The Oregon Construction Contractors Board has fined an unlicensed home inspector more than $80,000 — with more fines coming — for performing dozens of illegal home inspections in Central and Eastern Oregon, the board announced Wednesday.
Gregory Mason Miller, of Bend, used the CCB license number of another Oregon contractor with a similar name, an invalid inspector’s license number and the business name of a Bend builder to operate as a home inspector, said CCB Enforcement Manager Stan Jessup. The enforcement action against Miller started when the owner of a 5-year-old Bend general contracting firm, Sticks and Stones, started receiving phone calls last year about appointments for home inspections he knew nothing about, Jessup said.
“We got a lot of feedback about this guy doing this, and I talked to CCB about getting this guy to stop using my company’s name,” said Dennis Saylor, the owner of Sticks and Stones, on Wednesday. “We do have a fairly good reputation around here. My biggest concern is that he’s going to ruin that.”
The CCB is the state agency that licenses anyone paid to repair, improve, inspect or build a home.
Miller, contacted by phone Wednesday, admitted doing home inspections while using the contractor’s license number of a Coos Bay general contractor with the same name, and the provisional home-inspector license number attached to the test he failed. Real estate brokers he worked with would have discovered his inspectors’ license is invalid had they checked, he said.
“What blew my mind the most, Realtors never checked into me, never, not once,” he said. “Actually, a couple Realtors knew I was unlicensed and never turned me in.”
Two years ago, Miller incorporated a business in Oregon as Sticks and Stones Certified Home Inspections, a registration he allowed to lapse the following year. On Wednesday, he said clients and real estate brokers reported him three times for fraudulent inspections before CCB acted.
Jessup said the board acted on the first complaint. CCB spokeswoman Cheryl Martinis said Miller’s claim that real estate brokers should have checked his license is on point.
“Our message to everybody is: Check the license,” Martinis said. “It’s very difficult to get the word out. He’s helping us make our point that you’ve got to check the license.”
Miller said the CCB agreed to reduce the fines to about $700 in exchange for his admitting the violations. He also said he was working on obtaining a license and expected to eventually resume doing home inspections.
“People were not calling and complaining about the work,” he said. “I actually did good work.”
Jessup said the board made no agreements with Miller in exchange for him acknowledging his wrongdoing. “There was no agreement, no conversation with him whatever, other than, ‘Hey, you can’t be doing this,’” Jessup said.
Jessup said Miller performed at least 52 home inspections, many in Central Oregon but others in the Columbia Gorge area and in Eastern Oregon. CCB records online show the board filed a final order against Miller in December with eight more filed Friday and seven on Monday.
Miller did not contest the orders Wednesday. “I didn’t make any excuses to them and I’m not about to make any excuses now,” he said.
Jessup said further alleged violations are being processed. “He’s sitting at $80,000, but based on the notices, that could easily rise to $200,000,” Jessup said.
A home inspection as part of a home purchase is not a legal requirement, only an agreement between the buyer and seller, said Dean Owens, deputy commissioner of the Oregon Real Estate Board. A home inspection performed as part of a home purchase usually costs between $400 and $600.
“The buyer can request the home inspection, and they can hire their own inspector to inspect the property,” he said, “but it’s not a requirement for the purchase of a house.”
Jessup said the CCB could refer Miller’s case to the Oregon Department of Justice for prosecution of alleged theft by deception, but the amounts involved are relatively minor. Working as a home inspector without a license is a misdemeanor offense, he said.
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