The state Licensing Board for Contractors ratified fines of nearly $414,000 on Thursday against a Livingston builder and his related companies, a board attorney said.
Kris Clark and one of his companies, L.A.A.K.E. Quality Homes, pleaded no contest in July to charges that he or his company were involved in building nearly $4.1 million worth of homes in four Baton Rouge-area parishes without a contractor’s license, according to board correspondence.
Clark and L.A.A.K.E. did not contest the allegation they were using another contractor’s then-valid license without permission in those parishes.
The homes Clark was involved with — 17 in all — are in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Tangipahoa and West Baton Rouge parishes, records show.
Board attorney Stephanie Laborde said the board fined L.A.A.K.E. and Clark $250,247.
Online state business records list Clark as the owner of L.A.A.K.E.
Separately, the board fined Clark, his former partner, Matt Bordelon, and their company, Sights, another $163,732, Laborde said.
The board has the power to assess civil fines up to 10 per-cent of the value of the total contracts being performed.
Combined, the fines involving Clark amount to $413,979, Laborde said.
L.A.A.K.E. and Clark agreed last month to court orders sought by the board in Ascension and East and West Baton Rouge parishes to stop work on additional homes.
Laborde said additional charges are being investigated in those cases.
The board also found on Thursday that Two SD — the company sometimes listed on building permits that held a valid license at the time — was in violation of the state contractor licensing law.
The board fined the Two SD firm $1,000 for each violation for a total of $10,500, Laborde said.
Laborde said Clark contended in a hearing early this month that he believed all the separate companies caught up in the board allegations were part of one enterprise and his actions were legal as long as they operated under Two SD’s license.
Laborde said the law requires all the activities be done in the name of the company with the license.
She noted, for example, that billboards advertised hiring the Sights company for home construction work, although Two SD had the license, which has since lapsed.
The licensing board backed the maximum fines after the hearing earlier this month and, Thursday, both ratified the ruling.
John Seago, attorney for Clark and L.A.A.K.E., said Clark believed he was doing what was proper and had a verbal agreement to use Two SD’s license to build homes.
Seago said Clark accepted responsibility for the mistake in July, but sought to lessen the fine during the hearing earlier this month.
He said the board wanted a written agreement between Clark and Two SD.
Matt Bordelon, owner of Two SD, has said Clark was not a partner with him in that company, but was a partner in a separate company.
Jarrett Ambeau, Bordelon’s attorney, said his client actually reported to the board that Clark was using Two SD’s license without his knowledge.
Ambeau said his client is planning to appeal his fine.
Seago said Clark has not decided whether to ask the board to reconsider its ruling.