JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) The owner of a previously Johnson City-based contracting company, Leighton ‘Joe’ Wood, has formally agreed to the suspension of his Tennessee contracting license.
That company is Wood Construction and Remodeling, LLC.
A hearing was set to be held in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday, Oct. 28, during which the state board would consider revoking Wood’s license.
Instead, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors announced the immediate suspension of the contractor’s license for Leighton ‘Joe’ Wood Thursday.
Wood’s attorneys told News Channel 11 they agreed to the suspension voluntarily. They issued a statement saying:
“Mr. Wood remains committed to working with the State to resolve the matters that have received recent attention in the media. In discussions with the Department of Commerce and Insurance regarding their filing, our client agreed to a voluntary temporary suspension of his contractor’s license, until such time as he is afforded a full hearing to address all the facts and claims at issue. As the facts continue to be developed, Mr. Wood shall continue to address the allegations made in a timely manner while attempting to work towards a resolution of customer concerns. “
Attorneys Christopher Rogers, Jason Arthur
The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance says the license is suspended pending an informal hearing scheduled for November 30th where Mr. Wood and his attorneys can go before the state board.
“We are not in negotiation with Mr. Wood. But we agreed to give him the opportunity to come before the board, to give his version of the facts as to why his license should not be suspended,” said Kevin Walters with TDCI. “If the board votes at that time to leave the suspension in place, the next step will be to proceed to a formal hearing.”
A formal hearing could result in full revocation of Wood’s license.
Previous News Channel 11 investigation uncovered dozens of local customers who accused Wood Construction of taking large deposits of money and leaving projects unfinished.
TDCI says the nature and seriousness of the allegations required the department to take swift action to
“The actions that we took today are directed at helping protect consumers from a licensee who has repeatedly frustrated consumers with his lack of professionalism,” said Walters.
The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office is also actively investigating Leighton ‘Joe’ Wood.
In a news release Thursday, Executive Director of the Board for Licensing Contractors Carolyn Lazenby said, “The majority of Tennessee’s licensed contractors provide quality workmanship and good customer service. However, there may be those few who may take unscrupulous actions that might harm consumers. Consumers can file complaints about licensed contractors with the Board so that disciplinary action might be taken.”
The Tennessee Attorney General’s Office has received more than 30 complaints from customers who signed contracts for home remodeling projects with unfinished work. The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office has received at least seven.
“Tennesseans should know that the Department works to protect them from those bad actors who do not follow the ‘Golden Rule.’ I urge consumers who have had unsatisfactory experiences with Joe Wood to file complaints with our team today,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Alex Martin in a news release.
In the release, TDCI outlined practices to help consumers looking to hire a contractor. Those include:
- Hire only licensed contractors. Check here and ask if the licensed contractor
will be performing the work with their employees or if the work is
subcontracted out. Get the contract in writing.
- Ask who will be performing the work (often the contractor is a “salesman”
and may subcontract the work to inexperienced individuals misclassified as
a subcontractor paid in cash, for the contractor to avoid paying taxes.
- If a contractor takes your money without performing the work, this may be
considered a felony theft violation. You should contact your local law
enforcement officials to file a complaint.
- Never pay cash. Never pay the total amount before the work is complete or
turn over your insurance check directly to a contractor. Instead, consider
paying with credit cards with special protection. State law prohibits
requiring more than 1/3 down payment.
Wood Construction and Remodeling has previously done business at 3 Limited Centre St., in Johnson City, Tennessee. The building is now closed and the signs reading ‘Wood Construction HQ’ were removed.
Leighton ‘Joe’ Wood currently has an active contracting license in North Carolina.
News Channel 11 reached out to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors following the suspension of Wood’s Tennessee license. Executive Director Frank Wiesner said the suspension has no implication on his North Carolina license.
Wiesner did confirm their office is actively looking into complaints filed against Wood Construction in North Carolina.