Los Angeles area's best and worst contractors of 2008
by Conor Lee
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Los Angeles contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the Los Angeles area.
It’s been steady praise for Hi-Performance Plumbing owner Stephen Hume since starting in 2005. Hi-Performance received Super Service Awards in 2006 and 2007.
Excellence continued in 2008. Member Jeffrey Kern of Palos Verdes Peninsula highlighted Hume’s dedication. “I had problems two months after they fixed a leak,” Kern says. “They came back and didn’t charge.”
Hi-Performance earned 12 Pages of Happiness nominations in 2008. “He worked hard to not let my cat out,” Kern says. “It was very positive.”
For Hume, who volunteers at South Coast Botanical Gardens, positive results are easily achieved. “I love everything I do,” Hume says.
B & J Plastering
Owner Brad Migneault says plaster is in his blood. “My dad was a plasterer,” he says. “I’ve been plastering since 1971.”
B & J Plastering received Super Service Awards for plastering in 2006 and plastering and stucco in 2007.
Hired to restucco a wall for Andy Nieman of Encino, Migneault recommended ways to kill an algae bloom caused by a sprinkler. “He cared about the maintenance of my home,” Nieman says.
B & J received 34 overall “A” reports and 10 Pages of Happiness nominations in 2008. Migneault says he loves what members can’t see. “It always looks like I’ve never been there,” he says.
Victor the Plumber
In June, investigators from the Contractors State License Board posed as homeowners, inviting more than 50 suspected unlicensed contractors to a home in Redondo Beach.
Santos Victorino Membreno, who had an existing CSLB complaint against him for theft from the elderly, was invited to bid on a remodeling job. Authorities say when he bid on the project, they cited him for contracting without a license, illegal advertising and requiring illegally excessive down payments. These are misdemeanor charges.
Now, the financial elder abuse complaint has since evolved into a criminal case carrying 10 felony charges. “He’s facing five counts of theft from an elder and five counts of obtaining money by false pretenses,” says Los Angeles County prosecutor Michael Gargiulo. He declined to give specifics, except to say it was a loss “in excess of $50,000.”
At the time of publication, Membreno was wanted by Los Angeles law enforcement to face his charges.
Dynamic Designs Systems
After contracting with National Guard Sgt. Joe Mendoza to remodel his home while deployed in Iraq, Timothy Shaeffer absconded with $85,000, leaving the Mendoza family with an unfinished home. Shaeffer pleaded guilty to grand theft in July in the Mendoza incident, San Bernardino County prosecutor Jim Secord says, and was allowed out of custody before returning to be sentenced in October. “While he was out of jail he contracted with another victim,” Secord says. “The victim paid Shaeffer $2,600, saw him on the news and called us. When he showed up at the second victim’s home, he was arrested.” Now, Shaeffer’s in prison. “He took a plea bargain,” says Richard LaFanzia, Shaeffer’s public defender. “He’s serving two, two-year sentences concurrently.”