Virginia’s attorney general wants to hear your unlicensed contractor complaints

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RICHMOND, Va. -- More than a dozen people from around Central Virginia have contacted CBS 6 following a Problem Solvers report on a contractor accused of never finishing a job he was paid to do. The series of Problem Solvers reports caught the attention of Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.

The Harris family

Army Sgt. Michael Harris and his wife Jermall contacted CBS 6 when they heard a Problem Solvers report on unlicensed contractor Kelly Johnson. The Harris said they hired Johnson in 2012 when Michael returned from Kuwait.

Jermall Harris said they were referred to Johnson by a friend. She said Johnson gave them a business car that indicated he was licensed and insured.

Jermall said over the first two weeks Johnson showed up to their Jackson Avenue home, pulled up floors and even convinced them he could fix electrical problems.


Jermall Harris said her home was unfinished by Johnson even though she paid him over $10,000.

"'We can re-wire the whole house' he said. So my daughter's room still doesn't have electricity to this day," said Jermall.

Then the Army transferred the couple to the west coast for two years. They said they sent money to Johnson when he asked, thinking he was making progress on the home. Jermall said they only got excuses via text when they checked in.

After two years and $10,000, the couple said they returned home to a gutted house.

“He left my house gutted to the floor. You could see outside under the house in the bathroom," Jermall said.

Kelly Johnson

Kelly Johnson

When CBS 6 contacted Johnson, he declined the opportunity to grant an interview.

He did say he had several customers he needed to repay and was in the process of doing so.

More complaints filed

Four people have filed complaints against Johnson with the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, the state agency that oversees licensed contractors.

"Three just within the last year, [but] because he's unlicensed we've only been able to refer those to local law enforcement," agency spokeswoman Mary Vaughn said.

In one woman's case, Johnson is facing a felony charge.

Attorney General gets involved

AG Mark Herring

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring

The reports troubled Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, who said his office would like to hear from anyone who thinks they are a victim.

“They should contact our office and file a complaint because filing a complaint helps us determine the scope of the problem, how widespread it is, and whether there's away way to help," Herring said.

He added if you're looking to hire a contractor to do work, make sure he/she has a valid license. He said be sure to check references and limit your down payment to no more than 10 percent.

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