‘Muddy, gooey mess’: KOIN 6 investigates unlicensed contractor’s work

Special Reports

Local woman lost thousands in botched driveway project

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Mary Reif wanted to make life more comfortable caring for her developmentally disabled nephew at her home in Marion County. However, she said the original contractor hired to help make her surroundings more accessible only made matters worse.

According to Reif, contractor Bobby Reyes broke a section of her driveway, cut off six inches of her front porch and excavated areas that did not need any work at all.

“It’s just a muddy, gooey mess,” she told KOIN 6 News. Reif added that the contractor set the forms for the cement foundation too wide, meaning she was forced to reorder floor joists and trusses for the roof. “I said, ‘you need to give me this money back.’ Fourteen-thousand dollars is a lot of money to me.”

When Reif insisted she be refunded, Reyes responded with nasty texts calling her four-letter words.

It wasn’t until she complained to the Oregon Construction Contractors Board that she found out Reyes has never had a contractor’s license. Reyes’ colleague on the project, Jo Ann Bustinza, had her license suspended in December 2017, according to public documents.

GoFundMe for Mary Reif

The CCB’s enforcement program manager Stan Jessup said Bustinza had a contractors license under the name KingKongCrete. Further CCB records showed Bustinza has $33,877 in unpaid debt — money owed to homeowners in response to CCB complaints. She also has $12,273 in state enforcement debt, which are CCB issued penalties for violating contracting regulations.

Both Bustinza and Reyes as a partnership have another $10,000 fines for working without a license, according to CCB.

Jessup said his state agency has not been able to stop the couple from doing contracting work because the CCB has limited enforcement powers.

“It’s a Class A misdemeanor to work without a license,” Jessup told us. “But, not too many [district attorneys] are going to chase after a misdemeanor.”

After unsuccessful attempts to reach the pair, KOIN 6 went to their house in West Salem. Our crew saw Reyes get in his truck and leave before he could be reached. When we went to the door, no one answered. Reyes did not return any calls or texts KOIN 6 left with him.

Protecting yourself

Always get a recommendation from a friend when you’re hiring a contractor. ​Check to see if they have a license in good standing.

Report an unlicensed contractor in Oregon

Report an unlicensed contractor in Washington

You can call the Oregon CCB and ask to have older records searched or click here to search for active licenses.

You can search for Washington Contractors here: Verify a Contractor, Tradesperson or Business (wa.gov)

The CCB suggests customers also file complaints with the State Attorney General’s Office.

File a complaint in Oregon

File a complaint in Washington

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