BATON ROUGE—On September 19, 2023, a local civil service board chair turned himself in after an arrest warrant was issued alleging two counts of residential contractor fraud and a count of misapplication of payments prohibited as a contractor for a recent home construction project. Brandon O. Williams is the current chairman of the Baton Rouge Police Fire & Police Civil Service Board.
Williams is recognized by the Louisiana Board of Contractors as a general contractor under the business name, Brandon O Williams Construction, LLC. There are a few violations listed on the Louisiana Board of Contractors for (1) entering into a contract with an unlicensed contractor; (2) home improvement work without a registration; and (3) residential contracting without a license. Williams received a fine for these violations.
This is Williams’ second arrest since 2020. Williams was arrested after warrants were issued on charges of 2nd degree battery, simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling, and theft in excess of $25,000.
The most recent arrest warrant was issued on September 15, 2023. It alleges that Williams knowingly employed unlicensed subcontractors, and that the victim was forced to pay a contractor to remove a builder’s lien placed on the victim’s home. The investigation uncovered that during the plumbing and electrical permit application process, legitimate licensed contractors’ numbers were used to receive the necessary permits. Corporal Brian Stewart verified with the Louisiana Board of Contractors that the subcontractors hired by Williams were not properly licensed to undertake the project.
Under Louisiana revised statute section 14:202.1, “it is a violation for a contractor to knowingly employ a subcontractor who does not possess the required license by applicable state, municipal, or parochial statute.”
The victim, Scott Campbell, & Williams entered into a contract in January 2022 for the construction of Campbell’s “dream home.” Campbell tells UWK that Williams told Campbell his home would be finished by December 2022. It is now September 2023, and Campbell’s home is far from completion.
Campbell tells UWK that they missed the signs that something was wrong with the project. First, the bank denied the loan after Campbell submitted Williams’ information. Campbell had to sign a waiver with the bank to receive the money. Second, Williams owed money to a lumber supplier, and was forced to make a payment while on the phone with Campbell.
Due to the unlicensed work performed on his new home, Campbell was forced to hire a new electrician and plumber to fix catastrophic problems left by the unlicensed subcontractors. This caused a large and unanticipated additional expense. However, Campbell says Williams did reimburse a small portion for the additional expense regarding the plumber.
Campbell tells UWK that the mistakes by the unlicensed plumber could have blown up his home. “There was too much pressure, which was causing a gas leak. The leakage was so bad that the fireplace just lit up one day,” Campbell said. The new plumber said that he was happy that Campbell didn’t turn on the heaters because his home would have “blown up.”
Then, Campbell received a notice of intent to file a lien from the flooring contractor for an unpaid balance due to Williams’ failure to render payment. Campbell attempted to work with Williams to get the money to pay the flooring contractor, but Williams would only work with Campbell if they entered into an agreement. According to Campbell, the offer included Williams paying Campbell back half of what Campbell paid Williams.
On August 23, 2023, Campbell paid the flooring contractor to avoid a lien. Under Louisiana revised statute section 14:202, it is a violation for contractor to knowingly fail to “apply the money received as necessary to settle claims for materials and labor due for the construction or under the contract.”
Campbell tells UWK that Williams contacted the bank, and threatened to put a lien on Campbell’s home. Now, Campbell cannot receive the final draw, so Campbell cannot pay the contractors who Williams has failed to pay.
Even though Williams took notes about the specifications for the home, that meant absolutely nothing, according to Campbell. There are additional parts of the project that Williams allegedly left uncompleted. Now, Campbell and his wife are completing it on their own. Campbell said that’s so they could get their occupancy certificate.
Originally, Campbell decided to work with Williams after speaking with several friends and relatives who are using Williams as the contractor for their homes. However, these individuals did not tell Campbell about the issues that come when hiring Williams.
Williams’ attorney, Tedrick Knightshead, said “no comment” to both Corporal Stewart and UWK. However, Campbell tells UWK that Williams’ attorney reached out asking about settlement of the matter to call off the prosecution.