Hobart levies $5,000 fine against no-show contractor
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent November 28, 2012 9:46PM
Updated: December 30, 2012 3:46PM
HOBART — The Contractor’s Licensing Board on Wednesday fined Dave Ferner of Alligator Construction a total of $5,000, suspended his license and ordered him to appear at its next meeting after hearing from several people who said they were swindled by the contractor.
But that probably won’t be the end of the fines for Ferner, who did not appear at the meeting as ordered by the city.
The board tabled action on complaints filed by residents Amy Kazen and Phil Anderson, and resident Kevin Robinson, who said they gave Ferner down payments to do work at their houses but the work was never completed by his company.
Board members said they want to compile a complete list of violations committed by Ferner before taking more actions, stating he could be charged separately for each infraction in each case, which includes doing electrical work with no license, and doing work while his insurance and workers’ compensation insurance were expired.
The fines levied against Ferner on Wednesday were for acting as a contractor when not in good standing and for not showing up to the meeting as ordered.
Board member Dan Waldrop suggested the fines be suspended if Ferner finishes the projects.
“I know it’s a pipe dream,” he said.
Kazen told the board she and Anderson have paid out about $28,000 to have two bedrooms and a bathroom added to the upstairs, but only the framing has been completed and the roof shingled. Workers are in the process of finishing the heating and air-conditioning.
“I’m asking that the fines be as extreme as possible. (Ferner) knew he didn’t have insurance when he took on the work. That’s a pretty serious matter. And we are out of options to get a resolution. We can’t get money from his insurance because he didn’t have it,” Kazen said.
“We tried to support the city we live in. We hired a licensed contractor and look where it got us,” she said.
Robinson said he signed Ferner to install a bathroom wall and three doors for a total of $3,500 and gave him half the money upfront. He said he had to wait weeks for Ferner to start the work and Ferner ordered the wrong doors, setting completion back further. He said he has since gotten some of his money back.
“I’m not whole, but I believe it’s as much as I’ll get,” he said.
The board also heard from Gwen Luzzi of Valparaiso, who said Ferner didn’t complete a deck for her, and from Kim and Paul Deaton of Lake Station, who said they are out more than $22,000 to Ferner for work that was supposed to be done at their house.
Ferner also has been charged with felony theft and two counts of misdemeanor home improvement fraud for failing to complete a job for a couple in Merrillville.
Waldrop said the contractor has been in business for 12 years and was in good standing in the city until recently.