• Report: #431119

Complaint Review: Mario Cortolezzis

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  • Submitted: Thu, March 05, 2009
  • Updated: Thu, March 29, 2012

  • Reported By:Hopkins Minnesota
Mario Cortolezzis
1535 Niagara St Waconia, Minnesota U.S.A.

Mario Cortolezzis, Jake Polantra, Piccolinos, Power Generator Sales This individual is a scammer that concocts elaborate schemes to bilk people of their money. Waconia Minnesota

*Consumer Comment: Zunker is in jail

*General Comment: SO MUCH FOR MR CORTOLEZZIS and S.A.F.E.R......

*Consumer Comment: Don't let yourself be taken advantage of Mario Cortolezzis

*UPDATE Employee: Response to report on Mario Cortolezzis

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Mario Cortolezzis has been behind at least two scams, quite possibly more. The first involved a fundraiser for the charity, Autism Speaks, back in 2004. At the time, Mario was in a band and was telling people that he'd be hosting a large New Years Eve fundraiser for the Autism Speaks charity. His band would play and all the proceeds would go to the charity. Tickets were $120 each. About 100 people were at that event.

After the event, Mario skipped town. He never had any contact with any of the current band members he played with that night. He skipped his tab with the caterer and the hotel where it was hosted. The charity had not sponsored or was even aware of the event being held.

Mario simply lied about all of it. Set up the event and charged everyone there $120 cash. And then stuck the money in his pocket.

Soon afterwards, he began a new lifestyle. He'd gone through gastric bypass surgery and went from over 400 pounds to about 150. He maintained the image of a lavish lifestyle and came up with a plethora of stories to explain the money. The popular line was how an old friend affiliated with the mafia (whatever mafia that is) named, Jake Polantra, was going into business with him. They were going to buy the Block E Theater in downtown Minneapolis and convert it into a two story nightclub called Piccolinos. Jake had given Mario a large wage advance to support himself until the club could begin construction. Of course, none of this was true, but it was Mario's way of explaining where the cash was coming from.

Over a period of 3 months, Mario blew through all of the roughly ten grand he gleaned from his friends in the New Years Eve party.

After wearing out his welcome in Minneapolis and people started catching on, he moved his workings back to Waconia. All mention of Piccolinos or Jake Polantra or Mario stopped. Meanwhile, Mario started a new business called Power Generator Sales. In this scam, he setup a phony website and email account in order to take in down payments and then not deliver any product. Pretending to be both himself and his legal assistant/receptionist, he would delay and stall and provide excuses ad nauseum until the client finally gave up and went away.

The biggest "investor" and loser in this scheme was his own aunt and uncle, who handed over an untold amount of money that was never seen again.

Since then, Mario has joined the Minnetrista reserve police unit. Rides around in squad cars with the local authorities and is doing his best to set up another website income garnering business.

One of these is Marko Productions. In which he provides a training tape (made with Microsoft's Movie Maker software) giving education to dealing with autistic people, and he claims to be part of a large video production company.

Recently, he has started SAFER. A company providing radio tracking devices for autistic kids. Charging $5000 for a $1000 device. http://safermn.net/

Beware of any business dealing with this individual. He's not above using anyone or anything to further his means.

Mninformer
Hopkins, Minnesota
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/05/2009 12:37 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Mario-Cortolezzis/Waconia-Minnesota-55387/Mario-Cortolezzis-Jake-Polantra-Piccolinos-Power-Generator-Sales-This-individual-is-a-s-431119. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Consumer Comment

Zunker is in jail

AUTHOR: Kevin - (United States of America)

Zunker is now in Jail!  It just keeps getting better. 

http://www.chaskaherald.com/news/public_safety/zunker-begins-six-months-in-jail/article_80b7a869-f615-549f-9bdf-5fe5a67466b8.html
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#2 General Comment

SO MUCH FOR MR CORTOLEZZIS and S.A.F.E.R......

