18 SLO County contractors busted

August 28, 2016

Sting contractor boardIn a local sting operation, the Contractors State License Board cited 18 San Luis Obispo County contractors for operating without a license and 17 for illegal advertising.

On Aug. 17 and 18, undercover investigators set up a sting operation at a single family home in Cayucos. The investigators used an online advertising site to contact most of the suspected unlicensed contractors.

Playing the role of homeowners, investigators sought estimates for fencing, landscaping, and painting jobs. In California, bidding construction work exceeding $500 or more in materials and labor requires a state contractor license.

All 18 persons cited are facing a misdemeanor charge of contracting without a state license. First-conviction penalties for contracting without a license include up to six months in jail and/or up to $5,000 in fines. Penalties are more severe with each successive violation.

The following contractors are scheduled to appear in court in October.

Casey Ray Bradshaw of Arroyo Grande, who was selling painting and/or decorating services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Bradley Yetter of Atascadero, who was selling fencing, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

James Norman Shoemaker of Nipomo, who was offering painting and/or decorating services, was cited for contracting without a license, illegal advertising, and charging an excessive down payment.

Dennis Paul Newton of Grover Beach, who was offering general building services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Dominic Anthony Sepulveda of Templeton, who was offering general building services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Robyrt Clehr of San Luis Obispo, who was offering landscaping services, was cited for contracting without a license, illegal advertising, and charging an excessive down payment.

Angel DeJesus Montar-Flores of Santa Maria, who was offering general building services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Thomas Flanigan of San Luis Obispo, who was selling painting and/or decorating services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Keith David Ellis of Paso Robles, who was selling painting and/or decorating services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Rodney Troy Brock of Atascadero, who was selling fencing, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Artemio Medina-Ambrosio of Santa Maria, who was selling fencing, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Douglas Edward Smith of Cayucos, who was offering general building services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Aaron Mathew Carvalho of Atascadero, who was selling painting and/or decorating services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Shane David Arnold of Santa Maria, who was selling painting and/or decorating services, was cited for contracting without a license, and illegal advertising.

Russell Walter Holguin of Grover Beach, who was selling painting and/or decorating services, was cited for contracting without a license, illegal advertising, and charging an excessive down payment.

Rodrigo Vasquez Teniente Jr. of Arroyo Grande, was offering concrete work, was cited for contracting without a license, illegal advertising, and charging an excessive down payment.

Nathan Daniel Witzig of Oceano, who was offering painting and/or decorating services and plumbing, was cited for contracting without a license.

Eric John Hanson of Arroyo Grande, who was offering general building services, was cited for contracting without a license, illegal advertising, and charging an excessive down payment.


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Ricky2

Technically the article is flawed because there’s no such thing as an “unlicensed contractor.” In order to be a “contractor” one has to be licensed and permitted to “contract,” which means to enter into a contract to do work for a specific price.


These unlicensed workmen can still do more than $500 worth of work, but they cannot issue contracts or even tell you they’ll do a job for $600, only that they’ll charge so much per hour of work plus materials. That approach is perfectly legal. In their ads they’re also supposed to indicate they’re unlicensed.


The licensing board does these stings all the time — it’s a regular part of what they do. Go out, pretend to be homeowners, invite guys and gals to come bid on work, then slap on the handcuffs. Should they be doing that rather than ridding the state of unethical licensed contractors? I’ll let you all argue that point.


kettle

Technically your comment is flawed because someone could be a contractor in another state, unlicenced in California or lost, surrendered licence contractors would also be unlicenced.


“unethical licensed contractors?” If you know any it’s easy to report them to the CLSB, what are you waiting for?


godislanguage

This makes me sick!


The law for contract work for real property improvement is premised with public safety.


Contract work for painting, landscaping and fencing and this grade of improvement falls short of this level of a government sting operation.


The cost of this government operation is to protect what? Protect the sacred order of the “Have’s”?


Yea, go ahead and criminalize people for trying to WORK for a living….


The real industry hear is the department of corrections.


