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Homeowners say contractor leaves work unfinished, Jesse Jones investigates

State regulators are calling a contractor a repeat violator of registration laws.  Some of Richard Prevost’s customers say he’s damaged their homes.  Prevost and his wife’s businesses have been dodging regulators for years. They owe the state nearly $200,000 dollars in fines and workers compensation premiums. His cut and run style also has victims wondering why no one can stop him.

Prevost offered to do some tree removal work at Mike Knowles’ Bellevue home.  Knowles said Prevost showed up at his door and offered to complete the work with an upfront payment.

“Besides the $1650 dollars that I paid him, he cost me another $1,800 dollars in cleanup charges and then I’ve got probably another $400 or $500 dollars in repairs that I need to do to various aspects of my yard,” Knowles explained.

Knowles said Prevost agreed to cut down two large trees in his backyard.  Prevost was supposed to cut and pile the limbs.

But sticking to his track record, Prevost didn’t deliver.

“He limbed all the trees. He dropped them to the ground,” Knowles said.  “It looked like a bomb had blown up in {my backyard}.”

Eight months later, Knowles is left with a broken pergola, a busted fence and a dented wallet.

“He never called me back,” Knowles said.

Knowles called Cole Stevens of Canopy Solutions to come clean up Prevost’s mess.

“This marks the fourth time that we’ve actually dealt with this specific company,” Steven explained.  “Companies that do work like this certainly taint our image as an industry.”

Jesse Jameson is an inspector with Labor and Industry.  Jameson said it’s received numerous complaints about Prevost over the years.  The department slapped him with 17 infractions in 9 years.

“The complaints we’ve had over the years, I suspect that’s the tip of the iceberg,” Jameson said.

In fact, Jameson said Prevost shouldn’t be working at all, or passing out his card.

“The card looked legitimate,” Knowles said.  “It had a UBI number on it.”

But that business license number is not registered to Prevost.  And even that business license is expired.  No business license means no insurance through L & I.

“And if one of those people were to be injured while they were here, I would have been on the hook for that,” Knowles said.

I’ve also learned with all of these violations, L and I hasn’t referred Prevost to county prosecutors.

“The challenge here with Mr. Prevost is many of these are low dollar amounts, and they’re in counties that may not take prosecutions,” Jameson explained.  “So the department’s done everything that the statute provides for, which is to issue the infractions.”

Jesse contacted the King County Prosecutors office to let them know about Prevost.  Tree removal and tree trimming is contracting. That means businesses have to be registered.

Bottom line: If someone give you a business card, check their registration number against the L and I website.  And never pay for work upfront in full.

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