Company Licenses on Line at Hearing

By: Jenny Rabin
By: Jenny Rabin

We want to update you on a story we've been following for the past two months. It's the story about dozens of Reno-area homeowners who paid for homes that were never completed.

Tuesday was supposed to be their day in court.

The homeowners were supposed to testify at hearing before the State Contractor's Board this morning.

And, while they all showed up at the meeting prepared to tell their stories, the contractor's board never got around to hearing any of them.

That's because the board granted the attorney's requests for extensions to give them more time to investigate the claims.

It was standing room only at the State Contractor's Board hearing. The room was full of homeowners who are owed money and houses, subcontractors who are owed money and the management teams from Solano development and Sierra Sage.

Missing was both company’s' primary investor, Bill Rheinschild, who was in France and available to testify by phone.

The two companies asked to be treated separately - saying they have different management teams so attorney Jim Spoo went first, appearing on behalf of Solano. He was followed by attorney Mark Gunderson on behalf of Sierra Sage.

Anyone who wanted to testify was asked to stand and take the oath. But in the end, no one testified. The board ruled on both matters by listening to the attorneys and reading the materials presented.

The board rejected Sierra Sage's reinstatement of license offer of supervised work and personal indemnification.

"They asked that Bill Rheinschild as an investor also stand behind it with some personal net worth and he made that offer," said RWR Industries representative Craig Hamilton. " What is the offer? A one million dollar personal indemnity that we offered the board for vendor payment issues," he said.

The board's complaint file shows Sierra Sage owes more than $200,000 but company management confirmed during testimony that they actually owe more than $1 million.

The board then continued Sierra Sage's license suspension until their next hearing on June 17.

The board found Solano Development guilty of the majority of the items they heard, all involving workmanship and money complaints. The bulk of the complaints though weren't heard because Solano's attorney asked for an extension.

The state contractor's board says the complaints they have on file show Solano owes homeowners and subcontractors more than $620,000.

The board decided that Solano's license will continue to be suspended until the remaining complaints are taken up at the disciplinary hearing scheduled for august 5th.

"I think the hearing was a total travesty of justice," said Bella Terra homeowner John Douglas. "There were people sitting in the audience who have no homes, who were stuck in limbo, who are now stuck in limbo for another 60 days, that's absolutely ridiculous," he said.

"There's nothing more that we can do then what we're doing now," said Mike Zech, Chairman of the Nevada Contractor's Board.

"Again, a revocation is not going to make a difference on getting the homes completed at this time," he said.

The board said they are giving Sierra Sage two more weeks to get their financial documents together so they can present to the board exactly how much they owe. Solano is being given two months to investigate the more recent complaints.

These are complaints from homeowners at both Bella Terra at Arrowcreek in South Reno and Canterbury Place in Northwest Reno who paid for homes that were never completed.

"There is work being done on those homes - on the homes that are 30-60 days away from completion but new financing has been requested to finish the houses," Hamilton said.

We went to Bella Terra this afternoon after the contractor’s board hearing and checked on the status of those homes. We did find one crew working on one home - the other homes remained untouched.

"They're not going to get their license to continue until these items have been taken care of, " said Zech.

So, the next thing that will happen is Sierra Sage will be heard two weeks from Tuesday at a state contractor's board meeting in Las Vegas.

At that meeting, Sierra Sage will present all of their financial information and the board will then rule on the status of their license.

The board will not take up the matter of whether to reinstate or revoke Solano's license until their meeting on Aug. 5.


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