Phffff….


kettle

Yea, go ahead and criminalize people who use false advertising to contract work for that they are unqualified to perform.


A few years ago a unlicenced painter powerwashed a very old home in SLO, blasting lead paint flakes all over the yard and the neighbours side yard and street drain. Homeowner was required to hire a crew to clean it all up $$$.


This is about public safety and not having to fix it later as some do not know what the hell they are doing, but you can make this about “the government” if that is what you are into.


godislanguage

What a joke!


Whether or not your story is true about a an unlicensed painting contractor possibly creating lead poisoning in our drinking water is classic, just classic. But your point is mute, since it’s well established that this kind of ignorance is not tolerated and the poor, poor naïve homeowner had to pay “$$$”. We have mechanisms and regulatory bodies in place to address these circumstances, which any property owner realizes, unless they are, well…uh um that’s not the argument here.


You miss my point entirely, since the amount of energy by this infamous leadership and which you apparently endorse, is about fixing problems with our society and this policy falls short.


Scapegoating these workers is like you and others are doing is putting blinders on what our culture needs, sustainable work activities.


I get it, there are many bad apples that have proceeded all us, whether a buffalo hunter or power washing leaded paint down the sewer drain, ya don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.


Figure it out!!!! Work like painting, repair, upkeep, maintenance, etc…is part of a sustainable culture. And adding burdens that currently exist for contractors is ludicrous.


Yea, let’s have fun playing whack-a-mole on the working class…but I guess that’s what ya do when your livelihood is protected by law and the establishment and not by a fair market.


TacomaRose

I don’t know how to process this article. On one hand I understand the issue of unlicensed contractors, yet on the other I recognize the reality of these men trying to make a living in an economy that despite the press, is far from recovered.


For the most part these men are likely hard working people trying to provide for themselves and their families. Perhaps they don’t have the money to pay the state for the cost of classes and licenses (It’s all about money you know). I’m left shaking my head.


Much of this is probably driven by the contractors who abide by the rules and pay their contractors fees to the state and are upset that others are taking short cuts. I get that. I do.


But then I think about the salaries of the state employees of the contracting board, particularly the enforcement people who probably top out at 8,000 per month plus bennies.


I wonder if, while they are pounding their prey, if they have any feelings of compassion?


Like I said I understand both ends of the argument but it still leaves me disenchanted and I look toward Governor Brown (whom I have voted for in the past), the governor of the people and the commoners. I think to myself … what a hypocrite.


jimmy_me

Do a sting in Los Osos. I have people lining up at my door to connect to the sewer way cheaper than anyone else. Where is the CSLB?


Scott

It is a shame that the CSLB, failed to do their jobs in SLO in 2003 thru 2008 when several builders who had licenses and yet failed to build houses in accordance with the Law.


Several builders go sued, as the City of SLO building inspectors failed to inspect the several poorly built homes in 5 developments in the City of SLO. 4 of the 5 developments were done by RW Hertel & Sons, Inc. it took a major lawsuit to bring justice to the owners and investors, then the builder was forced into Chapter 7 and bilked over $300,000,000.00 in losses. Causing two bank to fail and hundreds of honest hard working people to never get paid.


It took a federal probe to investigate the problems and then after the probe concluded over hundreds of homes were defective. The CSLB finally revoked their license and all their bonds were paid out. Long over do.


Amicus

the $500 threshold needs updating.

it does cost more to be a contractor but not too much,

and it is easy to pass the tests.


standup

I can’t believe the posts here. I am a contractor. I hate trying to compete against these guys. They feel they don’t have to abide by the law which includes paying workers comp, having liability insurance and having a 15k bond if they mess up. Most of these guys don’t pay taxes, pay employees under the table nor pay employment taxes. That may be cheaper for the consumer until one of the employees get hurt or killed on your property. Then, they or their family will sue you if their boss doesn’t have deep pockets which is usually the case and you can lose your home especially if it’s a serious injury or death. If I become aware of one of these guys competing around me, they won’t be around very long as they are taking money out of my pocket. By having a contractors license, they have at least proven they know the basics about what they are doing and that protects you, the consumer. Trying to save a buck can come back to snap you. I don’t know why anyone would hire one of these guys unless they real like to gamble.


