV officials have assessed penalties against him.
If there have been so many problems with Rosenstiel, why isn't he in jail? That's because much of what Rosenstiel has done falls under the umbrella of civil law, which means people resort to file judgments against him in small claims court, which allows him to escape a criminal prosecution.