Small businesses say they were wronged by couple running Kids’ Directory, Bright Day Cleaning

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GREEN BAY—A year ago small businesses all over the state told the FOX6 Investigators they had tried to place ads in the Kids' Directory. "I thought 'Hey! This is a perfect place for us to advertise,'" said Lauren Ashley, owner of YETA (Youth Empowered Through Art)  Studios in Milwaukee.

Former customer Mark Harmann, who owns Homestead Animal Farm, thought the same thing. He and his wife paid for an ad during busy fall months.

Those companies, like many others, paid to place an ad in the booklet. The booklets would be distributed all over town.

belsha 2"As far as I can tell that never happened," Ashley said.

We went around town looking for directories, too, with a list of places the directory's owners -- Kathleen and Harry Belsha -- gave us. We didn't see a single Kids' Directory in any of the stores we went to in Milwaukee.

But we did find that Harry and Kathleen Belsha had been investigated before. In Washington, Arizona, and Wisconsin, court records showed the Belshas owed more than $75,000 to people and businesses around the country. They've been investigated for theft and writing bad checks. In fact, their cleaning companies (Completely Clean, Cathy's Cleaning Crew) have taken people to the cleaners.

When we tried to talk to them for our first story, they ran from us and hid in their garage. Later, their lawyer faxed us these documents, with information about the Kids' Directory (also known as Wisconsin Marketing Resources & Publishing LLC). But they still never provided proof of printing or distribution.

In June 2016 we started getting calls from other consumers, saying they had paid a lot of money to a company called Bright Day Cleaning.

"This has to stop," said Tom Garland, who lives in Green Bay. Garland and his wife Terri say they found Bright Day Cleaning through Home Advisor and hired them to do a deep clean of their home. They paid upfront for the services, but claim the cleaners didn't do what was promised after the first day of cleaning.

"They know what they're doing," Terri Garland said.

When the Garland's tried to cancel the contract, they say they got hung up on.   So they filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

"I want to do everything I can to prevent these people from striking again," Tom Garland said.

belsha 3As it turns out, Harry and Kathleen Belsha are also behind Bright Day Cleaning. They have a new business partner in both the Kids' Directory company and the cleaning company -- a man named Dolph Popp.

The BBB says there are five complaints against the Kids' Directory now. Three were filed in June by small business owners in Madison.

"They've made promises that they haven't kept," BBB Regional Director Susan Bach said. "They have been on our radar for a while."

The BBB has received one complaint about Bright Day Cleaning.

And a lawsuit was recently filed against Bright Day Cleaning by a dentist from Green Bay. He had also hired Bright Day Cleaning to clean his home, but instead cleaners allegedly broke a shelf and brought a sick child to their home.

We wanted to ask the Belshas about their new cleaning company, so we tracked them down at a warehouse in Green Bay. But they refused to answer our questions about claims they are still cheating small businesses.

"Our business is ruined because of you. You. Meghan Dwyer, Meghan Liar," Harry Belsha said.

belshas 5

The Belsha's mugshots from previous arrests.

When we asked if we could just talk about the new cleaning company, he yelled again.

"If you put this on the air, you don't realize how much trouble you are in," Harry Belsha said. "I will destroy you. I will spend the rest of my life making your life miserable. Enjoy it," Harry Belsha said.

Tom Garland, who reported the Belshas to local police, says he hopes law enforcement will eventually hold the Belshas accountable. But police say they have no probable cause to file any criminal charges at this point.

"There's absolutely no consequences, which I find absolutely absurd," Garland said.

The Garlands hired the Belshas and Dolph Popp to clean, remodel, and paint the outside of their home for $11,000. They plan to file a lawsuit, but don't expect their money back.

"They're going around and all they're doing is they're taking advantage of people," Tom Garland said.

After we left their warehouse, the Belshas called FOX6. They say they are just hardworking people trying to earn a living and support their family. They say they have a lot more satisfied customers than unhappy ones, and they can't please everyone.

belshas 4

Dolph Popp, Harry, and Kathleen Belsha are business partners in Bright Day Cleaning and the Kids' Directory.

They claim they do not own the cleaning business, but are mere employees. But when they called police on FOX6 they told officers they own Bright Day Cleaning.

In Popp's emails to FOX6 he referred to himself as the "former office manager of Bright Day Cleaning." When we asked what his actual role in the company was, he didn't reply.

Popp is the registered agent for the Kids' Directory. He emailed us a new list of places where the directory is distributed. The company expanded to Madison in July 2015. We called some of the businesses on the list and some say they have received Kids Directories in the past, but not for a while. Others told us they are waiting to get their money back because they are unhappy with ads they paid to place.

The Belshas say they stopped printing the directories in February 2016.

belshas 6

Harry and Kathleen Belsha threaten FOX6 Investigative Reporter Meghan Dwyer.

Home Advisor has removed Bright Day Cleaning from its website.

The BBB says to beware of placing ads in directories. In just the last 12 months, about 50 consumers around the state say they have lost money by advertising in similar booklets.

If you would like to file a complaint against the Belshas or Dolph Popp, you can file a complaint at  datcp.wi.gov or you can call the Consumer Protection Hotline (800-422-7128) to request a complaint form by mail.

The BBB is also encouraging consumers to file complaints with them online at https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started. If you would rather file a review of any of these businesses, you can do so by CLICKING HERE.

7 comments

  • -

    I think it’s safe to say she’s more credible then you are willingly giving her credit for. If you really feel that you could do better I’d love to see you work at getting multiple awards in the field of Journalism and get both your Master’s and Law degree from two very reputable collegiate schools. How about you educate yourself in the field and don’t be so quick to judge someone without ‘knowing’ all the facts yourself. People put their trust in her and based off of her own personal accomplishments it shows.

  • -

    I think it’s safe to say she’s more credible then you are willingly giving her credit for. If you really feel that you could do better I’d love to see you get multiple awards in the field of Journalism and get both your Master’s and Law degree from two very reputable collegiate schools. How about you educate yourself in the field and don’t be so quick to judge someone without ‘knowing’ all the facts yourself. People put their trust in her and based off of her own personal accomplishments it shows.

  • Terrible People Watcher

    The above comments are from the terrible people in this story. They take money from people and do nothing. They are scam artists.

    They would do well to leave the state while they still can.

  • Business Owner

    I was ripped off by the Belsha’s. I lost almost $1000 in the Kid’s Directory which was supposed to be distributed in the Milwaukee Area. I never got one hit off of it and called all the places they listed as places they distributed material and no one heard of it. I made sure to reach the managers and/or people who would approve distribution in their office. In fact, one company said she too advertised it and tried to get her money back but never heard from them either and was floored that she was listed as a company that distributed the Directory. I called the corporate office of The Kids Directory and they didn’t do anything. Disgusting people. You don’t have this many claims against you without doing anything wrong. BELSHA’S YOU stop lying to people. THANK YOU MEGHAN AND FOX6!!!! YOU GUYS GO AND KEEP AFTER THEM!!!!!!!!! No one else seems to be able to do anything.

    • Read Moar

      No one is disputing that the “kids directory” did or did not do something wrong. Many of us here are aware of Meghan and her questionable reporting and that is why we are urging people to do their own research on places like this and not take Meghan’s reporting at face value since she has questionable integrity. If you feel you’ve been wronged by “Kids directory” then go ahead and sue them or reverse your credit card charge or whatever.. no one is disputing that issue.

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