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9 busted for working as unlicensed contractors

MANATEE — Nine unlicensed building contractors were busted last week as part of a statewide sting, according to Manatee County officials.

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation conducted a joint undercover operation in which they received job proposals for construction work that required a contractor’s license. The suspects, who were charged with misdemeanors and ordered to appear in court, did not have the required licenses, according to county officials.

Unlicensed contract work has become a serious problem during the current economic downturn as many homeowners turn to the least expensive option available, said John Barnott, interim director of the county building department.

“We will continue to crack down, not only with the contractors but with the property owners who knowingly hire them,” Barnott said. “I want to send a clear message to all the unlicensed activity going on out there: We’re coming after you.”

The nine contractors cited last week and the names of their businesses, according to the sheriff’s office, are:

– Dale Belden of Bradenton, Dale’s Mobile Home Repairs.

– Harlan Hillenbrand of Sarasota, Home Services & Repairs.

– Peter Hillenbrand of Sarasota, Home Services & Repairs.

– Scott Rosa of North Port, Rosa’s General Maintenance.

– Herbert Prince of Bradenton, The Leak Stopper.

– Michael J. Ford of North Port, Ford’s Contracting Services.

– Dan Richards of Venice, Handyman Dan.

– Ahmet Ajkic of Sarasota, Ahmet Ajkic General Repair.

– Ronald L. Sommers of Sarasota, Ron’s Handyman Solutions.

Homeowners can obtain a list of licensed contractors from the Manatee County Chamber of Commerce, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, the Home Builders Association of Manatee County or the Manatee County Building Department.

To report unlicensed building activity, call the county building department at (941) 749-3047. To learn more about Florida’s building codes or to apply for a permit, click on the Building Department tab at www.mymanatee.org

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