AUTHOR: paytheprice - (United States of America)

Hey MR Zunker,

 So what has happened to Mr Cortolezzis since your post, let me bring you up to date:  He is a scam artist, swindler, cheat, liar, user, con artist and everything else in between, just call up the S.A.F.E.R organization and ask them how the federal investigation is going on the disappearance of funds these days ! Incidentally, he is no longer there by the way, gee what a surprise isn't it, he was "released".  He may have a heart of gold, but it's for your money and everyone else's money, so he can spend it on supporting his lifestyle of lying and cheating people, he cannot hold a job.  I hope that KARE11, STAR TRIBUNE, FOX9,KSTP and any other media that has run a story on this guy, does a follow up of "where has the money gone" ? I see that you are with CARVER COUNTY and that he was involved with them also,  i hope you did not put your neck on the line for this guy, because your job might be in jeopardy if you did and there are funds missing; on patrol for the city of Minnetrista.....are you kidding me? This guys works for law enforcement and he is wanted by many for fraud? I wouldn't trust this guy with fetching me a bucket of sand, he may steal the sand, or anything else for that matter.  The list of people he has scammed, including private and public continues to grow, hell this guy would cheat his own mother if he could find a way,  i am one of the many unfortunate people that he owes allot of  $$$$$$$$$ do-re-me to !!! The bad part is that he has a family, and they are caught in the middle. 

This is not only directed at you so please forgive me if it sounds like it, but to all and anyone that has come in contact with this guy or to all who come across him. Don't hire him or put any trust in him if it has to do with money, he is not to be trusted, i wouldn't hire him to sweep the street in the worse part of downtown New Orleans !!

Enough said.


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#3 Consumer Comment

Don't let yourself be taken advantage of Mario Cortolezzis

AUTHOR: Concerned Citizen - (United States of America)

Mario Cortolezzis is a scam artist without a doubt. He convinces good people that he is a victim just so that it is that much easier for him to take advantage of them.

Just check out his history of judgments and cases against him. It is public record and free for anyone to look up for themselves.

http://pa.courts.state.mn.us/JudgmentSearchResults.aspx?SearchLinkIndex=3

Case No./LocationEntered/DocketedDebtor(s)Creditor(s)Details

Carver
05/25/2006
07/17/2006
9:43 AM
Cortolezzis, Mario
Namjoo, Mohammad J
Orig. Amount:$1,442.50
Current Principal:$1,442.50
Status:Active
Type:JUDGGR
Carver
12/04/2006
12/04/2006
1:28 PM
Cortolezzis, Cheryl A
Cortolezzis, Mario
WFS Financial
Orig. Amount:$15,420.04
Current Principal:$15,420.04
Status:Active
Type:JUDGGR
Carver
10/18/2006
12/12/2006
1:16 PM
Cortolezzis, Mario
Ohm, Jim
Orig. Amount:$3,790.00
Current Principal:$3,790.00
Status:Active
Type:JUDGGR
Carver
08/16/2006
01/26/2007
12:19 PM
Cortolezzis, Mario
Ginzburg, Dmitry
Orig. Amount:$6,988.55
Current Principal:$6,988.55
Status:Active
Type:JUDGGR
Carver
03/17/2008
07/28/2008
10:15 AM
Cortolezzis, Mario
Great Lakes Contracting, Inc.
McColman, Allen
Orig. Amount:$1,590.26
Current Principal:$1,590.26
Status:Active
Type:JUDGGR
Carver
06/04/2009
06/04/2009
8:58 AM
Cortolezzis, Mario
SPECIAL COMPENSATION FUND
State of Minnesota
Orig. Amount:$41,842.85
Current Principal:$41,842.85
Status:Active
Type:JUDGGR
Ramsey Civil
05/05/2007
05/05/2007
10:00 AM
CORTOLEZZIS, MARIO
SPECIAL COMPENSATION FUND
State of Minnesota
Orig. Amount:$41,842.85
Current Principal:$41,842.85
Status:Active
Type:CNVDISCLO
Ramsey Civil
06/20/2005
06/20/2005
4:12 PM
CORTOLEZZIS, MARIO
GREAT LAKES CONTRACTING INC
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY
SPECIAL COMPENSATION FUND
State of Minnesota
Orig. Amount:$678.00
Current Principal:$678.00
Status:Active
Type:CNVDISCLO

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#4 UPDATE Employee

Response to report on Mario Cortolezzis

AUTHOR: Pzunker - (U.S.A.)

My name is Paul Zunker, and I am the Director of Public Relations for S.A.F.E.R.(referenced in this report) and also the Captain of the Police Reserve Unit (also referenced in this report) for the City of Minnetrista Public Safety Department.



I would first like to start this off by saying that all of the information in the "Rip Off Report" filed about Mario Cortolezzis is completely untrue. I will start with the top of the report and work my way down.



