The World Famous "Fence Wizard": Golden State Fence changes name to "Fence Works" in attempt to rebuild reputaion....

Monday, November 5, 2007

Golden State Fence changes name to "Fence Works" in attempt to rebuild reputaion....

For many years Golden State Fence sidestepped the law in a successful attempt to undersell its competition. Golden State Fence attacked competitors from every angle - Cheaper labor, cheaper materials, and even targeted price dumping in order to put some competition completely out of business. Approximately 225 workers at Golden State Fence were found to be illegal aliens - some of them had already been outed 6 years prior by an immigration audit and Golden State simply shuffled them around. The following legal drama resulted in millions of dollars of fines and a house arrest for owner Mel Kay, the company has now floated several new names. The first attempt was "Fence Specialties" however when looking at the website and the name "" one may have thought that they were selling special "ties". The name was skirted and according to the latest available news the new name will be "Fence Works". Other indications are that the industrial side of the company will operate under the name "Fence Corp". Whatever the name - Golden State Fence is a proven cheater of the worst kind. For years they cheated the law in order to beat down any competition that dared to abide by the basic labor laws. Now "Fence Works" has the audacity to beg other companies to implement a special citizenry check; here is what they write on their web page:

"Fenceworks encourages other companies in the fencing business to also participate in these government programs as this creates a level playing field in the industry and is the best way to reassure our customers that we are providing dependable service with legally documented workers."

Lets leave it at this - The World Famous Fence Wizard has a good memory, whatever the name, a cheater is a cheater.


Mel Kay said...

Dear Fence Wizard:

I was shocked at all the inaccuracies after reading your column in regards to Fenceworks. Please allow us the same space to address these outrageous accusations.

First of all, there has never been any attempt to sidestep the law to undersell our competition. Our success rate from bid to sell is not much different that anyone else. We just bid more projects.

Cheaper labor? We lead the nation in our industry regarding the wages we pay our employees from the yard personnel to installation to office. Our installers averaged $59M a year for 2004-2006. Some earned as high as $105M. We also provide two-three week vacations, holiday, sick pay plus health insurance along with a life insurance policy and it doesn’t matter what color their skin is or where they were born. The majority of our installers have been with our company 15-25 years. That must say something for our company.

Cheaper materials? Oh my goodness – we’re the ones that led the way starting in 1992 changing the standard practice of setting raw steel posts for wrought iron fencing to using all galvanized posts and we are still one of the few contractors doing this.

We’re the ones who developed and changed the installation method of welding to bolt-on attachments to avoid field welding which penetrates all the coats of paint and promotes rust.

We’re the ones who led the industry in selling only pre-galvanized wrought iron or aluminum and today, we’re one of the few shops adhering 100% to this policy – all at an additional cost to us.

We’re the ones in 1994 & 1995 who led the industry in changing over to pressure-treated posts with 20-30 year lifetime guarantees in hopes of eliminating the rotting posts people were experiencing with other untreated species – all at an additional cost to us.

We’re the ones who set the standards for implementing the use of only hi-grade fence board and rails. If it doesn’t meet the grade standard of the West Coast Lumberman’s Inspection Board (WCLIB) Paragraph 117A, we leave it alone and let others buy it. Please visit any of our jobsites over the last 12-15 years and see the proof.

We’re the ones that were instrumental in getting some of the major vinyl fence manufacturers to increase the thickness of their product to improve stability.

Price dumping? Where in the world did this come from? Because we pay our bills on time, work our butts off, and put our company first allowing us to buy direct from the source such as sawmills, steel mills, vinyl manufacturers, etc., we’re accused of price dumping? Nothing is further from the truth. We just eliminate the middleman.

Illegal Immigration - We hired 1942 employees from September 1999 thru November 2005. Ten of those employees were rehired under different names at different locations – not 235. For this we paid a steep, steep price – a lifetime of retirement savings and investments, and irreparable damage to an impeccable record of 40+ years in the fence business. As Harry Truman once said, “The buck stops here” and along with my VP & GM, Mr. Michael McLaughlin, we stepped up to the plate and accepted full responsibility for the 10 employees (who didn’t make one iota’s difference to our bottom line). If anything, we were guilty of too much compassion!

Name Change? Since our incorporation in 1998, we’ve always been Fenceworks, Incorporated DBA Golden State Fence Company and this was only because we found there was another Golden State Fence that had incorporated that name in Sacramento before us. As work has slowed due to the horrific construction slump, we’ve been pushing out further and further to try and get work. In doing so, we’re now operating in the Sacramento area – the same city the other Golden State Fence operates out of so therefore it was necessary to switch to Fenceworks Inc. to avoid confusion. Nothing devious about this.

Fence Specialties – We have a wholesale operation that sells only materials and we operate it as a separate division. Nothing devious about this.

Fencecorp – Yes, it’s our public works shop, same as some of our other competition does with different shops. These jobs pay extremely high wages and are much different than the private contractor-type fencing we provide through Fenceworks/Golden State Fence and it helps to keep it separated. Nothing devious about this.

You say we have the audacity to beg other companies to implement a citizenry check. You bet we do. I will do whatever I can to warn others in my trade (or any other) to avoid what happened to Golden State Fence, Mike McLaughlin, and me personally. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

We’ve become very proactive. We’ve paid our attorneys to speak before builders conventions. We’ve done the same at subcontractor meetings. Many of our competitors have visited our office for further guidance and information which we gladly provided. I am personally speaking before the American Immigration Lawyers Association Convention on 11/30/07 in Scottsdale, AZ. We are signatory to the E-Verify Federal Voluntary Program and every Fenceworks employee has been run through it. We’ve adopted a new Code of Ethics and Conduct that the government helped us prepare and we’ve shared this with numerous competitors. So yes, I am guilty of the above. Please keep in mind, more fence companies than not currently employ “illegals”.

In closing, I am hoping you will be fair and let this also be publicized. I would also like to extend my personal invitation (all expenses paid by us) for you to visit our facility so you are able to meet those that make our organization work. I believe once you see first hand how Fenceworks really operates, you will realize how unfair it was in accusing us of being cheaters. I look forward to meeting you. I feel between what you have to offer along with ourselves, this may be an opportunity to help a lot of other companies from falling into the same situation we experienced.

Mel Kay

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Fence Wizard,
I read the articles that you wrote and the response from Mel Kay. I noticed that you said you had a "good memory" and that "a cheater is always a cheater." Well now, you may have a good memory but where did you get your facts? Were they from reliable sources? It is apparent they were your opinion since no references were cited. Every smart person knows this is a poor attempt at mudslinging. Why are you reporting on something that happened so long ago? This is old news and you didn't even have it right. My hat is off to Mel Kay for enduring the scrutiny of ignorant people and for him to be so generous to you after all you said. Now, shouldn't you be ashamed of yourself? Why don't you take your magic elsewhere and make the world a better place with out the criticism.

Anonymous said...

Obviously Mr. Anonymous is one of Mel Kay's employees. But the facts that came out in this case are evident to anyone who has had the pleasure to compete against Golden State/Fence Corp. or whatever their name is. They are and have been cheaters of the worst kind and have succeeded in diluting the market place for fencing services. I know this for a fact! If you read the articles from the Los Angeles Times, San Diego tribune or the World Fence News you can see quotes by the Federal Government about thier underhanded tricks at subverting the law, time after time. The Fence Wizard did a good job at calling a spade a spade. Keep it up!!

FenceWorks said...

Wow! A bunch of good information here but only 50% of it can be true.

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