Ore. AG Cautions Residents on Unlicensed Contractors; 16 Court Actions Filed

Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers is cautioning consumers about the pitfalls of hiring unlicensed, construction contractors to handle their home remodeling and repair projects and filed a complaint in Multnomah County Circuit Court asking for a permanent injunction against an unlicensed Oregon contractor, who allegedly took hundreds of dollars from Portland residents and failed to perform the work. Myers also announced court actions against 15 other companies doing unlicensed, construction work in the state.

“Consumers’ home remodeling dreams can easily turn into disasters if they fail to hire a contractor with a state license and bond,” Myers explained. “Unlicensed construction contractors have been on our radar screen for five years as we work in tandem with the Construction Contractors Board to stop fraudulent activity in this industry,” Myers said. “Not only have we filed 95 court actions with most resulting in an order for restitution to victims and civil penalties against illegal contractors but through publication of our actions, consumers have learned how important it is to work only with legally registered companies.”

Named in the complaint is Kelly Michael McMonagle of Springfield, who reportedly did not have a license from Construction Contractors Board, allegedly took deposits from Portland-area consumers and a business for several projects and never did the work nor did he return the deposits. Because the victims have since moved out of the country and the business isn’t covered under the Unlawful Trade Practices Act, the complaint seeks only a permanent injunction of working as a construction contractor in Oregon without a license.

“Oregon has laws that protect its residents from unscrupulous and unlicensed contractors and consumers should know about these laws and how to use them. Although registration is not an endorsement of the quality of work, it ensures that the contractor has a surety bond and liability and property damage insurance, which both offer some financial protection if problems develop later.”

Of the other 15 contractors investigated by the Oregon Department of Justice, four companies are now under general judgment permanent injunction money awards from the courts and are permanently enjoined from working as contractors while not licensed in Oregon.

They include Lee Jerome Herald of Tigard, who did business as Lee’s Hi-Tech Furniture Manufacturing, attorney fees and costs, $20,974; Harold J. Lee of Depoe Bay, who did business as Harold Lee Roofing, Inc., stipulated to legal fees and costs of $6,500 with $4,000 waived if restitution of $1,085 is paid in full by an agreed deadline; Owen Paul Presutti of Keizer, who did business as P & R Custom Fence and Deck, civil penalties and attorney fees of $10,000, restitution of $1,870; and Randall Alan Clawson of Portland, civil penalties and attorney fees of $13,100, restitution of $3,600.

David Alan Palmer of Portland, who did business as Metro Valley Inspections, performed services and advertised as a home inspector, while reportedly not being licensed under the law. He also directly e-mailed an advertisement to an Oregon realtor offering the services of a home inspector while being unlicensed.

Under an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed in Clackamas County Circuit Court, Palmer is permanently barred from operating as a home inspector without a license. In a general money judgment received after the AVC, Palmer must pay restitution to victims and $5,000 to the Department of Justice.

An additional five, unlicensed contractors agreed to not conduct business as contractors in Oregon without being licensed and bonded and agreed to the following under Assurances of Voluntary Compliance:

* Ronald Spink of Vancouver, Washington, doing business as Ron Spink Construction, legal fees of $2,500.
* Patrick Taylor (aka Rick Donald Taylor) of Vancouver, Washington, $10,000 in restitution, $5,000 in legal fees and costs with $4,000 suspended if deadlines met under AVC.
* Marty Koulax of Vancouver, Washington (dba Aces Tree Service and Complete Removal Services), permanently enjoined from operating as a contractor in Oregon, $10,000 in legal costs suspended if he complies with AVC.
* Bill L. Wirch of Medford (dba Fyr Fyter Sales and Service), $10,000 with $9,000 suspended if he complies with AVC.
* Gilbert Pickett Jr. of Salem (dba Gilbert Pickett Custom Cabinets), $10,000 with $9,000 suspended if he complies with AVC.

Named in Assurances of Voluntary Compliance and subsequent money judgments are:

* Franciso Ramoz of Sweet Home (aka Franks Tree Trimming), civil penalties and legal fees, $1,000; restitution, $2,450.
* Donald Chambless of Salem, doing business as Siding Mart Inc., civil penalties and legal fees, $2,500; restitution of $13,800.
* Mark Picard of Tigard (dba Undercut Tree Service), civil penalties and legal fees, $2,500; restitution, $210.
* Guadalupe Morales of Tualatin (dba Lupe’s Tree Service and Landscaping), $25,000, civil penalties, fees and legal costs; restitution, $4,795.

Named under a general judgment and permanent injunction is Daniel Lee Gardner of Portland, who did business in Oregon as Mobile Home Maintenance and Mobile Home Repairs. Gardner is permanently enjoined from doing unlicensed contractor work in Oregon.

Respondents signing Assurances of Voluntary Compliance admit no law violation.