Sept. 15, 2011
BATON ROUGE – As a direct result of Governor Jindal’s Executive Order to protect homeowners in the state’s Hazard Mitigation program, nine contractors faced administrative hearings by the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors today. The Board placed seven of these contractors on probation, which allows its staff to closely monitor their activities.
In his August 19 Executive Order detailing protections for homeowners in the Office of Community Development-Disaster Recovery Unit’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Governor Jindal directed the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors to investigate and, if necessary, to suspend or revoke licenses of contractors performing unprofessional or shoddy work in the Hazard Mitigation program.
Governor Jindal’s Executive Order states that “it is critical to public safety and the economic welfare of the citizens of Louisiana to empower homeowners participating in the Hazard Mitigation Program to protect themselves against dilatory, incompetent, unscrupulous, or predatory contractors and sub-contractors.”
The Office of Community Development – Disaster Recovery Unit administers the state’s $750 million Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for Road Home applicants who want to elevate their homes. As a result of Governor Jindal’s Executive Order, the DRU worked with the Licensing Board for Contractors to investigate claims of unprofessional workmanship by contractors in the Hazard Mitigation program.
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater said, “This action by the Licensing Board today sends a strong message to homeowners and contractors that we take allegations of shoddy work in the Hazard Mitigation program seriously. A family’s home is a huge investment, and we will continue to work with the Licensing Board and law enforcement agencies to protect homeowners from unskilled or fraudulent contractors that may damage or destroy that investment during the mitigation process. This is
why the Governor issued his executive order, because we want to see real action taken to prevent contractors from further victimized homeowners.”
The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors took the following action against contractors in the state’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program today:
- Lockett Construction Company, Inc., of Slidell – placed on probation for six months;
- Maurice Roy Hurst and the Olympic Group, LLC, of Metairie – placed on probation for six months;
- Davie Shoring, Inc., of Kenner – placed on probation for six months;
- Celebrity Contractors, Inc., of Harvey – placed on probation for six months;
- Coastal Shoring, LLC, of Jefferson – placed on probation for three months;
- Pelican Shoring, LLC, of New Orleans – placed on probation for four months; and
- J.A.C. Buildings, LLC, of New Orleans – placed on probation for four months.
The Board declined to issue any penalties against Roubion Construction and J-CON, both of New Orleans.
When a contractor is placed on probation, the LSLBC more closely monitors his or her activities to ensure that proper regulations are followed. The Board may choose to offer further sanctions against a contractor at a future date if it feels that it is necessary.
Since Governor Jindal’s August 19 Executive Order, the Hazard Mitigation program has taken a number of steps to empower homeowners, including strengthening insurance requirements for contractors working on homeowners in the program, mandating ethics and anti-fraud training for program contractors, adding new warranty requirements for work done in the Hazard Mitigation program and increasing transparency about contractor status in the program.
REPORTING CONTRACTOR PROBLEMS TO HMGP
Homeowners can report poor workmanship by their contractors, enter into mediation through the program and change contractors without penalty if the contractor will not correct problems with the construction.
Homeowners with problems with the quality of their contractor’s work can start this process by calling their Mitigation Analyst or the HMGP hotline 1-877-824-8312, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, homeowners can report potential contractor fraud to the new HMGP fraud hotline at 1-877-851-9380 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
As of September 14, the Disaster Recovery Unit’s Hazard Mitigation program has paid more than $325 million to more than 7,100 households. This is in addition to more than $928 million in elevation grants paid to almost 32,000 homeowners and more than $111 million in Individual Mitigation Measures grants paid to 14,800 homeowners through the Road Home program.
Total recovery dollars for mitigation paid directly to homeowners in Louisiana to protect their homes from future damage now tops $1.36 billion.
The Disaster Recovery Unit within the Office of Community Development is dedicated to helping Louisiana's citizens recover from hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike. As the state's central point for hurricane recovery, the OCD-DRU manages the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history, working closely with local, state and federal partners to ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before.