HORN LAKE, MS - The man in charge of inspecting the work of homebuilders here is a homebuilder himself whose license was revoked by the state in January.
The Mississippi State Board of Contractors revoked Charles McCracken's residential builders license on the grounds of "gross negligence and misconduct" in the construction of a home in Hernando. According to the board's "Findings of Fact" documents, its standing committee heard a complaint against McCracken by Jimmy and Tanya Simon in October of last year. In its investigation, the board determined McCracken "defectively constructed" the Simons' home. The documents indicate McCracken failed to repair items on the Simons' punch list, including cracked countertops, defective floors and a warped replacement front door. The records show not only did McCracken not complete the repairs within the board's 45-day deadline, but he also failed to show up for a hearing on the matter January 8. Charlie Sharman, the board's branch director, says the board suspended, then revoked McCracken's license pending another hearing scheduled for Wednesday.
McCracken has been featured in an on-going 3 On Your Side investigation of missed code violations at a home in the Ravenwood subdivision of Horn Lake. After our own structural engineer uncovered problems at the home, McCracken admitted the city missed those problems in its inspections -- even as his boss, Horn Lake Planning Director Anita Rainey, issued a letter to the home's builder two days after our inspection, saying, "...this office has no knowledge of any code violations regarding (6284 Manchester)."
Visiting the Simons' home in Hernando Tuesday, 3 On Your Side discovered McCracken still has not made good on some of the repairs.
"He's the one that's at fault at my house, and he's been proven that, and he still hasn't fixed my issue," says Jimmy Simon, "and he's allowing these other builders to come in and do the same thing he's doing and not making them fix theirs."
Returning our messages Tuesday, Rainey said she and McCracken are under orders from Horn Lake Mayor Nat Baker not to talk to 3 On Your Side anymore. The city's job description for its chief building inspector requires only a valid driver's license and a high school diploma or GED. It does not require certification or licensure. It only recommends them.
Frances Williams, Baker's assistant, says the mayor is on limited duty due to surgery and would not be available to comment on McCracken's status. "I don't know what to tell you," she says. "He's not here, and I'm not at liberty to tell you anything."
Jim Stacy, the homeowner of the property on Manchester, is embroiled in an arbitration dispute with his home-builder, Chambliss Builders of Southaven, Mississippi.