State: Registration renewal for builder
State: KMD’s registration expired on June 30, 2019
Part of an occasional series.
HAMMONTON—According to documents received through a series of Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests, the State of New Jersey New Home Builder Registration for KMD Construction LLC expired on June 30, 2019.
According to a December 24 email from the state, the registration is being renewed.
“KMD Builders did submit the renewal application approximately two weeks ago. It is in line for processing, but the approximate processing time for such applications is currently running at 30 business days from the date of receipt of the application. In th
e event the processing staff does review the renewal application in the normal course and concludes it is complete and approved for renewal, it will not be renewed until the compliance action is complete and deemed closed,” New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Director of Communications Tammori C. Petty wrote in an email to The Gazette on December 24.
Petty also wrote that KMD cannot receive any services from the construction office until the registration is renewed.
“The construction office will not provide any services until it is provided the new registration card. Without the registration being renewed and active, the builder cannot apply for building permits or receive new home warranties for any homes it has built. Without the new home warranty, the municipality cannot issue any type of Certificate of Occupancy for the home,” Petty wrote in an email on December 24.
On December 31, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Spokesperson Lisa M. Ryan sent the following email to The Gazette, “The Office of Regulatory Affairs in DCA’s Division of Codes and Standards had phone conversations with Mullica Township construction officials on 11/16, 11/17, 11/20, 11/25, 12/17, and 12/22 during which it was communicated that no Uniform Construction Code inspections shall be conducted and no certificates shall be issued for any permits relating to KMD Construction. These phone conversations were memorialized in the attached email sent to the Mullica Township construction official.”
Ryan sent a December 29 email from N.J. State Department of Community Affairs Office of Regulatory Affairs Investigator - Fire Subcode Official Justin M. Henry to Mullica Twp. Construction Official John Holroyd.
The email from Henry to Holroyd read as follows: “I wanted to memorialize the previous phone conversations we’ve had on 11/16, 11/17, 11/20, 11/25, 12/17, and 12/22.
“As previously instructed, no UCC inspections shall be conducted and no certificates shall be issued for any permits relating to KMD Construction. If the builder furnishes a valid registration, they must update all permits to reflect the correct information prior to carrying out any further enforcement of the Code.
“Please let me know if there are any questions.”
According to the state and a December 30 internet search on newjersey.mylicense.com/verification/Search.aspx?facility=Y, KMD Construction LLC’s, home improvement contractor license has been expired since March 31, 2015.
According to documents from the state received through an OPRA request, Stephen DiDonato is one of the owners of KMD Construction LLC.
Stephen DiDonato is the mayor of the town of Hammonton. As stated in a prior report, Mullica Twp. issues permits and inspects the construction work for DiDonato due to his status as the mayor of Hammonton according to a Mullica Twp. official.
Through a series of OPRA requests, The Gazette has received permits issued to KMD Construction since the date of expiration of the license as identified by the state.
The Gazette contacted the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs in November.
Petty emailed The Gazette on November 18, 2020.
Petty’s email reads as follows:
“It appears the builder used his/her expired builder number on the permit. DCA will be following up with the builder and the local construction official.”
In a November 5, 2020 email, James Costello from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Bureau of Homeowner Protections wrote: “I am in receipt of your OPRA request No. C165586 wherein you requested:
“1) New home builder registration information on KMD Construction, LLC.
“The above-mentioned builder registration was originally issued to Stephen M. DiDonato on June 16, 1997 and was most recently renewed in compliance with the Regulations Governing New Home Warranties and Builders’ Registrations (N.J.A.C. 5:25-1.1 et seq.) on July 7, 2017. The registration expired on June 30, 2019 and has yet to be renewed.”
A November 18 review of registered builders on https://www.state.nj.us/dca/divisions/codes/publications/pdf_nhw/brlist.pdf did not show KMD Construction.
According to the 2017 State of New Jersey New Home Builder Registration – Renewal Application for KMD Construction, the registration number associated with KMD Construction LLC is 27074. The 2017 renewal application was signed by Stephen DiDonato on May 24, 2017.
A November 19, 2020 email from New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Public Information Officer Gema de las Heras stated: “KMD Construction LLC, Stephen DiDonato, and Debra DiDonato are not presently registered as home improvement contractors with the Division of Consumer Affairs. The Division located a prior home improvement contractor registration issued to KMD Construction, LLC, but that registration expired on March 31, 2015.”
As of November 18 and December 30, a search on https://newjersey.mylicense.com/verification/Search.aspx?facility=N, showed that License No. 13VH06864600, belonging to KMD Construction LLC with the owners’ names showing as “Stephen M. DiDonato” and “Debra A. DiDonota” [sic] was expired as of March 31, 2015. The “Status Change Reason” was listed as “Failure to Renew.”
On November 5, 2020 The Gazette made an OPRA request to Mullica Twp. for “all construction permits made out to KMD Construction/Stephen DiDonato/Debra DiDonato from July 1, 2019 through November 5, 2020.”
On November 12, 2020, Mullica Twp. sent a list of permits issued to KMD Construction LLC. The permits were as follows according to the document from Mullica Twp. All addresses are in Hammonton unless otherwise noted.