rukidding

I somewhat agree with you. But I always remember when I got my license many years ago when I saw women all dressed up with diamonds on, nails all polished up and nice smooth hands taking the test. I always wondered how they got the 5 years experience needed to qualify for taking the test. Pretty simple, go to a school and get the answers and have someone certify that you had 5 years experience. I would venture to say that granting these people contractor licenses led to many people getting ripped off.

There needs to be an easier way for the small independent guy to get certified to do a little more than a handyman and less than say a General Building Contractor.


citygirl

Good for you Standup I will only hire those who are licensed and even then you can get ripped off big time.


I turned in Shayne Wemple who now owns/runs resource weatherization. He previously owned All County Window and Door, and was licensed. But he is an exception to the rule, most licensed professionals are very upstanding.


I turned him in and got some money back from his bond company and had a court date to sue him but then he claimed bankruptcy and screwed over lots of people. I don’t know if the CLSB was able to slap him butt or not. I was left with thousands of dollars of windows that were not installed correctly, leaked all kinds of problems.


If he had not been licensed I did not have ANY recourse with anyone. Not the courts, no bond company and no one who could pull his license or know of victims who got left in his wake.


The License is there to protect the consumer that is why I only hire those who worked to prove they know what they are doing.


womanwhohasbeenthere

I completely agree. Unlicensed contractors do all you have said and then some. They exploit illegals by paying them cash, they rip off taxpayers the same way, they often do shoddy work, and there is no legal recourse for the property owner – often an unsuspecting senior.


mkaney

By turning them in, and supporting these laws, It is YOU who are taking money out of THEIR pocket, with this protection racket that would make the mob proud. By becoming licensed, you are making a smart business decision that will provide you more customers and other benefits. That’s great. It should be encouraged. People who don’t want to take a risk, and can afford a more reliable option, can verify you license and seek your services. But who are you tell people that they CAN’T choose to hire who they want as long as they are willing to do some due dilligence and accep the risks?


standup

They are running their business illegally, plain and simple. People can hire whomever they want. I’m just pointing out they have no recourse and can lose their home if the illegal employer doesn’t have comp. and one of his employees gets killed. Is a home worth saving a couple of bucks? Maybe for an idiot.


topper01

@Standup How much would you charge me to pickup and install a $600 Refrig? I’m guessing you would NOT agree to do the job! If you did agree to do the job, you would charge $1,500 plus parts = $2,100.00. How close am I?


Or get my nephew to do it for $50 plus the refer!


Revisit the minimum $500 up it to $2,000 or even $5,000.


standup

I wouldn’t charge you a dime fool. I am not licensed to do that work.


rukidding

I wonder if any of these were complaint generated? The cost, difficulty and time required to obtain a contractors license is overwhelming for many people who just want to work and do an honest job. Like the post from aft50s I think that times have changed and some modifications are in order. With paint costing $35 a gallon and sometimes far more there isn’t much room for a small paint job to stay under the $500 limit. Same could be said for a small fence job with the price of lumber, cement etc.. Then we have the $15 minimum hourly wage to deal with.

This is not to say that the Board needs to actively pursue the crooks out there who are ripping people off. The Board needs to help the small guy become legally acceptable to the system. An over the counter test and application, similar to a drivers license, could possibly be an alternative for someone to perform work up to an acceptable increase in dollar value.


BeenThereDoneThat

Do you realize in a lot of these stings, they arrest them, process them and then when released a lot of times give them the paperwork to do it the correct way. The board would like to see them just do it the right way.


aft50s

I was not aware that you needed a license for “plumping”.


Serioualy though, the $500 threshold has been in effect for decades and is outdated. It ahould be somewhere in the $2K range given the cost of materials these days.