Local high school graduates plans for Wildwood summer shattered

Some local high school graduates tell FOX 29 their plans for a summer at the shore are shattered. They say a Wildwood businessman took their cash for a summer rental but never built the apartments.

It was supposed to be three months in Wildwood for eight guys.

"We worked hard for our money. We gave up our jobs in Philly--have a good summer with our friends," James Walls told FOX 29.

Now, not only have their dreams of a Wildwood summer vanished so has $22,000. They say the owner of a restaurant--John Sheppard--is to blame.

The boys and a parent tell FOX 29 back in September they gave Sheppard a $1,300 deposit to live in units he was to build above his Cattle 'n Clover restaurant. The next month they signed a contract and by March had paid him the full $22.000 for the three months.

They also expected to work in the restaurant but when they tried to move in on Monday all they saw was this: open windows--just wooden framing inside.

"It was not ready. Just the stilts were there. No dry wall. No sheet rock. Upset like everyone else," Michael Hnatkowski said.

FOX 29 called, sent a text and left a card. We also banged on the locked restaurant door after it was supposed to be open at 2 p.m. We did not get a response from Sheppard.

The young men say they filed a police complaint. Wildwood police tell FOX 29 the "incident is under criminal investigation And FOX 29 obtained a cell phone picture taken by Wildwood's building inspector of framing done inside the building without permits. Construction official Rick Allen says he's hit Cattle 'n Clover with two stop work orders and a fine of 500 bucks.

Meanwhile, the teens hope for their $22,000 and are returning to Philly to find summer work.

Wildwood's construction official says it will not allow anyone to stay in buildings it can't confirm are safe. All this as the Wildwood police investigate possible fraud.