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In January 2005 customers say Keystone Contractors (Richard & Amy Ockey), took their money $180,000 but did not perform the work that was contracted. See: (Exhibits 1-3). In February 2005 Contractors Information Bureau, Inc. (CIB), Montana Agent arrived in the Flathead Valley, Montana on Special Invitation from Denman Construction Company -(Whitefish, Montana) Executive Vice President, William Rice. In late 2005 Franklin Construction (Brad & Angela Franklin), left the Flathead Valley authorities say after Brad Franklin 42, allegedly ripped off two homeowners, some area businesses and his own employees during a 2 1/2 year stay. The total in allegedly skimmed money is likely far in excess of the almost $700,000 that has been confirmed. That money folds into a bigger sum that includes many unpaid bills, lawsuit losses and liens in Flathead County that total more than $3.7 million. See (Exhibit- 4).
Glacier Bank (GB), First Interstate Bank (FIB), Whitefish Credit Union (WCU), and Western Building Centers (WBC), joined forces and fought back by launching combined attacks at seperate targets on Franklin Construction's, Brad Franklin. (GB) obtained an arrest warrant, (FIB) won a judgment, (WCU) filed lawsuits, combined overdrawn checking accounts. (WBC) filed liens because of unpaid bills, all totaling $122,000. Mortgage Companies, Sub-Contractors, Employees, Material Suppliers and Creditors combined, filed more than 100 liens with the Flathead County Clerk and Recorder's Office with Keystone Contractors projects alone. "It certainly looks like a case of fraud," Flathead County Sheriffs Office detective commander Bruce Parish said. "We've received numerous complaints." See: (Exhibits 1,2,3,4)
Homeowners: Richard & Sharon Prati, Gary Soloman, Bob & Cathy Fousek, Richard Erickson & John & Judy Melin were looking for relief & solutions from paying extra interest and extensions on fee's on loans. Attorney's Chad Wold and Peter Leander provided the best possible Legal services without State Regulation for builders. District Court Judge Kitty Curtis awarded maximum punitive damages and legal expenses $3.194 million to Richard Prati, Soloman was awarded $371,000, two successful plaintiffs in their cases. Both Homeowners showed the deepest concerns for others while pursuing criminal charges to Ensure no one else is harmed. See: (Exhibits 1-4).
The CIB research in the Montana construction markets, indicate that Out of state contractors are coming into Montana at record levels and stealing projects from the Montana Bottom Line. Montana did not have the State regulation on Contractor/Trades in place before the construction boom began. Playing catch-up to compensate for the growth would require unfair-legislation that would put many contractor/trades out of business immediately, crippling the already fragile workforce. Montana's Construction Industry has suffered enough and needs to heal itself, and protect its special interest of keeping jobs and opportunity in Montana hands. Failure to do so will make Montana's already sacrificed Image, even more suspect for scrutiny world wide. "People want to know Montana isn't out back with their investment dollars", say CIB Agent R Douglas W..
Having free access to Contractor/Trades project references, current license and registration, insurance, safety records, and consumer complaint information all in one location, would increase out of state investments as well. Montana's Economic development depends on New arrivals. Not having our Construction Policy in place allows for displaced resources. Home Owner and successful plaintiff, Mr. Richard Prati, brought his own contractor into Montana. Franklin Construction, Brad Franklin was exposed to other Montana residents. Mr. Richard Prati, did not expect Brad Fraklin to rip off Montana and himself. But the opportunity was there. Mr. Richard Prati, was fortunate that he had resources to protect himself. Others were not so fortunate, they had to eat their meals, without the meat. Sub-Contractors went under in his case also. Montana should thank Mr. Richard Prati for standing up, and putting Brad Franklin on the run. Mr. Richard Prati, showed his dignity and integrity by displaying his fearless pursuit for justice. He gave Montana consumers a problem, with a solution: Protect ourselves from future exploits. This case will be remembered as "The Stone that the Home Owner refused."