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Unregistered Painter Agrees to Stop

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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Washington state contractor Terry Foster has agreed to stop painting without registering for a contractor’s license—even though he allegedly said last year that those rules do not apply to him.

The state’s Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) said in a statement Friday (Jan. 15) that Foster agreed in Stevens County District Court to register with the state and pay court fees if he works as a contractor. In October, Foster had entered a plea of not guilty when the state filed charges against him for similar offenses.

If Foster, 82, of Colville, WA, follows through with the agreement; breaks no criminal laws; and pays $300 in court costs, the state will drop criminal charges against him in 2017. To achieve this, the state and Foster enterred into a stipulation agreement Jan. 13 that waives Foster's right to a speedy trial.

Unregistered Charges

Foster had been doing business under his own name and as “Terry the Consultant” and “Terry the Painter.” He also had served on the Colville City Council from late 2010 through April 2015, previous reports indicate.

©iStock.com / JanPietruszka

Terry Foster has agreed to register as a contractor with the state of Washington if he paints. In two years, the state will drop charges against him for unregistered contracting if he follows his agreement.

The Washington Attorney General’s Office charged Foster with three counts of unregistered contracting. Each charge was a “gross misdemeanor” punishable by up to 364 days in jail or a $5,000 fine, or both.

Those charges were filed after L&I inspectors allegedly found Foster and 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. Foster reportedly told investigators that the state’s contractor registration rules do not apply to him.

Other contractors tipped off investigators, saying they were frustrated with having to compete with an unregistered contractor.

Civil Infractions

Washington law requires construction contractors to register with L&I. The agency said it will confirm that contractors are insured and bonded, as well as meet other requirements. L&I can issue violators a civil infraction, refer them for criminal prosecution or both.

Since 2008, L&I has issued Foster nine civil infractions for unregistered contracting. Previously, the agency had said Foster made full or partial payments on two of the charges but has not paid the rest.

The agency said in its recent statement that it is trying to collect on the more than $130,000 Foster owes in workers’ compensation insurance payments and $30,000 in fines he has not paid.


Tagged categories: Contractors; Criminal acts; Government; Insurance; Laws and litigation; OSHA; Painting Contractors

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