• A permit was issued on 9/03/19 for 45 Dogwood Lane for single family dwelling for subcode BLDG.
• A permit was issued on 10/8/19 for 520 Walnut Street for single family dwelling for subcode BLDG.
• A permit was issued on 2/19/20 for 9 Samantha Drive for single family dwelling for subcode BLDG.
• A permit was issued on 7/14/20 for 5 Samatha [sic] Drive for single family dwelling for subcode BLDG.
• A permit was issued on 7/14/20 for 340 Central Avenue for single family dwelling rancher for subcode BLDG. According to Petty’s December 24 email, “The property located on Central Ave has had all of its final inspections, but no Certificate of Occupancy has been issued and cannot be issued until KMD's new home builder registration is renewed and a new home warranty for the home is presented to the municipality.”
• A permit was issued on 9/9/20 for 50 Dogwood Lane for single family dwelling for subcode BLDG.
• A permit was issued on 9/9/20 for 52 Dogwood Lane for single family dwelling for subcode BLDG.
• A permit was issued on 4/7/20 for 122 Jackson Road (Medford Twp.) for repair basement wall and replace furnaces, HWH and A/C Units for subcode bldg. (There is an overlap of officials between the town and Medford.)
Mullica Twp. also sent the permit forms for 50 and 52 Dogwood, 340 Central, 5 and 9 Samantha Drive.
According to Mullica Twp., the permits for 45 Dogwood Lane and 520 Walnut Street were turned over to the town of Hammonton. The wording in the email was “Be advised the un-highlighted permits have been returned to Hammonton.” Hammonton sent the permits to The Gazette for 520 Walnut Street and 45 Dogwood Lane on November 19, 2020 following an OPRA request.
On November 13, 2020 The Gazette sent an OPRA request to Medford Twp. for the permits for 122 Jackson Rd. Medford responded on November 17, 2020.
On each Building Subcode Technical Specification form, KMD Construction’s number is listed as 027074 for the seven aforementioned properties. In an email from November 19, 2020, Costello wrote “Builder Registration numbers are 5 digits long…” Also on November 19, 2020 Costello was asked via email by The Gazette “Is 27074 still expired or did they renew?” Costello replied via email on November 19, 2020: “I can confirm that the builder associated with that registration number is expired.”
The expiration dates for the registration or license were as follows according to documents sent by Mullica Twp. and Medford Twp.:
• For 520 Walnut Street, the expiration date was listed as “7/31/20.”
• For 45 Dogwood Lane, the expiration date was listed as “7/31/20.”
• For 9 Samantha Drive, the expiration date was listed as “7/20.”
• For 5 Samantha Drive, the expiration date was listed as “7/21/20.”
• For 50 Dogwood Lane, the expiration date was listed as “7/2021.”
• For 52 Dogwood Lane, the expiration date was listed as “7/2021.”
• For 340 Central Avenue, the expiration date was listed as “7/21.”
• For 122 Jackson Road, Medford Twp., the expiration date was listed as “7/2020.”
KMD’s number for new home building is 27074, according to documents from the state and according to the state, it expired on June 30, 2019.
According to a December 2, 2019 social media post by KMD Construction, 122 Jackson Road in Medford was described as ‘“so-close” to New Construction home … All work completed by KMD Construction, LLC.” A November 17, 2019 post said “New: Roof | Windows | Heater | Air conditioning | Hot water heater | Flooring Throughout...” Each post included multiple images. The permit was issued on 4/7/2020 according to documents sent to The Gazette by Medford Twp.
The Gazette contacted the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
Department of Community Affairs Director of Communications Tammori C. Petty emailed The Gazette on November 18, 2020.
Petty’s email reads as follows:
“It appears the builder used his/her expired builder number on the permit. DCA will be following up with the builder and the local construction official.
“Any notices of violation for providing an expired builder registration on the permit would be issued by the local construction official. This could possibly result in a revocation of permit and/or non-issuance of Certificate of Occupancy if the warranty is not provided.”
On November 13, 2020, The Gazette made an OPRA request to Mullica Twp. “for a copy of the new home builder’s registration that Mullica Twp. has on file for KMD Construction as well as the home remodeling license.”
On November 17, 2020, Mullica Twp. emailed and wrote: “We have no documents pertaining to your request.”
On November 17, 2020, The Gazette sent a follow-up question to Mullica Twp. asking “How is the municipality issuing permits if they don’t have a copy of the license or registration? Or is that not the practice to keep a copy?”
On November 18, 2020, Mullica Twp. emailed and wrote: “it is not the practice.”
On November 10, 2020 The Gazette received an email from de la Heras regarding New Jersey home improvement licenses.
According to a November 10, 2020 email from de las Heras, “Under the Contractors’ Registration Act, home improvement contractors must register with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (the “Division”) if they remodel residential or non-commercial property or convert existing commercial structures into residential or non-commercial property. The Division does not register businesses or contractors that build or remodel commercial property.”
According to a November 20, 2020 email from de las Heras, “The Division of Consumer Affairs enforces the terms of the Contractors’ Registration Act and/or the Consumer Fraud Act. The Division does not issue construction permits. As a general matter, municipal personnel are responsible for reviewing, approving, and issuing construction permits.”