TRI-CITIES/NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Tuesday, Leighton ‘Joe’ Wood, owner of formerly Johnson City-based Wood Construction and Remodeling, LLC., and his attorneys waived their right to speak before the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors in an informal hearing called to address allegations that his company abandoned at least 47 Tennessee home repair projects.

In light of this, the Board decided Tuesday to keep Wood’s license to contract in Tennessee suspended indefinitely, pending a revocation hearing.

Previous News Channel 11 Investigations have found customers of the company — spanning from the Tri-Cities region, to Middle Tennessee and into North Carolina — allege that Wood Construction charged them an illegally high down payment of money for home projects they did not complete, or in some cases, even start.

Wood and his attorneys first voluntarily agreed to suspend his Tennessee contracting license on Oct. 27, pending an informal hearing where Wood and his team could address the allegations from customers and share their side. That hearing was then set for Tuesday, Nov. 30.

This came as dozens of consumer complaints had been filed with the Tennessee Attorney General’s office against the company.

However, Wood and his attorneys ultimately decided to waive their right to go before the board at Tuesday’s hearing in Nashville. Attorney Christopher Rogers told News Channel 11 it is because, since their agreement to suspend Wood’s license on Oct. 27, a criminal investigation was launched by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Rogers said since the investigation is ongoing by the TBI and criminal charges are possible, his client has a right against self-incrimination. The legal team advised Wood not to go before the board at Tuesday’s hearing in light of the TBI’s involvement. They agreed with legal representatives for the Board that Wood’s license would remain suspended pending completion of the TBI investigation.

“The respondent has proposed an agreed order to waive their opportunity for an informal review today and have their license remain suspended until their criminal matters have been concluded,” an attorney for the state office told the Board during Tuesday’s hearing. “It allows them time to respond to the criminal investigation with TBI but also suspends their license and doesn’t allow them to contract with anyone else in the state of Tennessee.”

Attorneys for Joe Wood released this statement to News Channel 11 regarding Tuesday’s hearing,

“Due to recently being informed of an active TBI investigation, we advised Mr. Wood to waive his informal hearing in front of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. His contractor’s license, which he voluntarily agreed to suspend temporarily, remains inactive to demonstrate his cooperativeness with State officials. We will continue to zealously represent Mr. Wood while working with said officials to find resolutions and address customer concerns.”

Attorneys Christopher Rogers, Jason Arthur

“His license is suspended,” Kevin Walters with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance told News Channel 11 Tuesday. “The next step is a hearing about taking it away. From now and then is the criminal investigation which the TBI is overseeing.”

Walters said they have not yet set a date for the revocation hearing where the Board will make a final decision on whether to revoke Wood’s contracting license.

Stay with News Channel 11 for updates to this developing story.