Local Unlicensed Window Contractor Is Arrested
Contractors Board Seeks Additional Victims
CONTRA COSTA — An investigation conducted by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has resulted in the arrest of John Kimble, Sr., an unlicensed contractor who was charged with felony diversion of construction funds, contracting without a license, illegally using someone else's contractor's license, and violations of the home improvement contract law. The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office arrested Kimble in February after CSLB investigators obtained an arrest warrant with bail set at $440,000. Kimble was arraigned on February 19 and is set for a court appearance on March 18 in Martinez, at which time a preliminary hearing date will be set.
Kimble, who did business under the name "The Window Place," had racked up complaints from at least 23 homeowners in Napa, Marin and Contra Costa counties whose losses total $92,244. He also failed to pay several suppliers and vendors, leaving hundred of thousands of dollars in unpaid bills.
The CSLB urges consumers who believe they have been victimized by the Window Place or John Kimble, Sr., to contact CSLB's Santa Rosa Office at (707) 576-2196.
In 2001, Kimble took over ownership of the window replacement company; however, he was not licensed to perform any of the work. In addition to operating without a contractors license, Kimble improperly used someone else's license number, took illegally large down payments, did not pay suppliers, diverted funds, falsely claimed that window orders had been placed, and finally abandoned customers altogether. In December of 2002, Kimble closed the business.
The CSLB urges homeowners to check out their contractor before signing a contract or making any kind of payment, including a down payment. A check of CSLB's Web site would have revealed that Kimble had no contractors license, that he was illegally using someone else's license, and there was no licensed window contracting business with the name, "The Window Place." This would have served as a "red flag" for consumers to ask questions and seek a different contractor. It is illegal to use another person's contractor's license.
By law, all contractors who perform work that totals $500 or more (labor and materials) must be licensed by the CSLB. To qualify for a license, one must apply, pass a two-part examination, verify four years of journey level experience, post a license bond, and maintain workers' compensation insurance on all employees of the business.
The CSLB advises consumers to follow these tips when hiring any contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors
- Don't be rushed or pressured into making a decision to hire a contractor
- Get a written contract
- Do not pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less
- Do not let payments get ahead of the work
- Verify the contractor's license with the CSLB at www.cslb.ca.gov
- Get three bids and check references
- Don't pay cash.
The Contractors State License Board, which operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs, licenses 278,000 contractors in California and investigates 25,000 complaints against licensed and unlicensed contractors annually.
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