The Better Flip…More Contractor Problems?

As we told you in our article, Better Flip….pick your “feasance”, enough to go around, the City of Willowick confirmed that most of the contractors that have been working on the Better Flip Project, and which have already been paid for their work, were not registered with the City of Willowick. So what does this mean? Will the contractors have to rip everything they’ve done out and redo it as a registered contractor? What if the work is under ground? Will those contractors have to come back, dig everything up and do it over?

We did a bit of investigating on the contractors that have been paid the lion’s share of the money spent thus far on the project, T. Dowan Concrete and Sewer Contracting and Bristol Services, Inc. We started our due diligence on these contractors with the Secretary of State’s office. What we found is a bit concerning to us. It appears that at some point both contractors were in violation of Ohio Revised Code, Section 5733.20, and as such, the Ohio Secretary of State cancelled the Articles of Incorporation/Certificates of Authority for both companies.

It appears that the cancellation for Bristol Services, Inc. (Bristol Services) occurred on January 4, 2007 and the cancellation for Dowhan Concrete Construction, Inc. (Dowhan Concrete Construction) was cancelled on April 2, 2009 (LFC NOTE: We did a search on T. Dowhan Concrete and Sewer Contracting and T. Dowan Concrete Contracting and nothing came up, so they have not registered with the State of Ohio under those business names. LFC has confirmed that Mr. Templin is still the owner/President of Bristol Services Inc.). So what we are telling you here is this: The contractors hired by Rantala to perform work on the Better Flip Project that did register with the City of Willowick may be operating businesses that are not recognized by the State of Ohio.

As you can see from the above PDFs, the Ohio Secretary of State makes the following notation in Paragraph 3 from each of the notices: “While cancelled, R.C. Section 5733.21 prohibits any person from exercising or attempting to exercise “any powers, privileges, or franchises under the Articles of Incorporation of certificate of authority.”

To put it in layman’s terms…this might be akin to you and your spouse having your driver’s license revoked, one in 2007 and one in 2009, and both of you are still driving on a cancelled, revoked, confiscated (pick one) driver’s license. ORC Section 5733.21 prohibits companies from doing business after cancellation of articles or certificate. (LFC has confirmed with the Secretary of State’s Office that there has never been any documentation submitted to the SOS in an attempt to reinstate either corporation with the Ohio SOS.)

Additionally, we might add, that in order for a cancellation to occur, the corporations would have had to have failed to file their tax reports or paid taxes for three (3) consecutive years prior to the cancellation. Maybe it’s no big deal, so we reached out to the City of Willowick to see if they look into these things when contractors register with them. We are awaiting a reply.

During the October 2018 Board Meeting, Rantala made this statement during his report on the Better Flip Project: “We took the low bidders as we went…” (2018-10-24 Minutes – LCOPEDA). Yet, in his email response to our records request for a detailed financial accounting of the Better Flip Project that took him 40 days to produce, he stated the following: “Please note that none of the contract amounts approach the public bid requirement for Port Authorities.” Okay so did they go out for bid or not, that IS the flipping question. Did they get quotes? Still awaiting production of our records requests.

So did Rantala really take the low bidders as he reported to his Board in October? If he took bids at all, he likely did not take the lowest according to one local contractor as we told you in our article, Better Flip…a contractor’s viewpoint, reproduced here in pertinent part: “I was looking at the expenses for the Flop. They are crazy expensive. For example, the going rate for foundation replacement is $225 per linear foot at a depth of 8′ (basically to prop up a building tear out the basement wall and replace to full height). The typical Willowick bungalow is 28′ X 32′. I am terrible at math, but that adds up to about $27,000 assuming they replaced the foundation in its entirety. Taxpayers spent $77,000 about three times the going rate. I would really like to know who approved that bill and if they had any other quotes?”

So would we “Contractor Anon,” but again we are awaiting records requests that seem to take an eternity to receive.

We cannot assume that the Lake County Commissioners are reading our news articles, so we intend to present our evidence thus far to see if the Commissioners feel like exercising their oversight of this out of control public body headed up by a Board that refuses to manage their employee. This project isn’t just costing the taxpayer a bundle of money…we believe there are real issues with this thing on so many levels. No one we’ve talked to, and there have been many, has been able to wrap their mind around how one gets to nearly $299K on this project when the land and existing structure was given to the Port Authority; and they only added 220 square feet.

It is way past time for the Commissioners do what they were elected to do…represent THE PEOPLE. Maybe our next article in the hopper on The Better Flip Project will shock them into action. We have begun developing a bit of a timeline for this project…to find out what they knew and when.

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