Sacramento area's best and worst contractors of 2008
by Conor Lee
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the Sacramento contractors who have earned the distinction of being the Best or Worst in the Sacramento area.
Erin Van Ohlsen likes to be surrounded by love, and it’s the reason behind her company’s name, Agape Painting. “Agape means pure love in Greek,” she says. Ohlsen’s passion for her work is reflected in reviews she receives from Angie’s List members. Sandra Shanks of Davis raves about Ohlsen’s steady hands. “Two colors come together in my kitchen and the line is so straight,” Shanks says. “She didn’t use tape and it’s perfect.”
Ohlsen, who started Agape in 2005, views herself as more than just a painter. “I’m a color consultant,” Ohlsen says. “The house is my canvas.”
When GTL Construction owner Tommy Lewis isn’t zipping around a racetrack, he’s wasting no time helping members like LeRoy Crotteau of Lincoln. “Tommy installed crown molding in several rooms, painted and then touched it up,” Crotteau says. “I was amazed how fast it went up.”
Lewis, who started in the carpentry business 15 years ago, regularly competes in stock-car races. “I have a 1978 Pontiac Firebird,” Lewis says. “It’s exhilarating. It’s like I’m a performer.” While Lewis hasn’t won any races, he’s a winner to his customers who have given him and his wife, Alicia, the office manager, “A” ratings. “Tommy makes sure the job is done right,” says Dora Briscoe-Smith of Roseville.
LC Owens Construction
Although Keith Lidell McGowan lost his contractor’s license in 1996, he apparently continued to do business as LC Owens Construction in the Sacramento region. This past April, investigators with the California Contractors State License Board and Sacramento Police Department caught up with McGowan in Antelope and charged him with felony embezzlement, elder abuse, fraudulent use of another contractor’s license and contracting without a license.
The CSLB says McGowan used another contractor’s license to gain Patsy and Oliver Davis’ trust. The Del Paso Heights couple didn’t realize McGowan was a “two-strike” convicted felon who had served time for a manslaughter charge, and they paid him $253,000 to remodel their home and a rental property. “He even went to church with us,” Patsy says.
Authorities say McGowan abandoned the Davis’ remodeling project after performing $72,000 worth of work. At press time, he had pleaded guilty to the charges and was awaiting sentencing. He could be incarcerated for life under California’s “Three Strikes” penalty. Robert Saria, his attorney, didn’t return calls.
Jonathan Aaron Teague
Last February, investigators with the California Contractors State License Board and the Lincoln Police Department pulled over and arrested Jonathan Aaron Teague, charging him with illegal weapons possession and 26 counts of fraudulent use of a license and contracting without a license.
According to Pamela Mares, CSLB public information officer, Teague “had been under investigation by us for wrongful use of legitimate license numbers.” She estimates that Teague entered into contracts worth more than $141,000 from 21 area homeowners. “He’d take a large down payment and then abandon the project,” she says.
In June, Teague reached a plea argeement with authorities. In exchange for dismissing most of the charges, he pleaded guilty to felony diversion of funds, felony use of another contractor’s license and a misdemeanor for contracting without a license. He was sentenced to 180 days in the Placer County Jail and must pay $9,000 in restitution and fines. Teague couldn’t be reached for comment. His court-appointed defender, Mike Sganga, didn’t return our calls.