Cedar Lake, Wheatfield contractors under fire in Hobart

2013-05-22T22:30:00Z 2013-06-14T14:03:05Z Cedar Lake, Wheatfield contractors under fire in HobartDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | A Cedar Lake contractor faces $4,000 in fines unless he corrects mistakes made while constructing a homeowner's retaining wall.

The Hobart Contractor's Licensing Board made the ruling after listening to a complaint filed by residents Dora and Jim Reynolds, of the 1000 block of Lake George.

Dora Reynolds said she paid about $10,000 to contractor Mike Bultema of Courtyard Services for landscaping work, including improvements to a retaining wall next to the driveway.

Bultema did not attend the meeting.

The retaining wall, which was completed in mid-September, collapsed in April after a rainstorm, she said.

"I heard a boom and went outside and the entire wall was in the driveway," Dora Reynolds said.

She said she asked the contractor to come to her house and check out what had occurred and he told her it was "an act of God."

"He told me he would give me a break on the price to fix it when I turned it into insurance. ... I've not heard from him since," she said.

City Engineer Phil Gralik said there were several problems with the retaining wall, including no drainage tile.

In addition, officials determined Bultema didn't have a license to work in Hobart and hadn't applied for a work permit.

The board agreed to waive fees if Bultema returns to make repairs to the retaining wall within 60 days and if he applies for a permit and licensing with the city.

Board member George Rainey told the Reynolds that problems could have been avoided if they would have gone to the city first.

"Come to City Hall and they'll give you a list of licensed contractors who are fully bonded," Rainey said.

In other business, the board also agreed to waive hundreds of dollars in fines faced by Wheatfield contractor Julio Rivera if he completes heating and air-conditioning work at a home in the 500 block of North Union Street.

The board told Rivera he also must become licensed in the city and apply for permits.

The board tabled action on David Ferner, president of Alligator Home Improvements, pending input from City Attorney Anthony DeBonis, who wasn't at the meeting.

Ferner late last year was charged in Lake County court with theft, attempted theft and home improvement fraud after receiving money to do work at two homes but failing to do so.

One house was in the 2100 block of West Third Street and another was in the 2700 block of West 65th Place.

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