Attorney General Hardy Myers and the Oregon Construction Contractors and Landscape Contractors Boards today announced the filing of seven court actions against unlawful contractors as part of a joint effort to combat fraudulent activities in the construction and landscape industries.
"Fraudulent contractors in both the construction and landscape business have caused Oregonians a great deal of frustration when they find themselves with unfinished projects and depleted savings," Myers said. "This joint enforcement program will send a wake-up call to those in these industries that if they ignore licensure and lie to consumers, they will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
The program is the result of a joint proposal by the Attorney General and CCB to the 2001 Legislature. The proposal resulted in an increase in the CCB/LCB budget allocation to support civil prosecution of construction and landscape-related fraud.
Actions included the Department of Justice obtaining a temporary restraining order and filing a lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court Tuesday against Portland construction contractor Manning R. Diehr, also known as Mann von Die Herrn, and his two businesses, Mann von Die Herrn, LLC and Diehr Enterprises, LLC. Defendants do business in Oregon as Fantastic Finish and Best Way Refinishing.
Under the restraining order, Diehr's business telephones are shut down pending a show cause hearing set for February 28. The hearing will determine whether the business remains closed pending the trial.
CCB investigators found that Diehr fraudulently advertised in the QwestDex yellow pages as Fantastic Finish, representing that he was licensed, insured and bonded when, in fact, he was not. Diehr also advertised in that same yellow pages edition under the name Best Way, using an expired CCB license number that had previously been issued to Mann von Die Herrn, LLC but had lapsed earlier.
Investigators also found that Diehr used the name Fantastic Finish knowing that a licensed construction contractor had previously used that name. Diehr hoped consumers would be confused and mistakenly believe that he worked under a valid license number.
Named in Assurances of Voluntary Compliance are John Kakouris of Talent, who runs John's Pruning Service; Gregory Ronald Bergeron of Clackamas, who supplied and installed hydrolic geothermal heat pump systems in homes throughout Western Oregon; Kenneth Handlin of Aloha, who does business as Handlin's Plumbing; Jerry Harman of Tualatin, a construction contractor who did business in the Tigard and Lake Oswego areas; and Curtis John Gefre of Boring, who did business as Gresham Fence Company. Five of the defendants were not lawfully licensed and bonded during work as construction or landscape contractors. Bergeron is permanently restrained from operating a construction contracting business in Oregon and Kakouris may continue to work in the landscape contractors field under a strict set of detailed rules spelled out in the Assurance.
Under the assurances, defendants cannot operate as contractors until obtaining bonds, insurance and CCB/LCB licenses. They also must pay restitution to victims named in the agreements.
Today's announcement includes a default judgment obtained last week against Doan II of Portland, who does business as R & S Construction and R & S Maintenance. Doan II and his father, Robert Doan Sr., also of Portland, were named in a lawsuit filed by Justice in November 2001 alleging that they engaged in construction contracting without a license. Neither defendant had a CCB license when Doan II took $43,000 from an elderly, disabled couple for work he did not complete. Doan II failed to answer the state's allegations and did not appear in court. Doan Sr.'s case is pending.
Under the default judgment, Doan II is prohibited from advertising or performing construction services in Oregon without a CCB license, and must pay more than $68,000 to the Department of Justice. Of the judgment monies, $43,000 will be paid as restitution to the victims with the remainder paid as civil penalties and attorney fees.
Consumers wanting licensure and complaint information about construction and landscape contractors in Oregon may contact the Construction Contractor's Board at (503) 378-4610 or online at www.ccb.state.or.us. Brochures on choosing a contractor are available by calling the CCB automated publications line at (503) 378-4621, ext. 4974.
General information on construction and landscape contractors and their complaint history with the Department of Justice may be obtained by calling the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. Justice is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathleen Howlett, CCB, (503) 378-4621, ext. 4016