Appeals court upholds revocation of Bethesda home builder’s license

Appeals court upholds revocation of Bethesda home builder’s license

County officials says revocation ‘extremely rare’

| Published:

Via Maryland Court of Special Appeals

This story was updated at 10 a.m. May 7, 2020, to add additional information about Ace Construction DMV. 

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has upheld Montgomery County’s decision to permanently revoke a local home builder’s license for violating local and state laws, forging a signature and completing shoddy construction work on projects in Bethesda and Chevy Chase.

In 2018, county officials revoked the building license for JRK Contractor of Bethesda, a disciplinary action they called “extremely rare.”

In its order revoking JRK’s license, the county’s Board of Registration found that representatives:
• forged a Bethesda homeowner’s signature on a building permit
• violated local building code by using improper gas piping, attic access, basement insulation and drainage slopes
• built a retaining wall without the required permit and failing to place funds in an escrow account as required by state law
• improperly installed a stone veneer at a Bethesda construction site
• entered two contracts before obtaining its license in 2015
• failed to notify the consumer protection office about two lawsuits against the company alleging unsuitable performance.

Owned by Fernando Guedes Jr. and Fernando Guedes Sr., JRK has built six homes in Montgomery County since 2015. People who purchased the homes testified that they had to make significant financial investments — up to $1 million — to fix bad construction.

County officials investigated the complaints and found them to have merit. A hearing was held in 2018 with the Board of Registration, which ultimately recommended revoking the company’s license.

Guedes Jr. and Guedes Sr. argued they couldn’t defend their company because they were not informed of the hearing in advance.

County consumer protection staff members, however, provided documentation in 2018 that a notice of the hearing was provided to JRK.

Guedes Jr. and Guedes Sr. filed several appeals of the decision, and on April 27, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled in favor of Montgomery County. The ruling means that JRK Contractor LLC is not allowed to build new homes in Montgomery County.

The company still has an active state home improvement license, which enables the company to take on renovation or addition projects in Montgomery County.

Guedes Jr. and Guedes Sr. also run at least one other company that could seek a home building license in Montgomery County, but has not, according to county officials. The company is Ace Construction DMV. Its website lists a Washington, D.C., address and advertises residential and commercial construction. Company representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

The company’s website lists Guedes Jr. as principal. Articles of organization filed in 2018 to create Ace Construction DMV LLC in 2018 list Guedes Jr. as an “authorized person” for the entity. Stacey Guedes is listed as resident agent, which is a representative of an LLC.

“Our office and the Maryland Attorney General’s Office received complaints or claims from four of the five homeowners who purchased homes in Bethesda from JRK Builders,” Office of Consumer Protection Director Eric Friedman wrote in a news release announcing the appeals court’s decision. “The court’s action and legal process validates our extraordinary regulatory efforts, but unfortunately, does not serve to remedy the financial losses for these consumers.”

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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