An out-of-state paving operator who did defective work at several Tucson homes and businesses has been stripped of his Arizona contractor’s license for failing to disclose his troubled past to the state agency that granted the license.
In a Sept. 5 decision, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors revoked the license of Bill Roger Acker, Sr. of Sunset, Louisiana, whose relatives ran the Tucson operation from a local campground.
Acker Sr.’s conduct caused “substantial and tangible harm to the public as a result of his ineptitude,” said the ruling, which noted state investigators substantiated five complaints of faulty workmanship in the Tucson area in the past year.
In some cases, the newly installed paving was less than an inch thick when it should have been at least two inches thick, public records show,
At least two of Acker Sr.’s sons were key players in the Tucson operation and he effectively “aided and abetted” them to operate as unlicensed contractors on his behalf, the registrar’s decision said.
One son, Ike Jerome T. Acker, 32, once held a California paving license that was revoked in that state in 2013 over a string of complaints nearly identical to the recent complaints in Tucson, public records show.
Some Tucson complainants said they were charged substantially more than the price they were quoted before work began. One homeowner claimed he ended up paying $19,000 for a paving job that was supposed to cost $5,000.
The ruling noted the Acker clan’s use of a suspicious sales pitch to solicit customers: cold-calling at homes and businesses to offer deep discounts on asphalt purportedly left over from other paving jobs. Acker Sr. has denied using the tactic, which authorities view as a warning sign for potential consumer fraud.
Acker, Sr., 62, could not be reached for comment. Neither he, nor his Tucson attorney Brenda J. Lee, responded to a request for comment Friday.
Lee previously told the Arizona Daily Star that her client has hundreds of satisfied customers and that the number of complaints is “negligible.”
The biggest point of contention in the case was Acker Sr.’s failure to notify Arizona authorities that, when he applied for his paving license in 2017, another state, Idaho, had revoked his paving license for poor workmanship in 2009.
The Arizona registrar only learned of the discrepancy when the Star published an investigation last month that detailed the Acker family’s troubled history in several states where they have operated over the past decade.
Acker Sr. told Arizona authorities he simply forgot to mention the Idaho revocation. The Registrar’s order said the omission “is not excused or justified by his forgetfulness.”
Arizona likely wouldn’t have granted a license to Acker had he disclosed his past as required, it said.
A state administrative officer who oversaw an August hearing on the case recommended against revoking his license, saying she saw Acker’s wrongdoing as “the result of ‘ineptitude rather than nefariousness,’” but the registrar opted instead for the harsher sentence.
Acker Sr.’s firm, BA Associates, is reportedly no longer operating in Tucson. A source told the Star the Acker clan pulled up stakes in mid-August from the local campground where they’d been staying for months while running the Tucson operation.
In most of the Tucson cases of poor workmanship, Acker’s paving crew went back and fixed the jobs, authorities said.
But one business owner, Benjamin Galaz of BK Carne Asada & Hot Dogs on South 12th Avenue, refused to let him them back on his property and is now in a legal fight over a $10,000 lien the paving firm filed against his restaurant.
Another state agency, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, which investigates suspected consumer fraud, has also received at least three complaints from Tucson. Jim Knupp, a spokesman for the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, said that agency plans to hand over its Acker files to the attorney general.
Meanwhile, the contracting regulator in neighboring New Mexico is also initiating action against Acker’s license there for not disclosing his Idaho license revocation, public records show.
Martin Romero of New Mexico’s Construction Industries Division, the state licensing authority, said Acker is entitled to due process but has not yet responded to the complaint.
To report a problem with a licensed contractor, go to roc.az.gov/file-complaint or call 877-692-9762.
To report suspected consumer fraud to Arizona’s attorney general, go to www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer or call 520-628-6648.