I was hired by this so called "Reverend" Wayne Stokeling for my design services. At first he said he wanted me to design the interior of a restaurant he was "opening" in New York, It was all very vague but he seemed like a nice man and drove a nice brand new black BMW and I didn't make much of his strangeness. Things about him seemed suspicious from the get go but as a design professional I agreed to offer my services through my own small company for interior design, and expresses that I was very happy to be given the opportunity on that first meeting, I gave him all my contact info and business card for my interior design company . A few days later April 11, 2011 he sent me the address of the "restaurant" via text message and asked if I would be available. I said yes whenever was convenient for him to let me know, and I didn't hear back from him. I followed up a few days after not hearing back to know if he was still interested and after weeks of not hearing back from him, I finally got an very late night text message almost a month later (May 5th) saying he did want my design services but for a Church. I was a little confused and told him I had been trying to contact him for a few weeks, to which he apologized saying he was again "out of town" this time in Trinidad. He asked if I would do a project for some Church bathrooms. I responded positively and said I could. He then, contacted me to meet him to go look at the "site". He suggested he "pick me up in Manhattan and drove with him in his car out to Brooklyn" but I felt uncomfortable and afraid since I barely new this man that appeared out of nowhere in Craigslist, so I was skeptical and told him thank you but that I would drive out myself and meet him there.
On April 12, 2011 I went out to the address he gave me thinking I was going to meet him there to take a look at the interior. It turns out I ended up waiting out in the street outside the closed Church for quite a while and things started to seem suspicious. He texted for me to wait ten minutes, he then called and asked me if I saw a white van parked out front, and then to wait more time, and then he calls me and tells me he isn't actually there. That he is away in Georgia, and that I will be taken inside by some other young man who would meet me there. I was a little scared, felt very uncomfortable about the whole thing and when I was getting ready to leave this guy showed up in a van from the city of New York, and showed me into the Church. I went through the spaces quickly, it was empty and I was uncomfortable. Took notes and left.
That night I wrote up a contract and I was very very generous with my pricing and detailed with the contents of the project. MR. STOKELING even acknowledged in more than one instance how nice and generous I had been with the pricing and told me he and the Church appreciated it very much. He and I BOTH signed the contract/agreement.
I have never gone unpaid by any customers, I have been running my own company for 2 years now, and have never had a problem of this sort with any client. I am very trusting and my contract doesn't include any late fees, it just requires a standard deposit to begin, and then the rest upon completion. I went numerous times to this "New Journey" Church out in Brooklyn, including the very first time which he stood me up and sent some other men to open the Church and show me around, after leaving me outside waiting for more than 30 minutes. I assumed he was inside and then after a few exchanged texts I realized he was actually out of town, or so he says and sent some other men to meet me. From the start IO should have seen the red flags, and even that first day I felt very very uncomfortable with the situation but I am professional beyond anything else and went along with his undeniable strangeness, and often inappropriate comments just wanting to do my job and receive the payment as agreed. He paid me the deposit, and I spent weeks on his always keeping him up to date on the project via email and by phone conversations almost daily.
All the time he praised me and complemented me on the work, saying he "really liked it", that he was very glad to have "found me", and that I "got it", that it was exactly what he wanted to keep the essence of the place" , etc etc, and that he was really looking forward to the final project.
I met him at his office in the Church to present the completed project on June 1, 2011. I had all samples needed, and the entire project very professionally printed and bound in a booklet for him. I went through the entire proposal and at the end he was very very pleased. He said it was exactly what the Church needed, and proceeded to rpaise me in very
different ways. Saying that I was quite an elegant and smart lady and that he admired me very very much. At times his compliments made me somewhate uncomfortable and sometimes they were too much but I was glad that he liked the proposal and wanted to go ahead with it. He did pay me a second time, another third of the total balance. He expressed how much he like it, that he wanted it as a PDF and powerpoint so that he could present it to the people of the Church, or the "board as he called them". On the way out that day, he asked me to do a short impromptu presentation to some ladies at the Church and I did, the ladies were pleased and he seemed more than pleased and very thankful.
It was now up to him, and the Church Board and HIS contractors to get together and go from there using my project as a guide. It was very thourough in drawings and exact materials to be purchased and used. He said he wanted his contractor to do that part and that was fine with me. Our contract only included the design of the entrance and the downstairs area including the restrooms. And that's what I presented and gave him. I added 8 hours of site visits, for measurements, contractor meetings, and project supervision in the first drawn up contract which he expressed he would want, and clearly said those could be adjusted to more hours or less hours accordingly.
He called me the following evening saying that he had a few questions from the contractors about the stalls and if I could find alternate options for the wood floor. I said no problem and then spent another day of "free" work doing this for him. I sent him what he wanted via email. After that I waited until he was ready with materials and contractors for the project to start. I waited and waited ...and waited, and never heard from him again. I did contact him to see if everything was alright and to see if he was going to start anytime soon, but never heard from him. He did respond on one occasion saying that he had been "out of town" and said he had some problems with his sick mother again, so I didn't worry about it.
A couple of months and attempted emails and voicemails later, I realized the project was apparently not going to be constructed, So I kindly sent him an email where I was very understanding and along with it the invoice of the remaining balance he owed me. I never added one cent of a late fee, even though at that point I had finished the project 5 months prior and had never been paid. I even deducted 4 hours of project supervision because the project was never carried out. All I added was the printing fees for the booklet I gave him, so his final invoice was actually cheaper than the original agreement. He owed me the balance of $467.50 and still does to this day, almost 10 months after I completed the job. He never again returned my phone calls or emails. Months later he once did answer the phone when I called with no caller ID, and he was very apologetic saying that he was sorry and that he would send the payment. He seemed to say that he thought "They" had paid me. I don't know what he was referring to and he seemed a little off during the awkward conversation but at the end he assured me he would pay me when he returned from "out of town", of course. Time passed holidays came and went, 2012 rolled in and still no payment from Mr. Stokeling.
I have since tried to contact him countless times, always been very nice and patient. He never answers calls unless I call randomly from an unkown source. His voicemail is always full, and he rarely ever responds to emails. Last week I managed to contact him again, calling anonymously online, and he seemed surprised and again apologetic, he said he was "out of town": and that he would get back to me on Friday when he got back. This is the second time he was "apologetic" about not having paid me, always asking "Oh...they haven't paid you?" again I wonder...who is "THEY?".
Again I emailed the invoice at his request although I had done so maybe 10 times in the previous months. He got back to me asking for the original signed agreement/ contract, which I suspected wasn't a good sign of good intentions. I sent it to him as well. And then I didn't hear from him on Friday as it had been previous times.
Finally this week, after waiting another week for my payment and not hearing back from this Dr. Wayne Stokeling man, I sent him an email and at the end stated that if I didn't receive payment by this week I would have to involve my attorney, because it has simply been going on too long now, 10 months. His response was simply and I textually " OKAY, DO THAT." and nothing more. I feel not only like I have been fooled and that I have wasted my time but that I have to do something about a man who has clearly done this before. Upon searching his name online I find the second mention of him on google is on Rip-off report. I will proceed legally and do whatever I have to to be fairly compensated but hopefully this report will be read by anyone out there thinking of doing ANYTHING for this so called "Reverend Wayne Stokeling who is nothing but a very strange con man with strange intentions and who fails to pay people for their work.