I did not know Mario back in his band days, but I have known him for around 3 years now. My family and Mario's are very close, and we spend a lot of time at his house with his other friends as well. I can say that I have personally met and talked with former members of his band that he played with, and all the ones that I have met are on very good terms with him. I can not speak first hand about the New Years Eve event in 2004, but I can tell you that we are currently working on a large summer festival for SAFER and are working directly with Autism Speaks in Chicago. If Mario would have taken Autism Speaks for any amount of money or even had a scam going saying Autism Speaks would benefit, I can guarantee you that they would not be involved with him right now. But I would ask the poster of this report to issue statements from the band members that played with Mario that night stating that they were taken for the money. Since it's easy to post anything on web sites, I would like to see written statements from these people with signatures scanned into electronic format and posted. If these claims are true, then it would not be too hard to get those.



I did not know Mario during the time period in question for the "Block E" project either, so I can not speak directly to that. But I can say that Mario has never lived a "lavish" life style. Anyone who knows him knows he lives in a simple split entry single family home in Waconia and drives a Ford SUV. He doesn't wear all designer clothes and doesn't eat out at lavish restaurants. He is s simple man who lives a very simple life, and loves his family above everything else. The author if this "story" was kind enough to post Mario's address, allowing for anybody reading this right now to drive by and take a look at the "lavish" life style of Mario.



I knew Mario through the Generator sales business (not called "Power Generator Sales but "Pro Power Generator Sales") and can speak directly to that. I personally witnessed Mario speaking to customers taking orders and then setting up delivery instructions. I witnessed him talking to customers with questions after receiving the product as well, so the statement by the author of this report saying "take in down payments and then not deliver any product" is completely false. I would issue a challenge to the author of this report again. Please post documentation of your claims. I would like to see bank or credit card receipts from the companies who paid for and never received any product. The generators were sold mainly to companies in Canada so I am confused as to how someone in the Twin Cities who did not work for Pro Power would first of all know who the companies who were purchasing equipment were, and secondly how they would follow up with them to know they never received any of the purchased equipment. The author stated that Mario would "delay and stall and provide excuses ad nauseum until the client finally gave up and went away" so again, I would like to see documentation to back that up. If I was a company who was taken for a sizable amount of money (and the generators were at least a couple thousand dollars) I would be more than willing to provide some documentation on the fraud that was perpetrated on me.



I do not know Mario's Aunt or Uncle, but I do know his parents. I spent New years Eve of 2008 with them and other friends of Mario's over at Mario's house. His parents are some of the nicest people I have ever met. I would think that a son who took his Aunt and Uncle for a large amount of money and never re payed it would have some tension between him and his parents. Again, please provide documentation (via bank records and signed statements) backing up the fact that Mario "scammed" his Aunt and Uncle for a large amount of money. There is an Aunt and Uncle on both sides of most families, so please let the readers here know which Aunt and Uncle Mario scammed.



Now I can speak to the Minnetrista Reserves part of the report very well. I interviewed Mario for his position, and he interviewed very well. But as part of the application process for the Department, our investigator does a very thorough; very complete criminal and civil background check. Mario is a member of our Reserve unit today so obviously he passed that background check. We will NOT take anyone with any "shady" civil matters in their background or any felonies. Some of the claims being put forth by the author of this report are about some pretty sizable amounts of money. I would think that at least one member of Mario's Band, the caterer, someone from the Hotel from the 2004 New Years Eve party, one of the customers of Pro Power generator Sales, Somebody from MarKo Productions or anybody from SAFER would have filed some sort of Police report or contacted the authorities about Mario. Usually when someone is a scammer, there is a lengthy Police report behind them. Mario's report is clean. Mario is a Sgt. with the Reserve Unit and volunteers a lot of his time in giving back to the residents of Minnetrista. IN fact, he received the "Reserve of the Year" award for 2007 and had the most hours volunteered in 2008. He does not ride "around in squad cars with the local authorities". The Reserves in Minnetrista have their own vehicle and are out on their own during their shifts.



MarKo Productions was actually a joint venture between Mario and one of the Sgt's at the Police Department. They video taped weddings and created videos on dealing with children with special needs that were aimed at Law Enforcement, Fire and EMS Agencies. (The movies by the way were made on a Mac computer with professional editing software; not Windows Movie Maker). The videos that were produced by MarKo Productions have helped many Public Safety officials learn how to better deal with children with Autism and other special needs. Mario's son has Autism, and is the driving passion behind what Mario is doing with the special needs community. He has a love for his little guy that is far beyond the explanation of words on this web site. Mario has been, and will continue to be a tremendous advocate for those in the Autism community and every other special needs community. His passion to help those people and the people who care for them were what was behind the MarKo productions videos. I know first hand that MarKo has been dissolved, and the other owner of MarKo and Mario paid off all the bills from that company and split the remaining profits of the company equally. He and the co-owner of MarKo are still currently good friends. Neither one of them ever claimed to be part of a "large video production company" as is stated in this story. Please provide any documentation showing us where Mario ever told you that he was a member of a "large video production company".



