3 ON YOUR SIDE: Is your repair contractor licensed? - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

3 ON YOUR SIDE: Is your repair contractor licensed?

By Cheryl Lasseter - bio | email

YAZOO CITY, MS (WLBT) - The Mississippi Board of Contractors is on foot in tornado-stricken areas of Mississippi, approaching repair crews, asking about the nature of their work, and whether they're licensed to do the work.

"The law says if it's over $10,000 (the contractor must be licensed).  Just check them, see if these guys are licensed.  If not, contact City Hall, call the permit office, call the Sheriff's Department," says John Sullivan, Executive Director of the State Board of Contractors. 

It's tricky business.  Sullivan questioned Todd Yarbrough of BRV Equipment Company about the debris removal work he's doing in Yazoo City. 

"Just this little lot is all we're doing.  We're mainly railroad construction contractors," Yarbrough tells us.

Yarbrough told Sullivan he was licensed, but Sullivan checked and found out he's licensed for something other than home repair work.  That's fine if the work he's doing totals less than $10,000.

Then, Sullivan approached a house next door.

The company's owner, Jerry Dunn, wasn't there at the time, but his workers were pretty sure he was licensed.

Turns out, he's not.

Sullivan first spoke to Dunn on his cell phone.

"Mr. Dunn, we'll issue you a complaint and require you to come before the board when we meet on July 7, and answer questions as to why you think you can do a construction remodeling job over $10,000 without a license," Sullivan explained to him.  Dunn had told Sullivan the work would amount to about $30,000.

After that phone conversation, Dunn came to the work site. We asked him why he was performing the work without a license.

"Because these people are in a bind.  They need help," he says. "I'm semi retired.  I'm not gonna get a license just to help these people out."

Sullivan did not recommend that Dunn stop work on the home.  The Mississippi Board of Contractors does not have the authority to stop work on a site.

To check if a contractor is licensed, call the Board of Contractors at 1-800-880-6161.

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