PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A KOIN 6 News investigation went looking for answers about a man who does appliance repair, electrical work and installs air conditioning and heating systems — all without the required license. The state of Oregon calls him a “habitual offender” and, despite having been busted 6 times, he hasn’t stopped.
His name is Kevin Glen Whiting. He’s done work at Diane Greene’s house in Coos Bay.
“I want to show you the two heaters I have. Neither one works,” she told KOIN 6 News.
Whiting was supposed to replace the heat pump at her home.
“He said, ‘I’m doing this as a thank you to all the veterans for serving our country,'” said Greene.
The veteran: Her father, 85-year-old Tom Greene.
“I’d like to punch him in the mouth,” he said.
Tom has been spending his second winter in one room next to a space heater because the main heat in their house hasn’t worked for a year. The system went out just days after Tom lost his wife, who died unexpectedly on Christmas Day 2018.
In January 2019, a veteran group arranged to have Whiting fix the Greenes’ heating system but the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB), which regulates contractors, said he installed a unit that doesn’t work and Whiting took about $5,000 from the Greenes.
“The temperatures in the house got down to the 40s, just for months,” said Diane Greene. “For months we were just so cold. You ever have rolling chills? We had rolling chills.”
The Greene’s heating system still does not work, and there is an active GoFundMe campaign to help the Greenes afford a new heat pump.
“Because he’s caused a lot of damage to a lot of people,” said Stan Jessup of the CCB.
The CCB says it has fined Whiting six times — fines Whiting has never paid. After interest, Whiting owes the state $22,939.41 for working without a license.
The CCB said Whiting has worked under multiple company names, including Apex Appliance Repair, Premier Appliance and Refrigeration, Willamette Appliance Service, Mid Valley Appliance Service, Mid Willamette Refrigeration and Appliance, Willamette Refrigeration, Lane Appliance Service, Premier Comfort Heating and Air Conditioning, Willamette Appliance, and Quality Appliance Repair.
The CCB says Whiting did some of the work under a contractor’s license obtained by his girlfriend.
The CCB eventually fined her and removed her contractor’s license.
Jeanette Graff hired Whiting to do electrical and heating work at a rental in Eugene.
“Within a week, my tenants were calling to say the heat pump wasn’t working,” said Graff. “I called him and said I need you to come back and he said I’ll be over tomorrow. Well, tomorrow never came. I texted him and texted him.”
Carri Brown hired him in Corvallis to repair her oven and said she paid him upfront.
“The part he ordered wasn’t the right one,” said Brown. “Next week came and gone, never heard from him.”
Each said they tried to get Whiting to make good.
Brown said her home surveillance video showed Whiting eventually returning $313 for the oven part.
The CCB later issued two $5,000 fines against Whiting for working without a license in both Brown and Graff’s cases.
The CCB warns, “Whiting performs extremely dangerous electrical installations that he’s not qualified to perform.”
“One of the things this guy does is get a large deposit,” said Jessup. “Then, if he’s bringing out equipment, he’s getting it out of a junkyard and then disappearing. I’m not aware of him ever completing a job.”
Looking for answers
In addition to CCB disciplinary action, court records show six lawsuits filed against Whiting by customers.
When asked why Whiting wasn’t in jail, Jessup responded, “Well, that becomes a criminal matter for the district attorneys. The limit of our jurisdiction is we can issue civil penalties. Working without a license is a misdemeanor, but as we know, DAs have a lot bigger crimes to follow than misdemeanors.”
In early December 2019, KOIN 6 News’ Dan Tilkin attempted to call Whiting. He also went to his home in Corvallis, but he wasn’t home. In a text, Tilkin said, “Call me so we can set up an interview soon.”
Whiting replied, “I will call you in the morning.”
But he never heard back.
Earlier this month, Tilkin went back to Whiting’s house in Corvallis. He came out of his front door, but then went back inside. A few hours later, Tilkin tried again. The person inside didn’t come to the door. Tilkin tried calling as well. Minutes after Tilkin left, Whiting sent a text message that read, “Leave the premises. You are harassing me.”
A few days later, Tilkin heard from Dan Uselton and Ruth Lazott. Whiting had worked on their refrigerator.
“I said, ‘I want you to refund my $549 or I want it fixed,'” recalled Lazott.
They invited KOIN 6 News to ask Whiting questions at their Keizer home after they heard about his track record. Tilkin asked Whiting why he kept working without a license and what he had to say for himself.
“All I can say is I have taken care of a lot of people. I make sure I do,” said Whiting.
The CCB says Whiting and other appliance repairmen are allowed to work on stand-alone appliances like the Keizer couple’s refrigerator, but not allowed to work on hard-wired appliances like Brown’s oven.
Always get a recommendation from a friend when you’re hiring a contractor. Check to see if they have a license in good standing.
You can call the CCB and ask to have older records searched or click here to search for active licenses.
The CCB suggests customers also file complaints with the State Attorney General’s Office.