Louisiana will not revoke 84 Lumber’s contractor’s license in the state because of the way it handled federal contracts to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Instead, the company will be placed on probation for one year.

The Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors could have stopped 84 Lumber from doing business in the state, according to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Instead, it will require the company to provide monthly progress reports on its projects there. 84 Lumber will also end its National Corporate Install Program, which led to problems with bonding and insurance for two minority contractors.

“As part of the settlement, 84 Lumber will no longer provide assistance to upstream contractors or subcontractors in obtaining performance bonds in the future,” Murphy Foster, general counsel for the Board for Contractors, told the Post-Gazette. “It was a negotiated resolution in which 84 Lumber offered the terms, and the matter was dismissed.”

Addie Mills, former owner of J&A Construction Management Resources in Gonzales, La., had received contracts totaling $7.3 million through FEMA in 2010-2011 to rebuild an elementary school in New Orleans and a high school in Port Sulphur, La. Maurice Hurst, owner of The Olympic Group in Metairie, La.,  got a $1.2 million contract to rebuild the Paincourtville Fire Department.

According to the Advocate of Baton Rouge, 84 Lumber had reached agreements with The Olympic Group and J&A Construction Management Resources to help the contractors secure bonds needed to guaranteed the jobs. Murphy Foster, an attorney for the State Licensing Board for Contractors, said 84 Lumber acted like a “bond shark” and charged J&A much more than the lumber company paid for the legal documents.

Hurst and Mills told the newspaper that they think 84 Lumber got off easy.

“They don’t get nothing. I got three years’ probation because the bond they supplied me was bogus,” Hurst told the newspaper. “And the fact that they didn’t do the work got me thrown off the job.”

 

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