San Diego area's best and worst contractors of 2008
by Conor Lee
In addition to our nationwide list, here are the San Diego contractors who have earned the distinction of being the best or worst in the San Diego area.
RC Roofing Inc.
Kathryn Shevelow of Solana Beach knew RC Roofing Inc. was the perfect choice halfway through her roofing project. “A workman poked a triangular window with a ladder,” Shevelow says. “Rick Clark, the owner, got a specialist in stained glass and handled it quickly. He’s a good guy.”
Clark began operating RC Roofing in 1992 and became accustomed to leaving customers like Shevelow satisfied, no matter what the cost. “Sometimes you end up losing money,” Clark says. “But it’s so rewarding.”
That work ethic impressed other members like Teri Cavanagh of Encinitas. “When showers threatened [the project], they worked extra hours,” she says. “They were extremely hard-working.”
C & J Fence Co.
Bill Jungers, owner of C & J Fence Co., landed his first fencing job in 1986 when he was hired by a large firm to put a fence around Richard J. Donovan State Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa. “We put up the biggest and heaviest chain link we could buy,” Jungers says.
He broke out on his own in 2000, and Angie’s List members like Sijia Schrunk of Poway couldn’t be happier. Schrunk was impressed with Jungers’ high-quality results and caring personality. “He gave me great advice on how to keep my new puppy from getting out,” Schrunk says. “He was very nice.”
Jungers expects this response from his customers. “It’s easy to do good work when you love what you do,” he says.
Richard D. Nelson
During the wildfires in January 2007, the San Diego Police Department, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service started an investigation to find unlicensed contractors in the federally declared wildfire disaster zones.
They turned to an unusual source for help: local contractor ads on Craig’s List. “We asked [the suspected unlicensed contractors we found] to come out and put a bid on a wildfire-damaged house,” says San Diego Prosecutor Allan Kessler. At the same time, Kessler says they put up warning posters for unlicensed contractors to stay out of the emergency zones.
That allegedly didn’t stop Richard D. Nelson, who showed up and bid more than $500 to demolish and repair portions of the wildfire-damaged sting home. Authorities charged him with a felony of contracting in an emergency zone without a license.
“After all the publicity this [sting operation] received in the media, a homeowner identified Mr. Nelson as a contractor he’d had trouble with,” Kessler says. “Mr. Nelson contracted with this individual to do a home remodel and problems arose. The homeowner filed an action [with our office] to recover the cost to finish the project.” Kessler wasn’t willing to release the homeowner’s identity as the case, scheduled for a Dec. 18 hearing as this issue went to press, hadn’t gone to trial.
If convicted, Nelson faces a fine of up to $10,000 and up to three years in state prison for contracting in a declared emergency zone. In addition, he could face another six months in prison, a $1,000 fine and any restitution awarded by the court if found guilty of taking the homeowner’s deposit and not performing any home improvement work. Stephanie Slattery, Nelson’s court-appointed attorney, failed to return phone calls seeking comment.