CSLB Orders Five Year Probation for Pelican Pools; Owner Must Pay Restitution to All Claimants
SACRAMENTO — Contractors State License Board (CSLB) Registrar Stephen Sands today announced a stipulated settlement and disciplinary order in the Board's case against Folsom pool contractor Pelican Pools Inc. Pelican owner Michael Kincade's contractors' license was revoked, but the revocation was stayed and the license placed on five years' probation.
Under the terms of probation, Kincade's license is suspended until he makes restitution to all known homeowners who have claims against Pelican. Proof of restitution must be provided within six months of the effective date of the decision, or the stay is terminated and the license automatically revoked. The decision becomes effective July 16, 2001. Restitution must be either monetary compensation or, if the homeowner is willing, correction or completion of the project. During the suspension, Kincade cannot perform pool construction other than to complete or correct projects under way prior to May 24, 2001.
Pelican's license has been suspended since May 2001 for non-payment of various judgments against him. Kincade must first satisfy these judgments before he can correct or finish projects under the restitution agreement.
CSLB will provide Kincade with a list of all known claimants, including complainants in CSLB's accusation against Pelican. Within thirty days of the decision, Kincade is required to provide CSLB with a list of all homeowners and claimants to whom restitution will be made, as well as a list of all projects he intends to complete and completion dates. Each list must be updated and submitted monthly, indicating the amount of restitution paid and proof of payment, or date of project completion. Failure to provide this information is also grounds for automatic revocation of the license.
"The Board is satisfied with this stipulated decision, because it does more for consumers than a straight revocation would. It ensures that the consumers who suffered financial injury are made whole. If the claims are not resolved within six months of this decision, Kincade's license is automatically revoked and he can no longer perform pool construction in California. If the claims are resolved by the deadline, the lengthy probation period permits CSLB to monitor Pelican very closely and prevent any future harm to consumers," Sands said.
To provide future consumer protection, Kincade is also required to post a disciplinary bond of $100,000 for three years. He must also reimburse CSLB $56,000 for investigation and enforcement costs. During the probationary period, he must also provide CSLB copies of all building permits, lien releases, and a list of all subcontractors and materials suppliers.
In November and December 2000, CSLB received a large number of complaints against Pelican Pools, indicating a consistent pattern of not completing projects timely, or outright abandonment of projects. CSLB's subsequent investigation resulted in an accusation against Pelican, filed December 18, 2000, which included nearly 40 complainants who suffered approximately $200,000 in financial injuries and representing about $1 million worth of contracts. Pelican was charged with collecting more money than work completed, job abandonment, and poor workmanship.
The CSLB urges consumers to follow these tips when hiring a swimming pool contractor:
- Hire only licensed contractors and ask to see the license
- Check the contractor's license on CSLB's Web site at www.cslb.ca.gov, or by calling (800) 321-CSLB
- Get at least three bids and check references
- Get a written contract, and don't sign anything until you completely understand the terms
- Don't pay more than 2 percent or $200, whichever is less, as a down payment
- Don't pay cash, and don't let the payments get ahead of the work
- Contact CSLB if you have a complaint against a contractor
The Contractors State License Board operates under 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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