The Sheriff's Office in Louisiana's Jefferson Parish has charged a home elevation contractor with fraud after a homeowner complained that a job contracted for in May of 2011 had not progressed by December. But an attorney for the company argues that the contractor, Coastal Shoring LLC, is not to blame because the state's Office of Community Development, which manages grant money for government-subsidized building elevations, has not released money to carry out the work. The New Orleans Times-Picayune has the story (" Elevation contractor charged with fraud in Jefferson Parish," by David Hammer). "The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office brought the fraud charge against Kershenstine based on a criminal complaint filed by Connie Sue Montgomery, a lawyer who hired Coastal to raise her home. According to court documents, Coastal received initial payment from Montgomery and submitted her contract to the state Office of Community Development for an advance payment on an elevation grant on May 3, 2011," the Times-Picayune reports. "When the project didn't progress by December 2011, Montgomery tried to change contractors, but Coastal Shoring refused to let her out of her contract, court records indicate." Louisiana's home elevation program is plagued with problems related to slow payment by the state agency, according to the paper: "The largest contractor in the home-elevation effort, Orleans Shoring, has filed at least 230 liens in Orleans Parish alone since September 2010. In addition, Orleans has filed several breach-of-contract lawsuits against homeowners." Coastal Shoring has faced a range of difficulties in the elevation effort. Last year, OSHA cited the firm for a serious violation in the death of a worker who was crushed when a house being lifted collapsed (" OSHA issues 'serious violation' against Coastal Shoring for worker's death in April," by David Hammer). And the Louisiana State Contractors Licensing Board placed Coastal Shoring on probation €” along with six other New Orleans-area house-raising companies €” in fall of 2011 after a rash of complaints from homeowners, the Times-Picayune reported (" 7 home-elevation firms placed on probation," by Jan Moller). Numerous firms entered the market with aggressive promotions as the state-run home elevation program picked up steam, the paper reported: "The $750 million hazard mitigation program, financed with federal dollars but run by the state, gives grants to qualified homeowners that they can use to elevate or storm-proof their homes. It languished for years before receiving a jump-start from the Jindal administration, which changed the rules to make it more attractive to contractors. The changes sparked a home-elevation boom that in turn brought a flood of consumer complaints as new, untested companies entered the field and the competition for customers became fierce." And in a peculiar twist, Coastal Shoring employees removed a Sheriff's Office anti-crime surveillance camera, the Times-Picayune reported, because they suspected that the camera had been placed by a competitor in order to spy on their operations (" Shrewsbury firm removes crime camera after mistaking it for competitor spy cam," by Michelle Hunter). Reports the paper: "Detectives stopped by the office and spoke with a man who identified himself as Coastal Shoring's 'legal advisor,' the incident report said. He admitted that an employee had cut down the camera, but did so because they thought it was tapping into the company's phone and power lines. The advisor also said Coastal Shoring officials thought the camera might have been put there by a competitor to watch the business, the report said.'"