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Tim Talk: Pleasanton business owner pushing through a huge challenge

Original post made on Sep 7, 2018

Reuben Borg's thriving fencing business changed dramatically Aug. 17 when a fire destroyed the warehouse he was leasing near the Pleasanton transfer station.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, September 6, 2018, 9:50 PM

Comments (24)

Posted by Susan
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:13 pm

Tim Hunt, I have enjoyed reading your column for many years, but today I am extremely disappointed. You have talked to one person and reported what he said without doing any fact checking. I was involved in the transaction of the dissolution of the marriage, business and finances and know for a fact that Mr. Borg did NOT “give her" the business name and the building. Ms. Borg bought him out of the business and building in a more than fair, equitable business transaction that was agreed upon by both parties. It is inappropriate to state facts when you have not checked them to see if they are true. That is irresponsible journalism.

Posted by Judy
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:13 pm

It is a shame he has to go through all of this. I have used his company many times and they have always done great work. Hope all goes well with the company. Thanks Tim for the great artical

Posted by Susan
a resident of another community
on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:15 pm

I would also like to say that I am very sorry for Mr. Borg's loss in the fire.

Posted by Susan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Extremely poorly written article. Reuben Borg fence is one of the most dangerous poorly run companies the Bay Area. The building that you speak of with the high-tech wood cutting equipment he actually broke into and was not paying any money on the lease until Kiewit Pacific found out about it and started charging him. He actually was renting it out to other people when it wasn't even his name. There's so much spilled diesel fuel in the dirt I can't believe they're even going to put housing in it! His trucks drive around in unsafe conditions with no registration. He has trailers that have never been registered and he just puts fake plates on them. It's better if this business was closed. The reason Insurance didn't cover anything it was due to gross negligence on his part.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Sep 7, 2018 at 2:38 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

@Susan, I have said repeatedly that Tim has written a number of stinkers.

That being said, you’re wrong in your interpretation of what he said about a very unimportant statement in his article. He says Borg gave the business to his ex-wife. You say Borg gave the business to his ex-wife for cash.

That’s a distinction with very little difference. I didn’t read the article as patting this guy on the back. I read it as he gave up the business in a divorce. In California, that only happens for fair compensation in all but the most unusual circumstances, and Tim wasn’t even trying to draw attention to this.

Given the other comments, which are about the fire and the business and are on point, why are you so sensitive to this? It’s pretty irrelevant.

Posted by Divorcee
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2018 at 2:58 pm

Grumpy - I can't speak for Susan, but having been through a divorce recently, I will say that I also took objection to the phrasing in the article. I was not "given" anything in our divorce - I had to PAY my ex-wife for the building we owned in which I operate a business - she did not GIVE it to me. The article makes it sound like he was being generous & gave his ex-wife the building and business name.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Sep 7, 2018 at 4:35 pm

Grumpy is a registered user.

Well, Divorcee, I think you’re being overly sensitive. The word “give” is a completely appropriate way of saying that you no longer have something, even if you got equal value for it. That’s why we have the verb “gift”. I give the IRS a check. I don’t mistake that for a gift. I give the doctor a blood sample. I neither mistake that for a gift.

And, since you raise the point, giving someone something in a divorce can be a gift, not of the thing itself but of the legal expenses of hiring a forensic accountant, producing a fair market valuation, or even simply asserting that it is a close corporation and that the spouse is not entitled to run it even if they are entitled to half its value. (Corporate ownership can be held in trust.)

I don’t know the particular situation here and don’t care to know it. It wasn’t germaine to Tim’s point and I appreciate the economy of words he used to mention that the subject no longer has an old business and started afresh. If you’re able to take offense at the word “give” then it may not even be possible to “give up” this issue and move on, since you’ll be locked forever in the trap of not allowing anyone to stop “giving” a damn.

Words have meanings. Just because “give” can mean “gift” doesn’t mean it does in every use, nor that anyone else would confuse the two uses in this case.

