Howard helps barber who got clipped

Alex Ilayev is a barber. He’s opened a new shop downtown on 14th Street. But he’s the one who just got clipped.

He needed signs and business cards for his new venture. A friend gave him a recommendation: a guy named Alberto. So, Ilayev went along and gave Alberto $1,500 for the job.

Here we are four months later and no signs, no business cards and no Alberto.

Ilayev says all he did get were excuses:

“I’ll be there next week. I’ll be there Tuesday. I’ll be there Thursday. I’ll be there next week. Oh, you know what? Never mind, I got sick."

That’s just a sample of the excuses Ilayev says he heard. So, he contacted me.

Our first stop was a sign shop in Brooklyn where Ilayev says Alberto claimed to work. The guy there was a character. But after we showed him a photo of Alberto, he said he’d never seen the guy before.

So, now’s a good time to mention that Ilayev found out Alberto seems to be an alias. His real name is Attilio Villalobos. And after we left the Brooklyn shop, I gave him a call.

Guess what? Villalobos hung up on me.

Next, we went to an address Alberto/Atilio gave in a text message as another place he had in Hempstead.

That address isn’t a business. But across the street is a sign shop. So, we figured maybe there might have been a typo in the text.

Turned out, the guy who owned the sign shop couldn’t believe someone would try to claim his shop as his own.

Then we paid a visit to his home address. His car wasn’t there. So, I called him.

Guess what? He hung up again.

But maybe we’re getting somewhere in persuading Attilio to do the right thing. The day after I visited his home, Villalobos called Ilayev and promised to pay him back. He did not say when.

No surprise there. But we’ll be happy to report when Villalobos makes good.

We’ll see.