Crack down on unlicensed building contractors

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I have been a building contractor for 28 years, and like many others we have worked hard to get a state license, which was made a state requirement four years ago to help protect the public and the reputable contractors in Georgia.

But I know of one individual without a state license. On a commercial job he conned a lady out of an estimated $85,000, falsely stating that he had a license and insurance to do business as a commercial contractor in Columbia County. In fact, he was recommended to this lady by a real-estate agent.

Another individual started a job a year-and-a-half ago, and said he had a state license at the time. He charged a couple $40,000 to replace the siding on their house, but didn’t finish the job and walked away with their money.

There have been people who rob banks who don’t get away with this much money. We see photos of people on the local news charged with robbing convenience stores for less than $20. The problem is that we, as builders, are not aware of any general or residential contractors being charged with anything since the state license process has been in effect four years ago.

These individuals who are taken advantage of after the fact are told it is a civil matter. When is the local district attorney’s office going to do its job – to uphold the state law and start prosecuting these criminals under state law? How quick would our D.A.’s office arrest someone without a license practicing law, medicine or impersonating an officer without a license or certification?

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Jane18
12332
Points
Jane18 11/25/12 - 07:56 am
2
1
Crooked Contractors

Mr. Bartley, have you reported those two men to the appropriate officials? Go as high as you have to, so these liars and thieves can be stopped, and maybe even go to jail. One day, there will be someone that will take the loss of their money to a different and personal level, possibly to a life and death situation!

jbartley
611
Points
jbartley 11/25/12 - 08:22 am
2
0
both turned in.

Both have been turned in, one signed I want don't do this again and a fine the other is yet to go to court.

TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 11/25/12 - 08:39 am
0
0
I have an "ex" friend who
Unpublished

I have an "ex" friend who claims to be a contractor. My first experience with him was soon after we met when he volunteered to help out with a tree that had fallen on my property and caused damage. Soon after I asked him to do some work on my property and began to question his skills / legitimacy soon after. At the same time he was doing work for some other aquaintances and we compared notes. Apparently he had been telling them I hadn't been paying him and at the same time he was was doing the same to them. Because of this back & forth mess the other parties realized he wasn't licensed and put a halt to his work on their property. They too were told it was a civil matter. However, they did put a hold on already paid-for merchandise at one of the big DIY stores - This "contractor" is now without a contractor's account there.

I'm Back Again
307
Points
I'm Back Again 11/25/12 - 09:34 am
0
0
It is a
Unpublished

FELONY in the state of Ga. to do what these contractors are doing. Georgia Code 16-8-15 (illegal use of payments for real property improvements) is for that exact crime. It states that if a contractor, or sub contractor is given money for real estate improvements, and the improvements aren't made, it is a felony. There is no minimum dollar amount required.
It sounds as if both individuals you mentioned are being dealt with. As a former Richmond County deputy, who did charge a contractor with this crime, there is no way for a deputy to make the charge if it isn't being reported. If you know of someone breaking the law it must be reported. Plain and simple.
As far as operating without a license, I'm sure you can check with the licensing board where you got your license to ask what you can help do to prevent someone from operating illegally. Sometimes you actually have to start the chain of events if you want results. If you dig deep enough I am sure you will find your answer.
Best of luck to you and your company.

GiantsAllDay
10295
Points
GiantsAllDay 11/25/12 - 09:45 am
1
0
What, what?

Mr. Bartley, are you saying that Georgia started issuing general contractors licenses only 4 years ago?

jbartley
611
Points
jbartley 11/25/12 - 11:18 am
2
0
GiantsAllDay- Yes until 4

GiantsAllDay- Yes until 4 Years ago anyone could build a house or a high-rise building with no training or testing!!

KSL
140598
Points
KSL 11/25/12 - 01:22 pm
2
2
I knew that and I have not

I knew that and I have not lived in GA since 1969.

KSL
140598
Points
KSL 11/25/12 - 01:38 pm
2
1
Not so in SC. If you were

Not so in SC. If you were building for the public.

Cynical old woman
1111
Points
Cynical old woman 11/25/12 - 07:30 pm
2
0
Turn your head the other way

That seems to be the way it works around here with building inspectors. Ride through any of the new subdivisions and see how many non-Hispanics are working. Hard to believe all the Hispanics are legal! Downright impossible to believe!

Dennis DeLong
4
Points
Dennis DeLong 11/25/12 - 08:39 pm
2
0
Not the only ones unlicensed

Yes, there are lots of people out there who take advantage of others, saying that they will do jobs for cash or for a check made out to their name. Contracters, handy men, yard services, the list goes on. Basically they are working under the table, not paying their share in business taxes and otherwise and shifting the tax burden onto lawful workers such as yourself and others. We'd all be better off not using these people!

studmuffin1533
305
Points
studmuffin1533 11/25/12 - 09:33 pm
2
1
Larger than this

I'll bet Mr. Bartley is a fan of small government and self-regulation for industry. Maybe even a "Reagan Republican".

jbartley
611
Points
jbartley 11/25/12 - 09:35 pm
2
0
State License

Cynical old woman - you are talking about sub-contractors that are licensed by the City's or County;s like Hugo. My letter is about General Contractors that are licensed by the State Of Georgia that hire the subs!

studmuffin1533
305
Points
studmuffin1533 11/25/12 - 10:14 pm
2
1
State license

No, not talking about subs. I know enough of them who fly under the radar. My point is your letter enlarged to the larger picture: Can industry/business be entrusted to self-regulate/reduce inspection? The reduction in the size of government regulation mandated by budget cuts is killing us. Example: The lack of regulation started by Reagan allowing food producers to self regulate by hiring their own inspectors to "self-regulate". My point is that jbartley is probably a proponent of smaller government, until it inconveniences him. Read Mueller's Extra Virginity to see how reduced government inspection affects more than your livelihood: your family's health. Part and parcel, it is part of the same issue: reduced government inspection=reduced consumer protection.

gargoyle
19612
Points
gargoyle 11/25/12 - 11:01 pm
2
0
Vetting

Whe all know that all state licensed contractors retain and submit proper paperwork for those employed by them and Sub Contractors...Wink...Wink...Nudge...Nudge...Know what I mean ;-)

KSL
140598
Points
KSL 11/26/12 - 12:37 am
2
1
Make the generals responsible

Make the generals responsible for the subset they hire.
It has worked in SC and in GA now.
If the owner agrees to third party whatever, all for providing a reduced price, woe be to them.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 11/26/12 - 09:17 am
1
0
Needs new law

What we probably need is new wording for our current laws to insure that this issue is dealt with as a criminal matter... I agree that the problem is wide spread and the amounts involved are huge!

KSL
140598
Points
KSL 11/28/12 - 04:55 pm
0
1
Studmuffin

Since GA has had the license requirement for 4 years, do we know whether the problems referred to in the letter are recent or prior to the law change? I will grant you that Georgia should have dealt with the problem decades ago.

KSL
140598
Points
KSL 11/28/12 - 04:56 pm
1
1
Contractors must have had a

Contractors must have had a powerful lobby for years.

jbartley
611
Points
jbartley 11/29/12 - 09:34 pm
0
0
Recent

These two were caught with in the last six months. Another one was arrested Wednesday in Columbia co. Jampsey Burke Johnson IIII Check augustacrime.com he had no licence and he is not a remodeler!!!

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