Mr. Zlater of Commercial Coatings painted our house in May of 2002 and submitted a bill which was paid in full. Have copies of bill and cancelled check.
In April of 2003, we put our house on the market as we were moving to Oregon. Mr. Zlater drove by the house, saw it was for sale, contacted the realtor, and told the realtor we owed money for the painting of the house and unless he received his money he would file a mechanics liens and stop the sale. This all took place about 5 days before closing. We contacted Mr. Zlater and told him if he felt we owned money to take us to small claims court. Approximately 2 hours before closing, Mr. Zlater contacted our realtor and told him he was filing a mechanics lien on the property. We instructed our realtor to put $1600 in escrow until we could settle the matter.
Approximately 8 days later we received final papers from the title company, Fidelity National Title Company, and they had released the money to Mr. Zlater. I called Kim Rafael of Fidelity, she stated she had been instructed to release the funds to Mr. Zlater by our realtor. She made the statement this happens all the time "contractors come out of the woodwork" when houses are closing. She informed me they follow the realtor's instructions and not the seller's. I demanded my money back and to this day. Fidelity has completely ignored my request.
I filed a complaint againts the painter with Napa County District Attorney Consumer Fraud Unit and they told me it was a civil matter and I had to file in Small Claims. I filed a complaint against the painter with the California State Contractor's Licensing Board, and they also told me it was a civil matter and I had to file in Small Claims.
I filed an ethics complaint against the realtor, had a hearing, and did win this. Mr. Zlater of Commercial Coatings blatently and dishonestly used his business license to extort money from us with the threat of a mechanics lien.
Grants Pass, Oregon