State Website Cracks Down on Illegal Contractors

📅   Fri March 31, 2017 - National Edition
Joe Douglass, KATU News



"We've got some very bad boys out there that the public needs to know about," Stan Jessup, enforcement program manager for Oregon's Construction Contractors Board (CCB), told KATU on Thursday.

Jessup was talking about a new website from CCB that lists unlicensed contractors who have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in fines along with photos of them.

One of their victims told KATU that avoiding them is easier said than done.

"I just felt violated and used, didn't know what to do," explained a woman KATU is calling Lisa, who didn't want to share her real name.

She said she hired a man named George Dodsworth, 53, to do some work on her property last year.

"He was supposed to add a bathroom into my shed out(side) that I was gonna have be like a playroom," Lisa said. "He told me what the price would be then he wanted a thousand dollars down."

Lisa said after she wrote him a check, Dodsworth cashed it and gave her an invoice.

“The invoice looked like a legit contracting license," Lisa said. "It has his name, it has a logo, it has his address.”

After weeks of excuses and claims he was trying to get a permit, Lisa, a mother with several kids, said Dodsworth disappeared.

“I trusted him and every story he gave me felt like it was legit ... until the phone was disconnected," Lisa said. "I just feel devastated because I explained to him that I didn't have a whole bunch of money, that I had just bought this home."

"George Dodsworth does a lot of small construction projects -- lots of complaints about the work," Jessup said. “Takes the money, does substandard work and disappears.”

According to Jessup and the CCB's website, Dodsworth has racked up $26,381.82 in unpaid fines.

He's just one -- far from the worst -- of the nine unlicensed contractors listed on the site.

Jose Francisco Alvarez-Guerrero has accrued $103,435.44 in unpaid fines, the most of anyone listed.

"He's got probably the most victims out there too," Jessup said regarding Alvarez-Guerrero. "He's a very good, well-spoken, very nice individual actually. He'd do one job that looked pretty good and use that as a focus point then go sell other jobs, take large deposits and disappear."

Jessup said to help avoid these people, always make sure your contractor is licensed and that they're actually who they say they are.

Don't be afraid to take a picture of their license plate and ask for identification.

"Check the address, make sure it matches up. Phone numbers need to match up," Jessup said. "Never pay 'em in cash. Never write a check to Joe when it's 'Joe's Construction.'"

Jessup also said any work that costs more than $2,000 requires a written contract.

The unlicensed contractors listed on the site, who Jessup calls the "bad boys of construction," are still out there. He said the site's main message is, "Buyer beware."

For more information, visit http://url.ie/11q4u.