One contractor botched a roof job and tried to plug the leaks with caulk. Another failed to disclose that he had a conviction of insurance fraud for damaging his own house and blaming it on hail. A third tried to pay a supplier with a fake money order.
Theirs were among 23 residential building contractor licenses revoked in the fourth quarter of 2010 by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.
About 14,000 building contractors are licensed by the department. Disciplinary action was taken against 76 licensees in the fourth quarter.
Contractors who come to an agreement with the department are issued consent orders. Other cases are resolved through a process that can include an administrative hearing.
Here are the eight businesses that lost their licenses and were ordered to pay fines in the fourth quarter of 2010, according to orders made public by the department.
Artisan Builders, LLC and Jason A. Rakauskas, Brainerd, $5,000 fine.
Rakauskas provided poor workmanship for a Brainerd homeowner, with whom he had a personal relationship. According to the homeowner, their relationship soured and Rakauskas threatened to destroy her house. She filed a restraining order, and Rakauskas filed a mechanic's lien. Much of the plumbing and electrical work had to be redone. Three plumbers refused the job because the initial work was "so bad."
Exterior Motives, LLC and Jason R. Casey, Winona, $5,000 fine.
Casey was licensed but failed to paid his bond premium. Later he roofed a Winona house without having a proper license or pulling a permit. An inspector was alerted by the homeowner when Casey tried to use caulk to fix leaks. He also failed to pay a supplier.
Kevin Manley Homes, Inc. and Kevin Manley, Prior Lake, $5,000 fine.
Manley's license application failed to disclose civil judgments against him. When the department discovered those judgments, it suspended his license but stayed the suspension as long as he paid his creditors and disclosed future legal actions. The state then revoked Manley's license after he failed to disclose eight subsequent judgments or lawsuits. He also admitted he let his brother's unlicensed company use his license.
Zehm Bros. Construction, Inc. and James Zehm, Woodbury, $5,000 fine.
According to complainants, the company failed to pay a supplier on one project and accepted a $13,000 down payment for another project, but it didn't finish it. There were three civil judgments last year against the company.
Ben Hackbarth Roofing, Inc. and Benjamin D. Hackbarth, Cokato, $2,500 fine.
Hackbarth had two civil judgments against him, one of those for failing to pay child support. He also paid for a building permit with a bad check.
Eilertson Exteriors, LLC and Thomas W. Eilertson, Minneapolis, $2,500 fine.
To satisfy a $3,000 debt to a supplier, Eilertson provided a sham $15,000 money order that included no bank information. Eilertson claimed that he no longer owed the debt because the supplier didn't contest within five days something called the "Verified Notice to the Public Within the Admiralty, in the Nature of a Commercial Affidavit of Truth." He also had a civil judgment against him in 2010.
Hannah Taylor, Forest Lake, $2,000 fine.
Taylor allowed an unlicensed individual and business, Lauren Patnode and Alternative Contracting, Inc., to use her license. Patnode was ordered to cease and desist acting as a contractor in August.
Trusty Restoration, Inc. and John Dossett, St. Paul, $2,000 fine.
Dossett failed to notify the department of a 2008 conviction for theft by fraud after damaging his house and then seeking an insurance payment. He applied for a contractor license under a new name but provided false information regarding his past enforcement actions, civil lawsuits and the fraud conviction.
Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.