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Orange Building Firm's License Suspended : Contractors: Gotech is temporarily barred from construction. It has a long history of consumer complaints.

October 15, 1993|JOHN O'DELL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ORANGE — State officials have temporarily suspended the license an Orange custom-home building company after it missed a deadline to obtain a qualified contractor to serve as its legally responsible license holder.

The suspension of Gotech Builders Inc.'s license by the Contractors State License Board could last several weeks while the application submitted this week by the company is processed. It bars Orange-based Gotech from doing construction work and from advertising, soliciting or signing contractors with new clients.

Officials at Gotech, which does a large volume of business in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties, did not respond Thursday to a request for comment. The company's long history of consumer complaints, lawsuits and judgments was detailed by The Times in a Sept. 19 article.

In addition to the suspension, Gotech's license is threatened by a pending misrepresentation accusation filed against company President Jeffrey Weiner by the state attorney general's office.

The accusation alleges that Weiner--who removed his name from Gotech's license several years ago--falsely stated on an earlier contractor's license application that there were no outstanding suits or judgments against his company.

No hearing has yet been scheduled in that matter.

Weiner has said that the large number of complaints against his company is normal for a high-volume builder. He also said the state's accusation resulted from a misunderstanding, and that he had not attempted to deliberately mislead authorities.

A month ago, The Times published articles about Gotech as a case study of loopholes in the state regulatory system that prevented consumers from learning the full record of a contractor's performance. The stories helped spur the Assembly's Consumer Protection Committee to tackle the license board. In a report issued last week, the committee staff said the license board had abandoned its legally mandated role as a consumer watchdog agency.

In a daylong public hearing in Sacramento last week, a dozen consumers testified about inadequacies in the regulatory system. The next day the contractors license board said it was abandoning its policy of ignoring complaints against contractors who used private arbitration to settle disputes with their customers.

The board also said it would make more information available to consumers about complaints, judgments and administrative actions against contractors.

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