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4th dist. Council Candidate John Watkins' CA Contractors License Was Revoked in 1996 By Contractors State License Board Citing These Grounds; We Ask Him About This And He Tells Us...

(March 19, 2012, 5:20 p.m.) -- John Watkins, whose campaign for LB's 4th district City Council seat cites his ownership of a construction company and home building activities, had his CA contractor's license revoked by Contractors State License Board in 1996 and the agency's website lists the license for J R Construction as currently revoked.

Mr. Watkins' official ballot statement tells voters in part: "I also own a construction company and have built many homes in Long Beach. You learn a lot about jobs and the economy by signing the front of a paycheck."

The LB Area Chamber of Commerce political action committee [conducting an independent expenditure campaign supporting Mr. Watkins] has told voters that Mr. Watkins has been a builder and small business owner for several years.

Entering the name "John Watkins" on the Contractor's State License Board website turned up over 100 names, including John R. Watkins in connection with Lakewood, CA based J. R. Construction. A few more clicks on the Contractor's License Detail (complaint disclosure) indicates its license status was "revoked" with a date of March 29, 1996 citing the following violations of CA's Business and Professions Code.

Business & Professions Code 7109 Departure from trade standards, plans or specs
Business & Professions Code 7113 Exceeded contract amount
Business & Professions Code 7115 Failed to comply with Contractor's License Law
Business & Professions Code 7116 Wilful or fraudulent act
Business & Professions Code 7121.5 Qualifier prohibited against association

To view this listing from its source, click here.

The items cited above are civil, not criminal. They were handled by the Contractors State License Board in an administrative proceeding in which the state agency was the Complainant and was represented by the state Attorney General's office. Through the state Attorney General's office, the Contractors State License Board filed an Accusation (a legal pleading listing allegations) naming J.R. Construction and its owner, Mr. Watkins, as Respondent, stemming from work performed at a Los Alamitos residence.

LBReport.com contacted Mr. Watkins by email last night (Mar. 18), asked to speak with him about the J.R. Construction matter and he agreed to do so and did so this morning (Mar. 19).

Mr. Watkins noted that the matter occurred roughly twenty years ago and said he was speaking from memory without the legal paperwork before him. In that context, he described what took place as follows: he had a job in Rossmoor which was probably 90% done when issues arose; an arbitrator was brought in; he and the homeowner couldn't agree on the finished product so he [Watkins] walked away from the job; the homeowner went to the Contractors State License Board "and I financially couldn't fight it, so I just walked away from it, that's it, no story. There was never any legal litigation. There was never any lawsuits...I never owed anybody money in the project. It was just something I walked away from, and I walked away from my license back then."

Mr. Watkins acknowledged that he hasn't been a licensed contractor since the early 1990s [we believe it was mid-1990s] and said "I've been doing owner-builders and I work for people hourly." That led us ask about his official ballot statement in which he says he owns a construction company. So...does he own a construction company now?

"In Idaho, absolutely...I'm a developer. I built a gated community, homes, you don't need to have a licensed contractor. I'm a builder."

In his official ballot statement he says he owns a construction company. Is that true? "That is true, absolutely. I'm a builder. My construction company builds in Idaho...I'm a builder. I'm a contractor up there."

So in addition to his pension as a retired LBPD Sergeant, what does he do for a living? Mr. Watkins said he's a "builder-developer that did a development up in northern Idaho," and works for Special Olympics part time as a fundraiser [for which he said he's paid] and also does handyman work for people locally.

Mr. Watkins said [speaking about what he used to do] "every two years my wife and I used to flip homes; we buy homes here in Los Altos. We buy the homes; we build 'em, sell 'em...Until about five years ago we used to build, which you don't need to be a licensed contractor but you have to be a homeowner-builder to this so I've been building home in Long Beach ever since as an owner-builder."

He added later, "I am a builder. I can take you by ten homes in Los Altos which I have probably bought and turned over as an owner-builder...I bought homes, I tore 'em to the ground, built homes, turn around the sell 'em, and that's something I've done since...the late 80s...."

Further to follow on LBReport.com.

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