Business & Real Estate

Sacramento-area contractor Bonney Plumbing names new CEO

Sacramento Republic FC forward Thomas Stewart (10) in action last July against West Bromwich Albion at Bonney Field.
Sacramento Republic FC forward Thomas Stewart (10) in action last July against West Bromwich Albion at Bonney Field. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Prominent Sacramento-area contractor Bonney Plumbing has named a new chief executive in the weeks following the settlement of an embarrassing state investigation into complaints of overcharging elderly customers.

Bonney Plumbing Heating Air and Rooter Service said Monday its new CEO is Laurie Johnson, a former Sacramentan who had been general manager of a plumbing contractor in Houston.

Johnson replaces Jimmy Crabbe, a former UPS executive, who took control of the company in 2012 from co-founders Mark and Candace Bonney.

Bonney’s chairman, Collin Hathaway, said in an interview that Johnson replaced Crabbe on April 20. He said Crabbe remains an investor in the company and that his departure wasn’t tied to the state investigation.

“Jimmy handled the issue of the contractors board, I think, amazingly,” Hathaway said. “Jimmy decided to leave to pursue other opportunities.”

Hathaway acknowledged that the negative publicity “has had an impact on the business,” but he said the company is determined to move forward.

“Back to the basics for us, and we set up a lot of protections to make sure those issues don’t happen again,” he said.

In April, the company agreed to pay a $12,000 fine to settle an investigation by the Contractors State License Board over complaints of overcharging several senior citizens. The company could have had its license suspended or revoked.

The 37-year-old company is one of the region’s most prominent plumbing contractors, known for its service vans with the images of Mark and Candace Bonney on the sides. Bonney became even more visible last year by acquiring the naming rights to Sacramento Republic FC’s soccer stadium at Cal Expo.

Bonney officials said the problems with the state were partly the result of growing pains. The company said it expanded so quickly that in some cases, customers were charged for government building permits that Bonney neglected to obtain. In an interview in April, Crabbe said the complaints represented just a small portion of Bonney’s customer base.

“We have a customer satisfaction rate of 87 percent, which tells us we’re doing something right,” Crabbe said.

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