As Devon mentioned, I was in the Midwest for two days last week trying to help a couple straighten out a rats nest created by a “contractor” who is simply a con artist.

Normally, I do most of our expert witness work on the side of contractors to help alleviate problems with home or building owners. However, when I find a contractor that has been dishonest with an owner, I will go after them with every tool I have to put them out of business. These clowns give every one of us a bad name.

When the owners requested bids from other contractors, this guy found out who the other contractors were, called and told them not to bother to put in a bid, he already had the job.

When the owner decided to proceed with this contractor, he did not use a written contract, but insisted a verbal T & M contract was OK. Job started, he didn’t follow the plans, cut corners wherever he could, and did average work at best. Worse still was the fact he told them he would only charge 12.5% over his cost to cover his overhead and profit. Then he promptly billed them for several items with a markup of 250% to over 300%. I don’t know what this guy was thinking but he wasn’t very smart. It was very easy for the owners to prove these overcharges by simply getting copies of the original invoices from the city and the suppliers, which they did.

Honesty isn’t the best policy for you and your company; it should be your only policy. This so-called contractor is going to have criminal charges filed against him for any number of things including fraud, theft (removing owners materials) from the job site, violating state and federal laws, and who knows what else. A complaint has been filed with the local district attorney’s office, who agrees that the owners have a very good case.

There is no question about how honest you should be. If you can’t operate with honesty and complete candor toward your customers, you are headed down the wrong path.

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