CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. — As Florida residents begin the long road to recovery following Hurricane Ian, officials are cracking down on contractors who aren’t following the state’s licensing laws.
According to a release from the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Terence Duque, owner of Duque Roofing in Rosenburg, Texas, was arrested for allegedly operating in Florida without the proper licensing to do so.
On Oct. 7 around 1:30 p.m., the Charlotte County Economic Crimes Unit received a call from an investigator at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), who said a roofing company was found working in Charlotte County without a Florida license. A homeowner told investigators they had met with a Duque Roofing employee at a local community center. After receiving an estimate for their home, the homeowner agreed to a written contract for roof repairs.
The DBPR met with a sheriff’s office detective at the community center, noting Duque Roofing trucks and trailers were parked there. They spoke with Duque, who told investigators that he read Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis’ State of Emergency order regarding contractors and thought he was permitted to work in Florida. He further claimed that an employee contacted the DBPR and a representative gave them permission to work in Florida. Duque couldn’t provide the name of the representative.
Investigators informed Duque that the governor’s order didn’t provide permission for him to work without a license and would be arrested for working in the state. He was transported to the Charlotte County Jail without issue.
“Ignorance is not an excuse,” said Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell in a written statement. “If you are in Charlotte County, doing business with the people of this community, you had better be on the up-and-up and have the appropriate licensing and insurance. These people have been through enough, and I will not allow unlicensed contractors to further victimize them.”
The emergency order, issued Oct. 1, suspends certain construction contract licensing requirements to help speed up recovery efforts from Hurricane Ian. The order allows for general, building or residential contractors certified in Florida to not subcontract roofing work, which is normally the case in Florida. Registered contractors from any local jurisdiction in Florida are also allowed to contract for work in certain counties, even if those counties are out of their geographical scope.
The emergency order is in place until Nov. 22.