Protecting Prattville From Shady Contractors

Prattville, Al. (WSFA) -- After the tornado hit the City of Prattville, Carl Wilson has been hard at work, protecting residents from those trying to make a quick buck.

"People will sneak in from out of town and try to get under the radar and take advantage of our property owners," Wilson, a Code Enforcement Inspector, explained.

While most businesses follow the proper channels, a handful of contractors claim to be something they're not--cruising through the devastation, offering services without a proper license or permit.

"You don't even know where they're from.  They just offer to do the work, and they want cash," said Paul Letner of Prattville.

It's a problem watched closely by the City of Prattville.  Contractors come to a permit station on Sheila Boulevard.  After that, city leaders say, they're good to go.

"In order to do work in this disaster area, you need a blue permit," said Prattville Mayor Jim Byard at a Monday press conference.

With the threat of an arrest warrant and a stiff fine for anyone trying to stay under the radar, licensed contractors say they're well protected from any suspicious competition.

"A lot of the locals know us.  They trust us, and we've been in business a long time.  Word of mouth is the best way, so [residents should] just stick to that and do business with someone [they] know," explained Michael Allen, a contractor.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke