Worst Sacramento Contactors of 2012
Khalid Wilson | Oakland, Calif.
Khalid Wilson, who’s wanted on $138,500 in outstanding arrest warrants issued in Alameda and Contra Costa counties — the latter of which borders the southern tip of Sacramento County – earned a spot on the California Contractors State License Board’s “most wanted” list in 2012. CSLB spokeswoman Melanie Bedwell says Wilson, who operates as First Impressions Painting & Decorating, remained at large in January.
On its website, the CSLB describes Wilson as a “serial offender,” who’s wanted on warrants for fraudulent use of a contractor license, grand theft, soliciting excessive down payments, contracting without a license, illegal advertising and violating probation by failure to appear in court and make restitution.
Oakland, Calif., homeowner Diane Stone says she first encountered Wilson in a store parking lot in August 2011 as he solicited work from passersby while placing his business card on parked cars. “We chatted, and I liked the way he talked about painting,” she says. After hiring Wilson and paying him $4,200 to paint her home, Stone admits it took awhile to realize something was amiss. “He’d hire one painter off Craigslist who would work for a day, then a different painter would show up the next,” she says. “I started talking with them and realized they weren’t getting paid. I thought it was a crappy job and fired him.”
The CSLB says Wilson takes excessive down payments, and then does substandard and incomplete work. Records show the state agency revoked his license in 2004 after he failed to pay a license bond claim. According to the CSLB, Wilson pleaded no contest to fraudulent use of a contractor’s license number and contracting without a license in Alameda County in September 2008, and guilty to the same charges in Contra Costa County in December 2008. He was sentenced to eight months in jail and ordered to pay $27,708 in restitution, according to an Alameda County court employee.
He also produced a publication called “First Impressions Home Improvement Guide,” the CSLB says, but the most current issue available online is from 2010. Calls to the magazine were not returned.
Bedwell says homeowners should always check the CSLB website to verify contractor licensing before hiring. “You don’t know who you’re allowing into your home when you hire an unlicensed contractor,” she says.
Coleman’s Upholstery | Roseville, Calif.
Angie’s List member Kelly Ayotte of Citrus Heights, Calif., says she needed new stuffing and material for her couch cushions, and hired Coleman’s after finding them in the phone book. “I love my couch,” she says. “I’m disabled and I can’t climb into my bed, so I sleep on my couch — which is why the cushions are flat.”
to be a nice
Ayotte says owner Jerry Coleman required a $500 deposit and told her the cushions would arrive in two weeks. That was in October 2011, and to date Coleman hasn’t delivered her cushions or given her a refund. “I always do my research before I hire someone,” says Ayotte, who joined the List and filed an F review on Coleman’s. “But because he seemed to be a nice older man, I skipped that part. Had I done my research, I would’ve saved myself some headaches.”
Another Angie’s List member complained about the F-rated company’s poor workmanship, and several consumers complained on other websites that Coleman took their money and never did any work. The BBB gives the company an F rating based on six complaints. State records also show he’s not properly licensed. Coleman didn’t return calls seeking comment.
Leo Wheeler | Roseville, Calif.
In April, a judge sentenced Roseville, Calif., contractor Leo Wheeler to four years and three months in prison for defrauding investors in a real estate project. Court documents show Wheeler defrauded 12 residents, most of whom lived in Grass Valley, of hundreds of thousands of dollars by submitting approximately 85 fraudulent invoices for work he claimed he had performed on a 30-lot subdivision known as Creekside Oaks Estates in Lake County.
Records show Wheeler used three fictitious companies, Kenneth Gutman Trucking, SNC Solutions and California Maintenance, to funnel funds to himself and other projects.
Jane Bufkin, a former Grass Valley resident, says her husband, Virgil, never would’ve invested nearly $30,000 in the project if he’d known Wheeler, whom he’d had previous dealings with, was involved. “We were deceived,” says Bufkin, who adds that they were approached by a local broker. Wheeler’s attorney didn’t return calls for comment.