A building contractor based in Caldwell took more than $150,000 from at least two homeowners for home remodels and other projects, but didn’t actually do the work, according to the Idaho Contractors Board.
That’s why, on Aug. 9, the board revoked contractor Brown and Sons’ registration.
State records show the company had four owners: Donald and Alfreda Brown, and Joy and Rojelio Lujan. The board did not distinguish which owners were responsible for the alleged misdeeds.
The company has been sued several times since 2016. The company and/or owner Rojelio Lujan were ordered to pay about $120,000 in those cases.
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None of the owners could be reached for comment. The business phone number was disconnected, and no one responded Friday to a message from the Statesman to the company’s email address.
Contractors in Idaho have to register with the state board in order to legally perform their work.
Several homeowners who hired Brown and Sons had filed complaints, according to disciplinary documents.
The largest complaint in terms of money involved came from Christine Peters, who hired Brown and Sons in 2014 to do an extensive remodel on her house in Kuna. The project included bathroom and kitchen remodels, a new heated-floor system, landscaping, plumbing, wood-floor refinishing, building a metal shed and other work.
Between March 2014 and February 2015, Peters paid $142,385 — most of the remodel’s total $182,470 estimated cost. The company never started a second bathroom remodel she’d ordered and left the first bathroom unfinished.
The company also didn’t install the heated-floor system, build the shed or remodel the kitchen — tasks that were supposed to comprise $136,297 of the total project. Peters told the Statesman she asked Rojelio Lujan for the kitchen-remodel plans he had promised. When the plans never materialized, “that’s when I thought, ‘OK, I’ve got a problem here.’”
The work Brown and Sons did complete was very high quality, she said.
Peters demanded a full refund, which Lujan refused. She later sued and won a $90,000 judgment against him, dismissing the company and its other owners from litigation.
She hasn’t seen “a penny” of that judgment, she said.
Despite its registration expiring in February 2016, Brown continued to hold itself out as a contractor and signed on to at least two construction projects. In one of those cases, Brown never installed an $18,830 metal roof for a Nampa homeowner after taking a down payment of $9,415. Rojelio Lujan did not respond to phone calls and text messages from the homeowner, who then sued and won a $11,161 judgment.
The board on June 6 filed a complaint against Brown and Sons, sending a copy to the Caldwell home of Donald Brown.
A few weeks later, the board followed up with a warning letter that Brown and Sons had a week to respond or it would default — tantamount to admitting the allegations.
The board’s lawyer issued a default order on July 13. Along with a permanent ban on practicing as a contractor in Idaho, the board fined the company $8,000.
The company has been registered with the state since at least 2007. It already was disciplined by the board once before, in January 2014. Brown and Sons at that time admitted it failed to meet the “standard of care” for contractors, admitted to using an unregistered subcontractor, and admitted to not giving disclosures to homeowners. The company agreed to serve two years’ probation, pay a $1,500 fine and reimburse the board $2,000 for investigative and legal costs.