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HAMMOND | A construction company that had its license revoked to work in the city lost an appeal to have it reinstated Monday at a City Council meeting.

Kraz Construction, of Highland, had its license revoked by the city's building contractors board in June over an incident involving a roofing job it sold to a local resident, Hammond building commissioner Kurt Koch said.

Koch said the customer was unhappy with the job and Kraz, as a limited licensed contractor in the city, subcontracted the job out which it had no authority to do.

Eric Neff, an attorney for Kraz, said a monetary settlement was made to the customer but Koch said the settlement was made by the subcontractor, not Kraz.

Koch also said at the contractors board meeting a manager for Kraz questioned the audacity of the board for revoking its license and told the board the city would lose a lot of money from the permits Kraz pulls.

Kraz co-owner Wayne Thunberg said at the meeting that they are a "very service orientated company and we have a very good service record."

Koch said the company can retest for the city license and move to have it reinstated. Thunberg did not indicate what Kraz's next step will be.

In other new the council voted unanimously to bring back the practice of prayer at City Council meetings.

Hammond City Council President Michael Opinker last year halted prayer at meetings following a decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that found prayers at a town council meeting in New York violated the U.S. Constitution's ban on establishing a state religion.

In May the Supreme Court overturned that ruling, stating prayer at local government meetings is constitutionally permissible, even if those prayers regularly favor one religion over others.

Opinker, D-5th, said the council has been having a moment of silence for those to pray following the Pledge of Allegiance and as council president it's his decision to change that or not.

Councilman Anthony Higgs, D-3rd, typically offered a prayer at the meetings and wanted to continue the practice.


Lake County reporter

Rob covers urban affairs and other matters in Crown Point, St. John, Winfield and beyond. Previously he covered Valparaiso, Hammond, Gary and East Chicago. He's also written for various magazines and pens a culture blog for The Times.