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Painter Charged for Unlawful Contracting

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

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A State of Washington painting contractor who is also a former city official has been charged with unregistered contracting after receiving multiple violations from the state’s labor department.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office charged Terry Foster, 82, of Colville, with three counts of unregistered contracting, according to a Friday (Oct. 2) statement from the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I). According to the statement, each charge is a “gross misdemeanor” punishable by up to 364 days in jail or a $5,000 fine, or both.

Foster does business under his own name as well as “Terry the Consultant” and “Terry the Painter.”

Foster was a city council member in Colville between 2010 and April of this year. According to its statement, L&I has charged Foster with nine civil violations of unregistered contracting since 2008.

On Monday (Oct. 5), Foster entered a plea of Not Guilty during arraignment in Stevens County District Court, Colville, according to a clerk in the court office.

‘Unfair Advantage’

“Contractors who don’t follow the rules get an unfair advantage,” said Elizabeth Smith, assistant director of L&I’s Fraud Prevention & Labor Standards, in the statement.

©iStock.com / stone18

Terry Foster, a painter in Washington State, has been charged with three counts of unregistered contracting. Foster also owes the state more than $30,000 for similar offenses.

“Their costs are lower so they can underbid law-abiding competitors,” said Smith. “People who hire unregistered contractors may think they’re getting a deal, but they’re not. Hiring someone without insurance or a bond is a big risk that can result in a very costly mistake.”

The statement said that Washington law requires contractors to register with L&I to confirm that they are bonded and meet other requirements. L&I has the authority to issue civil infractions, refer unregistered contractors for criminal prosecution or do both.

Each civil infraction carries a fine of up to $1,000 on the first offense and $5,000 for each additional offense, said L&I.

Multiple Offenses

In Foster’s case, L&I fined him for more than $130,000. He made full or partial payments on two of the citations, but has not responded to the rest, according to the statement.

To date, Foster owes L&I more than $30,000. According to an investigative report, Foster has told the agency that he believes contractor registration does not apply to him.

According to L&I, inspectors caught Foster or his son painting at least three times without being registered: at a fast food restaurant in Colville in 2013; at a house in Chewelah in August 2014; and at an apartment complex in Colville in April 2015.

Investigators learned about Foster’s jobs from people who described themselves as contractors who were frustrated at having to compete against an unregistered contractor, according to the statement.


Tagged categories: Contractors; Criminal acts; Department of Labor; Government; Painters

Comment from john lienert, (10/7/2015, 8:29 AM)

80 years old and still doesn't "get it"........oh well.....his son can follow in dad's footsteps

Comment from Dennis Carrington, (10/7/2015, 6:18 PM)

82 years old and the local government won't leave him alone.

Comment from peter gibson, (10/7/2015, 7:17 PM)

During the bid process you must show your license. How the hell did that slip through.

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