Attorney General Obtains Interim Suspension Order Against Swimming Pool Contractor
LOS ANGELES, Los Angeles County — As the result of an ongoing Contractors State License Board (CSLB) investigation, an Administrative Law Judge has issued an Interim Suspension Order against Tony's Pool Plastering and its owner, Anthony Aguire.
An interim suspension order temporarily, but immediately, suspends a contractor's license when a judge has determined that the company's actions pose a continuing threat to the public. The order requires the contractor to immediately cease and desist from performing any new contract work. A tentative hearing is scheduled for September 2, at which CSLB will request a permanent revocation of the license.
The interim suspension order states Tony's Pool Plastering has "established a pattern and practice of behavior" that violates Contractors State License laws. Tony's Pool Plastering is a swimming pool and plastering contractor that conducts business throughout Southern California. The CSLB alleges that the contractor engaged in "frontloading," or requiring excessive down payments from consumers for pool construction and then performing shoddy or unsafe work on the projects, leaving pool equipment with "live" or "hot" electrical current or abandoning projects altogether.
Furthermore, CSLB alleges that Tony's Pool Plastering committed many of these unlawful and dangerous acts while the contractor's license was suspended for failing to maintain a bond and for non-payment of contract related court judgments.
The order allows Tony's Pool Plastering to complete each of the projects that are presently ongoing as of the close of business on May 30, 2003 only if all of the following conditions are met:
- Deliver to the CSLB true and correct copies of each contract for current projects
- Each current project owner agrees in writing to allow Tony's Pool Plastering to complete the project, but only for the contract price, with no extras or change orders which would increase the price.
- Upon request of the project owner, post a performance bond for the contract amount, guaranteeing completion of the work
Failure to comply with the interim suspension order is a violation of Contractors License Law. Anyone having information regarding non-compliance of the interim suspension order is urged to contact Deputy Attorney General Ernest Martinez at (213) 897-2544 or CSLB Enforcement Representative Charles Murray at (562) 466-6023.
"Homeowners should pay for swimming pool work only as it is completed. If your contractor insists that you pay up-front, that is a red flag that something is wrong. Contact the CSLB to check a contractor's license and to learn more about your rights and responsibilities", said Stephen P. Sands, Registrar of the Contractors State License Board.
The CSLB offers a free publication about pool construction. Before You Dive Into Swimming Pool Construction addresses typical concerns about the swimming pool construction process, including tips to help homeowners avoid problems.
Before You Dive Into Swimming Pool Construction can be viewed online here. It can also be ordered online, or by writing to CSLB Publications, P.O. Box 26000, Sacramento, CA 95826.
The CSLB urges all consumers to follow these tips when hiring a contractor:
- Check the contractor's license with the CSLB at www.cslb.ca.gov or (800) 321-CSLB
- Get at least three bids and check references
- Get a written contract, and don't sign it until you understand the terms
- Don't pay more than 2 percent or $200, whichever is less, as a down payment on swimming pool construction
- Don't pay cash and don't let the payments get ahead of the work
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 278,000 contractors, and investigates 25,000 complaints against contractors annually.
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