|These are comments concerning the official minutes of the meeting November 7, 2001, of the Teller County Board of Review. Some comments refer to omissions in the minutes. Some are corrections. Some refer to the participants.|
First, the Board of Review appears to be composed of
contractors who, because of experience, etc, have been
selected to oversee the licensing process in Teller County.
These individuals have the expertise to determine who is
qualified and who is not as far as being licensed in the
county. And, from what we saw in the portion of the meeting
preceding the NorthStar hearing, they do a very good job.
But, the Board of Review also has the responsibility of disciplining errant contractors. This presents a conflict of emotions for some of the members of the board. Much like a trial where the defendant is accused of driving drunk, many of the jury feel a displaced compassion for the defendant. Their reasoning is along the lines of been there, done that, wasn't caught. And, that could be me up there. Many perfectly honest and dependable contractors find themselves faced with unreasonable and unfounded accusations from disgruntled homeowners. This creates an automatic reflex reaction in those contractors. This reflex is an immediate rejection of consumers complaints based upon their experiences. This reflex was apparent more than once during the hearing. It was very obvious is the mannerisms and comments of Kurt Riggle.
One of the objections stated by the board members during the hearing was the lack of evidence. Barbara Robbins walked into that hearing with a sheaf of folders about a foot thick. Not once did she delve into her copious documentation to produce a single bit of paper to support anything she said or to refute any accusations made against her. The board pointedly overlooked that verbal testimony is evidence. When person after person steps forward and makes the same complaint, the reviewing authority must accept it as evidence unless someone can prove otherwise. Considering the magnitude of complaints, and with the defendant having three months in which to prepare for the hearing, for her not to produce a single document to refute any of the complaints is evidence of the fact that she has none to produce. Considering the severity of the consequences facing her, and having copies of every complaint made, for Barbara Robbins to fail to produce evidence showing any of the complaints were untrue, is absolute evidence that she cannot produce that evidence. She is lying. She always lies.
The minutes omitted Ted Dura's solid point where he stated that the board was very concerned with a wide range of issues about applicants before they received a license. Why wasn't the board concerned about those same issues after the persons had received their licenses? No jurisdiction was the response. Not really. There is nothing in the rules that says the board cannot take into consideration those issues. They hide behind the "no civil matters" rule when it is to their advantage. While they do not have the authority to rule upon issues that more properly should be decided in a courtroom, the re-occurring theme of failure to perform should be a major concern for them. They cannot simply brush it aside without controversy.
Also omitted from the minutes was the statement made by M James Zendejas, the attorney for Northstar, that he had called the county's attorney the day before and requested information about the hearing and the charges. He specifically requested copies of the complaints. There were two major problems with this admission by Zendejas. One, if Barbara Robbins, who knew of the hearing back in August, waited until the last minute to retain Zendejas, she was plain stupid. That gave him no time to prepare. Two, if Barbara did not wait, but in fact retained Zendejas earlier, it makes him look ineffective and incompetent, as it gave him no time to prepare. In any event, Barbara had copies of the complaints and already knew the issues.
It would appear that the meeting by the Board of Review would be interested in the facts and a solution to the problems. The one glaring exception to this was the actions and comments by Ric Radeke. He seemed to be more interested in covering his ass than the problems being discussed. Considering that he was one of the individuals involved in the postponement of the hearing from October, and the intense dialogs that followed that ill-fated decision, you would have thought he would have been better prepared for the meeting. Several times he seems lost in his pile of paperwork, muttering apologies for the lack of paperwork, and feigning ignorance to many of the questions posed.
Barbara Robbins stated that she was not aware that a state issued license, the one for White Water Drilling, was not good in Teller County. Barbara Robbins received her contractor's license in 1998. Supposedly, she had several years experience prior to getting this license. What she was admitting was that after over five years as a contractor she didn't know her job. The point was made to the board that as a contractor, she was supposed to know these fundamental things. That was omitted from the minutes.
One mistake in the minutes was the reference to NorthStar doing business under the name of NorthStar Design & Construction, LLC, when the name actually belonged to another party. They did business as NorthStar Design & Construction, LLC, but it was not a registerd LLC. The name in question was NorthStar Construction, not NorthStar Design & Construction. The response from Barbara Robbins, through her attorney, was that she added LLC to the end of the name, NorthStar Construction, so it wouldn't be confused with the other NorthStar Construction. She also claimed she had their permission to use the name. She also claimed that being an LLC was no big deal.
All in all, the board did a good job. What is lacking is a better job from the head of the building department. Had he done a better job, this hearing would never had been necessary.