Hill Country contractor arrested months after Defenders exposed him

Nick Wolfe in custody in Gillespie County on four felony counts

GILLESPIE COUNTY, Texas – A Hill Country contractor accused of taking payments for work and then abandoning projects before their completion was arrested Thursday in Gillespie County on four felony charges, court records show.

Nickles Wolfe, the owner of now-shuttered Saderz Construction, remained in custody Thursday afternoon on $200,000 bond, according to Gillespie County Jail records.

Wolfe has been charged with theft of property between $150,000 and $300,000, a second-degree felony, misapplication of fiduciary property over $300,000, a first-degree felony, and two third-degree felony counts of exploitation of the elderly.

In February, a Defenders investigation revealed that Wolfe was a defendant in at least four civil lawsuits and had been accused of criminal wrongdoing by former clients in five counties: Mason, Kerr, Kendall, Bexar and Gillespie.

One of Wolfe's projects in Kendall County, which turned into an unsturdy carport with bowed beams, was supposed to cost under $18,000 to build. The homeowner told the Defenders earlier this year that the project's cost ballooned to more than $80,000 since Wolfe's work had to be dismantled and rebuilt properly.

A man in Gillespie County hired Wolfe last year to build an enclosed barn and driveway, only to have Wolfe abandon the job before installing a ridge cap connecting both sides of the roof, failing to hook up electrical and install windows inside the building. Wolfe also left behind large piles of trash, according to the homeowner, despite accepting full payment with the exception of a $2,000 completion fee.

Federal court records confirm that Wolfe and his wife filed for bankruptcy weeks after the Defenders exposed the accusations against him.

Texas Comptroller records show Saderz Construction forfeited its right to transact business after encountering issues with missing reports and payments.

However, it appeared for a time that Wolfe then attempted to do construction work under a new name: Steen Steel Structures. 

The Defenders can find no record that Steen Steel Structures has ever been registered as a business in Texas.

A sergeant with the Gillespie County Sheriff's Office said earlier this year that he was, at one point, working seven criminal cases against Wolfe.

The state attorney general's office eventually took over the case because it had the resources to properly handle it, Gillespie County officials said.

About the Authors:

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined the KSAT 12 Defenders in 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Joshua Saunders is an Emmy-nominated photographer/editor who has worked in the San Antonio market for the past 20 years. Joshua works in the Defenders unit, covering crime and corruption throughout the city.