4 Investigates: Operation finds 34 unlicensed contractors in NM | KOB 4
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4 Investigates: Operation finds 34 unlicensed contractors in NM

Nathan O'Neal
June 27, 2019 06:33 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A three-week-long sting helped state investigators track down 34 unlicensed contractors in New Mexico.

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The initiative is the first time the state has held this kind of operation. New Mexico joined 10 other states and the District of Columbia to ramp up enforcement. The operation started out as a social media sting to help identify offenders but it opened the floodgates to all sorts of other problems.

“What we’re finding is that they may be misleading the public,” said Amanda Roybal who is the investigation and enforcement manager for New Mexico’s Construction Industries Division.

“We had a variety of cases… everything from  someone advertising on their truck where we got handymen who can do it all… to bids that were turned into us improperly for major projects,” said Roybal.

For example, one criminal complaint names James Kelly – an executive of the San Diego-based company Clear Blue Energy Corp. was recently charged with three misdemeanors.

The complaint says the company was not licensed in New Mexico when it submitted a bid to the Silver City School District for $204,000. The company was initially hired to do electrical work, including retrofitting LED lighting.

The facilities manager for the school district told 4 Investigates on the phone that at the time, the district was under the assumption that the company was licensed in New Mexico.

When contacted for comment, Paul Santina who is the CEO of Clear Blue Energy Corp. said in an email “we are unaware of any criminal complaints against us in New Mexico or anywhere else for that matter.” No further comment was provided.

However, state officials say it’s important that contractors are license when submitting bids, in part, because of the discrepancies in building codes from state to state.

“There are so many layers to licensing that protect the public. They protect the schools -- it's real important and that's why we require a license before you bid,” said Roybal.

CRIMINAL COMPLAINTS

So far, seven criminal complaints have been issued for the 34 unlicensed contractors identified as part of this operation. The other cases remain under investigation and charges are pending.

SILVER CITY, NEW MEXICO

  • JAMES KELLY, COO for Clear Blue Energy Corp. – According to the criminal complaint, the company Clear Blue Energy Corp. submitted a bid proposal to perform electrical work including retrofitting LED lighting for the Silver City School District. According to inspectors for the Construction Industries Division, the company did not have a valid contractor’s license in New Mexico.

DIXON, NEW MEXICO

  • RICHARD ROMERO – According to the criminal complaint, Romero submitted a bid to perform construction work for Dixon Cooperative Market which included remodeling the cover over the front porch. The bid totaled $22,331 and state officials say Romero did not have a valid contracting license. The victim claimed the work was not completed, the work was poor quality and materials were missing.

ALAMOGORDO, NEW MEXICO

  • DANIEL FAMBROUGH – According to the criminal complaint, in April 2018 Fambrough was hired to increase the height of a cinder block wall around a residence in Alamogordo for a total of $3,100. The victim claims some work was done but not complete. State officials say Fambrough conducted the work without a valid contractor’s license.

ALAMOGORDO, NEW MEXICO

  • JOSHUA CHILES – According to the criminal complaint, in August 2018 Chiles was hired by the victim in Alamogordo to re-roof the porch of a residence for a total of $4,600. The victim claims Chiles did not complete the work nor return any money paid. State officials say Chiles does not have a valid contractor’s license in New Mexico.

ALAMOGORDO, NEW MEXICO

  • EDGAR TORRES – According to the criminal complaint, Torres worked as a contractor without a required license. In April, 2018 authorities say Torres was paid $2,544 to install a new flat roof at the victim’s residence. The victim claims the roof still experienced leaks after a rainstorm and attempts to get Torres to get the work fixed were unsuccessful.

ANGEL FIRE, NEW MEXICO

  • AUGUSTINE MARTINEZ – According to the criminal complaint, in June 2018 Martinez was not a licensed contractor when he submitted a bid to conduct construction work for a resident in the City of Angel Fire. The bid totaled $41,000 and total payments made to Martinez totaled $12,240.

SILVER CITY, NEW MEXICO

  • ROLAND MADRID – According to the criminal complaint, in December 2018 Madrid was hired to remove and rebuild a deck at a local residence in Silver City, New Mexico. State officials say Madrid was not properly licensed to conduct contract work at the time.

Credits

Nathan O'Neal

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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