SOUTHPORT, N.Y. (WETM) — A man has been arrested and forced to pay $30,000 in restitution after not doing the work for a contracted construction project, according to the Chemung County Sheriff’s Office.

Edward Blume, 72, of Windham N.Y., was arrested after an investigation by the Sherriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Divison that began in July of 2021.

The Sheriff’s Office said that Blume, owner of Zero-In Energy LLC in Greenwich Connecticut, entered into a contract with a local business in Southport to construct a pole barn. The business, Chamberlain Acres Garden Center & Florist, made partial payments to Blume for materials, but after nearly a year, the construction never began and materials were never delivered to the job site, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

After numerous requests by Chamberlain Acres for repayment were not answered, the Sheriff’s Office started an investigation which led to the arrest.

He was charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a Class D Felony. Blume was released and appeared in Chemung County Court. The Sheriff’s Office said that Blume paid $30,000 in restitution.

Charlie Todd, co-owner of Chamberlain Acres Garden Center and Florist said this about the arrest and spoke about the business’s recent lawsuit against the Town of Southport, “The delay of our building permit left us vulnerable to bad business practices. We have been paying principal and interest payments for approximately two years on this money. The town had announced that they were going to negotiate a permit when he approached us to buy our lumber for the project before prices soared during Covid. He used our delay to his advantage while we made payments. The Chemung County Sheriff’s Department along with the DA’s office was monumental in saving our small businesses during these difficult business climate times we are in. Our lawsuit with the town continues but this was life-changing.”