For immediate release - July 1, 2005
TAVARES — A joint operation by the Lake County Office of Building Services and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) concluded this afternoon with seven individuals receiving criminal and civil citations for attempting to perform work as unlicensed contractors.
“We have hurricane season upon us once again so we are trying to do this as a way to make the public aware,” said Tony Lopresto, Licensing Investigator for Building Services. “We want homeowners to make sure they hire licensed contractors to repair storm damage.”
In the past year, some Lake County residents have hired unlicensed contractors to repair hurricane damage. Unfortunately, some local homeowners have been bilked out of thousands of dollars as a result. If work is performed by an unlicensed contractor and it does not meet code standards there is no recourse against the unlicensed contractor, other than through civil court.
Also playing a key role in the operation was the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office.
“We participated in this operation to ensure the cases against these unlicensed contractors would be prosecutable,” said Bill Gladson, Assistant State Attorney from the Lake County office.
The operation to crack down on unlicensed contractors began on Wednesday, June 15, when authorities started calling suspected unlicensed contractors from advertisements in local newspapers and telephone directories. About 25 contractors were identified and invited to stop by a home in disrepair located at 927 Dora Ave., Tavares.
The suspected unlicensed contractors were asked to submit bids for identified work. About 10 contractors did submit bids and were subsequently called back to the home Friday. Seven were cited for attempting to perform work as unlicensed contractors.
"DBPR will not tolerate unscrupulous individuals who are seeking to harm disaster victims and we look forward to continuing to work with local authorities toward the common goal of protecting the public,” said DBPR Secretary Diane Carr. "We are continuously conducting sweeps to check ongoing jobs and determine the licensure and permitting status of those doing the work."
Those cited received a misdemeanor citation to appear in court as well as civil citations from the Lake County Office of Building Services Division and DBPR totaling $750. The cited individuals could receive a fine up to a $1,000 and one year in jail, if found guilty in court of the misdemeanor charge.
Cited unlicensed contractors Friday include:
Charles L. and Dawna Rayburg, House Doctor, 26702 Cayman Drive, Tavares
Gary L. Marsella Jr., Get it Done home remodel and repair, 120 Dora Ave., Tavares
Dennis Michael Powers, Interior Home Improvements, 21739 Wiygul Road, Umatilla
William A. Walker, William Walker’s Professional Concrete Services & Home Improvement, 1518 Pine St., Mount Dora
Robert Wayne Doby, Repair or Fix it, 3010 Clamont Lane, Eustis
Kevin Schneiderman, Kevin Schneiderman Inc., 30830 Powhatan Ave., Leesburg
Brian Lemirand, Duct Works, 142 Almond Road, Ocala
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office also provided support in the operation.