PG&E meets with San Bruno families about contractor

June 1, 2011 6:50:34 PM PDT
PG&E is meeting with five families in the San Bruno area affected by the pipeline disaster. They've now been left in the lurch by a contractor, Vanderbuilt Construction, Inc., which has at least temporarily suspended operations and might close down altogether.

Vanderbuilt Construction boarded up windows immediately after the pipeline blast and fire. PG&E says Vanderbuilt was hired to do those kinds of disaster repairs and bill the utility directly, rather than billing the homeowners or insurance.

Vanderbuilt was also the preferred general contractor recommended to homeowners needing everything from small to extensive repairs. However, now Vanderbuilt has left at least two jobs unfinished, with questions about whether the subcontractors have been paid as expected.

Pat and Fred Gillen's work was done about a month ago.

When asked if everyone got paid, Fred said, "Well, we hope they did because I think AAA would have advised us if the money's not because the subs would have called them up."

But the Gillen'\s haven't received any guarantees or warranties on the new windows, roof and garage door and now they are worried they never will.

"We had no inkling at all what was going on. And Pat, my wife, said, 'You know, the sign was taken down from the Stanley's lawn' what two days ago and disappeared? And then had seen another one up here with the big black 'X' on it," said Fred.

That's where the owner says her subcontractors were not paid, she can't afford to pay them or finish the work. She was supposed to meet with PG&E on Wednesday afternoon.

PG&E says, "We continue to stand behind the families, helping them get back on track and into their homes as quickly as possible."

The owner of one home, a massive repair and renovation, told ABC7 Vanderbuilt did a lot of work on estimates, but then declined to bid on the project. The reason was due to a company re-organization and that was in February.

The September natural gas pipeline explosion and fire killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. The first re-build project began last month.

Vanderbuilt has not returned ABC7's messages left with its answering service.


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