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Two Tucson-based contractor firms accused of cheating local homeowners out of a combined $2.6 million have been temporarily shut down by the state while regulators decide whether to permanently pull their licenses.

The “emergency” measure was taken to protect the public after multiple complaints against Sunset Quality Builders Inc. and Sunset Design Build LLC over allegations of poor workmanship and abandoning projects before they were finished, Arizona’s Registrar of Contractors announced Friday.

The registrar has received at least 10 complaints in the past six months against the two firms, both owned by Shawn L. Berna, 45, of Tucson, a news release said.

“Considering the frequency and nature of the alleged violations, the registrar finds that the public welfare imperatively requires emergency action,” said an April 16 license suspension order signed by the agency’s chief legal counsel.

Berna’s attorney, Corey Larson of Tucson, could not be reached for comment. He did not immediately respond to a voicemail left at his office Friday afternoon.

The complaints from homeowners in Tucson and Oro Valley involved contracts signed between 2016 and 2018 for new home construction and remodeling projects, the registrar’s news release said.

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“In total, the homeowners are out a combined total of $2,603,803,” it said.

A hearing has been set for May 1 in Phoenix, where the two companies will have to show cause why their contracting licenses should not be revoked.

The registrar is asking anyone else who may have had problems with the firms to file complaints “as soon as possible.”

Complaints can be made online at roc.az.gov/file-complaint or by calling the registrar’s Tucson office at (877) 692-9762.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at 573-4138 or calaimo@tucson.com. On Twitter: @AZStarConsumer.

Reporter

Carol Ann has been with the Star since 1999, but has been an investigative reporter for more than 30 years. She's won numerous awards in the U.S. and Canada. In 2003, she was a war correspondent in Iraq and was a Knight-Wallace Fellow in Michigan in 2008.