On Your Side: Shutting down unlicensed contractors

On Your Side: Shutting down unlicensed contractors

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - 12 On Your Side is constantly warning homeowners about the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors. Here recently, the name Paul Anderson keeps showing up.

His former customers are asking -- why is it so hard to shut him down? On Your Side Investigator Diane Walker asked the Virginia State Board of Contractors if it is ever okay for a person whose license is revoked, to solicit jobs and work using the license of another contractor who is legit.

"If the particular individual is operating under a legitimate contractor's license that's perfectly okay," explained Mary Broz-Vaughan with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. "But the consumer needs to be entering the contract with that licensed contractor. The contract needs to be in the contractor's name."

On paper it appears unlicensed landscaper Paul Anderson followed the rules in two instances. The contracts he entered in with the Brophys and Wilkerson never mention his name and each has a valid license number linked to the name in the contract. Neither contract has Paul Anderson's name anywhere or even a legible signature. But, the homeowners who turned to 12 for help tell us they thought they were hiring Paul Anderson.

"The fact that it was Paul who evidently negotiated the contract, that's a little iffy," said Broz-Vaughan, "but still we have a contract that was executed with a licensed contractor."

Still, the State says it has two active investigations involving Paul Anderson's son, Brehun Taylor Anderson. One is a complaint from Gretchen and Donald Brophy who videotaped Anderson during their recent falling out.

"Again, are you going to repair this yard? You're walking away again because you don't want to talk to a woman," Gretchen Brophy says in the recording.

The Brophys say they lost $18,000 on a faulty drainage system and having to pay a second contractor to fix it right.  Paul Anderson previously told NBC12 the Brophys never told him they had a problem and he would fight them in court.

"That's the kind of thing it appears the licensed contractor in this case needs to answer for and you can't go, 'well, I didn't know he was doing that,'" said Broz-Vaughan. "It's your job to know who's using your license. it's that old ignorance is no defense."

Anderson has unsettled civil judgments against him. A year ago he was convicted of unlicensed contracting and a different case was closed without disciplinary action involving his son's business.  We asked the Board if Paul Anderson is playing the system.

"He's a pro. Not a licensed professional, but apparently pretty good at what he does which is not what he's been hired to do," said Broz-Vaughan.

NBC12 called and left several messages for both, father and son. Neither has returned any of our calls.

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