I can also talk very clearly about S.A.F.E.R. I am the director of Public Relations for SAFER and also the Chairman of the Advisory Board of SAFER. The author of this report was also kind enough to publish the link to SAFER's web site. Please go there and look at the members of the Board of Directors. The Vice-Chairs of the SAFER Board are 2 Law Enforcement Agents and 1 Fire Chief. There is Mario and myself, and I am a State Licensed EMT and work for a Law Enforcement Agency. IF Mario were a scammer as he is accused of being by the author of this report, how comfortable would he be around these people? The people on the Board of SAFER have obviously done their home work on the organization before attaching their names to the organization. But lastly, the statement about the price of the equipment is glaringly inaccurate. I would hope that someone who is making these charges would have done a little more home work before publishing this. The transmitters that go on the people with special needs are in case they wander away from their care givers and need to be located and are manufactured by LoJack, a very reputable company, out of MA. Part of what SAFER does is assist local Law Enforcement agencies and Fire Departments locate these children or adults. The transmitters that the special needs person wears cost the family $260 each. They then pay a maintenance fee of $8 every month to cover the cost of battery changes. But if the families can not afford them, the foundation from SAFER actually pays the cost for them. The funds for SAFER are managed by the Community Foundation for Carver County, so it would be fairly difficult for Mario to use SAFER as a fund-raising scam for himself. The $5,000 package that the author of this report is referring to is the public safety package, and it is worth well more than $1,000. There is actually no equipment from SAFER that has a $1,000 price tag. The $5,000 these agencies spend gets them 2 tracking receivers, 2 transmitters that they can use for training or actually donate to a special needs person in their community and 2 full days of training on the equipment. A competing organization to SAFER charges a little less in up front fees, but the program costs the agencies quite a bit more in program administration costs as they are responsible for running the program themselves. SAFER comes right along side the member agencies and provides the program administration for them at NO extra cost to anybody. There could be a tremendous revenue stream for SAFER as is evidenced by a similar organization in the US. But Mario, as the Program Director for SAFER, decided to take SAFER in a different direction. His goal is to get as many people protected by this program as possible and get as many public safety agencies on board as possible at a minimal cost to them. He does not want money to be a factor keeping them away. He has in fact been volunteering his time since the inception of SAFER and has put in many many weeks of well over 80 hours worked.



I will finish my response here with some documentation of my own, as stories on the internet are indeed very hard to believe these days without documentation. I have posted links below that support Mario's character. There are many stories from local FOX affiliate stories, to local papers to Star Tribune articles about Mario. There is a story about Three Rivers Park District and their Police Chief Hugo McFee who recently deployed SAFER throughout their entire Park System. Chief McPhee would never do business with anyone who does not have good character. These are just a few articles supporting Mario's Character. But I can attest as someone more that a PR Director for SAFER or Mario's Captain on the Reserves. I can attest to Mario and his character as his friend. I have only met a few people in my life who will take you at face value as a friend with all your own faults and flaws and look past those to see the person that you really are; and Mario is one of those people. To see these things written about Mario without one ounce of supporting information is very saddening to me. Mario is one of my best friends that I have ever had and if anyone needs me to vouch for his character, please contact me. I know any of the SAFER Board of Directors will do the same thing along with anybody from the Minnetrista Public Safety Department. Please contact me at pzunker@safermn.net with any questions at all.



But to the author of this report, please find the time to post the requested documentation backing up your claims here. I would also urge you to call Mario and hash out your personal issues with him directly instead of doing something like this. It is sad that people are willing to attack another persons character with false claims like this over something that may have happened years ago! I am not saying that Mario is perfect, and you may have very well had a personal issue with him in the past. But I can guarantee you that the things in this article are simply not true, and I would ask that you post some type of retraction about them. Thank you, and here are the articles I talked about.



Paul Zunker



http://www.startribune.com/local/22179889.html?page=1&c=y



http://www.waconiapatriot.com/articles/2008/11/28/the_pioneer/news/news05.txt



http://www.waconiapatriot.com/articles/2008/10/09/the_pioneer/news/news05.txt



http://safermn.net/Member-Cities.html



http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/dpp/news/invisible_perimeter_for_vulnerable_individuals_march_4_2009



http://windowsmedia.alphameetings.com/LMCC/0409lakesidenews.wmv
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