Contractors State License Board Takes Administrative Actions in Aquarius Swimming Pool Case
Company principals agree to give up all California contracting licenses
SACRAMENTO — The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) has finalized its disciplinary action for the principal owners involved in the consumer fraud case of Aquarius Pools, which left dozens of homeowners with abandoned pool projects when it went out of business in 2006. A "Default Decision and Order" issued by CSLB, following representation by the State Attorney General's Office, calls for the revocation of Imperial/Aquarius Pool's license (#267176). The decision is effective July 25, 2008.
Gregory Wolf, who served as "Responsible Managing Officer" of the company, is prohibited from applying for, or serving as an officer, director, associate, partner or qualifying individual on another contractor's license for 3 years.
Richard Carnation and Kevin Towle, who had owned Aquarius, have agreed to a "Stipulation and Waiver" involving their four other contracting licenses. This essentially means:
Carnation has disassociated from the license of Waterworks Industries (#678182). That company will be allowed to continue operating. Carnation has also agreed to the revocation of his sole ownership license for Town and Country Construction (#813098).
Towle has disassociated from the license of Water Works Aquatic management (#826855). That company will be allowed to continue operating. Towle has also agreed to the revocation of his sole ownership license for Redhill Construction (#697459).
The two are prohibited from applying for reissuance or reinstatement of these licenses for three years.
Aquarius Pools abruptly halted operations in August 2006, leaving more than 60 families from Marysville to Elk Grove with partially completed swimming pools. CSLB received initial complaints and inquires from homeowners and subcontractors who filed dozens of mechanic's liens against the homeowners for unpaid work. The company later filed bankruptcy.
Wolfe was managing the company's day-to-day operations as the Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) on the Aquarius license.
After a lengthy CSLB investigation, Wolfe and his wife, Teresa, were arrested on May 16, 2008, and now face 11 felony and misdemeanor charges of mishandling company finances, defrauding consumers and subcontractors and willfully filing false income tax returns. The two are free on bail.
"Almost two years ago we promised to make sure those responsible for harming more than 60 families were held accountable," said CSLB Registrar Steve Sands. "As a result of these disciplinary actions that has happened."
CSLB worked closely with the California Spa and Pool Industry Education Council (SPEC) to help the families harmed in the Aquarius bankruptcy. SPEC gathered a group of licensed contractors to step in and finish up the jobs. Many victims utilized this and all homeowners now have finished pools. The majority of mechanic's liens have also been settled. CSLB is not aware of any sub-contractor that went out of business as a result of the Aquarius bankruptcy.
The Contractors State License Board operates under the umbrella of the California Department of Consumer Affairs. The CSLB licenses and regulates California's 316,000 contractors, and investigates more than 20,000 complaints against contractors annually. In fiscal year 2006-07, the CSLB helped consumers obtain more than $45 million in ordered restitution. The CSLB is also a partner in Governor Schwarzenegger's Economic and Employment Enforcement Coalition, a multi-agency group focused on enforcing the state's labor laws and regulations.
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