Posted by MMR
a resident of Livermore
on Sep 7, 2018 at 4:53 pm

So, apparently research is outdated in journalism these days, how can you publish an article with confidence and not bother to fo any fact checking? His contractors license was reissued in 2012, so how is that being in business since 1999? Also, he "gave" the business name to his ex wife as you so inaccurately reported, what type of person re opens a business years later with and uses the same name he "gave" away? Classy right? And to boot, as you try to shead sympathy on his losses in half your poorly written article, losses that are great and I would not wish those on anyone, the other half is explaining all the violations committed by him. Awful article, would have been better as a face book post than ligimite reporting.

Posted by Steve
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2018 at 6:31 pm

Typical of this author, poorly-researched story with a great deal of opinion and lacking in facts. Not sure why the PW continues to provide him a forum.

Posted by rita
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2018 at 7:01 pm

how to you make "a Higher quality redwood" with a saw??? Mine is from home depot...guess my quality fence isn't up to par?? ever look closely at one of his fences? mine is much better at 1/5th the cost. I mix my cement, they pour dry cement into a hole and spray water on top. I have no split or cracked boards. I didn't throw garbage in my yard, break the sprinklers and trample my garden. I used ginger rock for the border not broken construction debris...

Posted by Diane
a resident of Las Positas
on Sep 7, 2018 at 8:14 pm

Grumpy, while I agree the word “give”can be taken many ways, I find it offensive in this case. I am extremely sorry for the loss Reuben Borg experienced but with all the electrical and combustible hazards found, I am relieved that the fire was in the middle of the night and not during the day when lives could have been in danger. That being said, I am disgusted that Reuben tries to paint himself as this benevolent person who graciously “gave” the name and building to Julie. I know exactly how much Julie had to pay for this “gift”. Tim Talk, if you care about being a professional journalist, which in this case you obviously didn’t , try to do a little fact checking before trying to make a deadline. One thing I do hope people get out of your article is the number of violations and “skipping” legal corners Reuben was operating under in his business, and obviously still is by moving a trailer on to the property without getting a permit. That alone speaks volumes about the character of his business.

Posted by Doug
a resident of Birdland
on Sep 8, 2018 at 12:51 am

Looked up information on “Borg” fencing on Yelp. Looks like there are now two separate companies: “Borg Fence” owned by Julie Borg, and “Reuben Borg Fence”. The Yelp customer review rating of “Borg Fence” is three stars out of five, which is borderline mediocre, while that of “Reuben Borg Fence” is four stars, which is a pretty good rating. So whatever else people may say about Reuben Borg here, it has to be admitted that he seems to take better care of his customers than the business now owned by his ex-wife. It’s pretty much of a no-brainer which of the two companies I would choose if I had a fence job.

Posted by My opinion
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2018 at 2:42 am

My opinion is a registered user.

So sorry for his loss, I have done business more than once with Reuben Borg and it has always been a pleasure.

Isn't it typical that now that the building has burned the building inspector tells of all of the violations. Not having the facts I will not comment on the validity of those "violations" except to ask why was nothing done for all of that time? The reason is that our building inspectors and code enforcers act only on complaints. That's why you see so many illegal signs blocking sidewalks downtown as well as many other code and safety violations. The inspectors sit in their offices all day and never venture outside to observe and cite the violators.

If the building inspection and code enforcement departments would actually do their jobs it is unlikely that serious violations would continue unabated.

Posted by MYOB
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Sep 8, 2018 at 4:32 am

Wow, can't believe the personal attacks here. None of you were in the marriage. You just heard one side of the bitter outcome. The guy rebuilt a business and has suffered a terrible setback that could have shut him down. This is called resilience. Kicking him when he is down is just evil and mean spotited. Mind your own business.

a resident of Castlewood
on Sep 8, 2018 at 8:56 am

Had encounters with both lousy BORG companies. Julie's company I had to take to court because of shabby craftsmanship witch ( word choice , on purpose ) they finally were forced to fix. Julie's company and her president were completely unprofessional and tried build outside of the contract her representative wrote. UNBELIEVABLE ! But they were forced to fix it. I will Never use Julie's BORG FENCE AGAIN. And then there's Ruben's third world tactics his guys operate with. One of his guys who was driving around with a black dog in the front seat ( unsecured ) purposefully cut me off and than in a fit of roadrage jumped out of the truck and thought he was going to attack me physically. When Ruben was called he just brushed it under the carpet. I think it was Ruben's family member.

Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Sep 8, 2018 at 11:15 am

Grumpy is a registered user.

Yeah, it didn’t seem like this had anything to do with a business. This is more about personal animus. Since I don’t know who either fence company is, and that the most interesting thing I can say about the fire is that I wondered what that early morning explosion was when I heard it, followed by fire trucks, I suppose I will just watch as the hatred spills out.

Usually, acrimony triggered by discussion of the division of a community estate in a divorce is from the families of the two parties in the divorce, so I’m going to suspect that this entire thread is being lead by the ex-wife’s group and that they’re rehashing some old bitterness. Which is a shame, because it’s really a private matter that no one else is going to want to see much the same way that we ask that people close bathroom doors when they use the bathroom. Oh well. At least I know which fence company not to use when I build a fence? Though I don’t know why I wouldn’t just buy a fence at Home Depot is just a fence after all.

Posted by John
a resident of Valley Trails
on Sep 8, 2018 at 6:57 pm


I feel bad for the guy. Have to admire how quickly he's back up and running. I've met Reuben a few times and have seen his work. Both solid.

Also what he's doing by taking old boards and remilling them is just a really cool idea. Good luck Reuben.

Posted by Pamela
a resident of Alisal Elementary School
on Sep 9, 2018 at 11:52 pm

Pamela is a registered user.

Turning a fire disaster into cheap discussion about what should be s private matter, namely a divorce, I have only this to say, BUTT OUT PEOPLE. That includes Mr Hunt and others here.

Posted by Long Time P-towner
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2018 at 9:54 am

@ Susan, et al,
Borg is also one of the priciest (if not priciest) fence companies when getting bids.

Posted by Fire Department check?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2018 at 10:20 am

The Pleasanton Fire Department visits our building yearly to check out what we have going on here in case of a fire. I'm curious if the LPFD did the same for Borge. He's been in business long enough and has had many dealings with Pleasanton building department to know what he was doing was wrong. Cheaters never prosper.

Posted by Eric
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Sep 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm


“The entire building was being powered off a generator, large quantities of diesel fuel were being stored and dispensed in a dangerous manner, and many, significant electrical and combustible material ventilation hazards were observed."

“Borg had a very sweet business going that he pointed out had almost zero carbon footprint.”

Alternative truth?

Posted by Mark E
a resident of Grey Eagle Estates
on Oct 5, 2018 at 5:35 pm

I have known Reuben Borg for many years and he runs a very strong company and in my opinion builds the best fence in the market because of the materials he uses and he is a very genuine and gives back to the community and mankind. Enough about that how about we try to help this company get back on their feet, keep over 50 people employed so their families can eat, and give them the respect they deserve. Reuben and company had their headquarters burn down to the ground and within days was back installing fencing without a hiccup. How about that for resilience!!!!! Coming from a divorce that left him with"Nothing", unlike the ex-wifes fan club claims she paid for the business, obviously this person either drank the Kool Aid from the ex or she wasn't part of the divorce because the truth is he left with nothing as he gave her a multimillion dollar business, house, and cars. Reubens last name is Borg correct, which she has kept all these years. She paid nothing Susan get your facts straight before you spread rumors.... So he has been kicked in the teeth again but because he is a resilient person he will prosper again. The Susans of the world should focus on their own families because I'm sure if they were involved in a catastrophe of this magnitude they would not have the strength to rebuild not once, and for sure not twice....

Posted by Ryan
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 23, 2018 at 7:56 am

It's unfortunate to hear of this fire. Fortunately, it appears no one was injured.

This appears to be a clear case of a business violating business codes, building permits, inspections, and storing large quantities of combustible diesel fuel.

Imagine if the fire killed or seriously injured one or more.

Borg, doesn't seem to know what type of insurance if any, he has at all. Fire Insurance is business 101 for an industrial outdoor fencing company. Insurance companies won't pay if they're not given accurate business operation details. Which goes hand in hand with the insurance premium and risk.

If they cut corners on the building codes, permits, and inspections one could speculate the same could be true with his insurance.

This was all preventable.

Posted by Dave
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2018 at 11:33 am

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that this was arson. [removed because it was unverified] Seems like good timing, to me! I hope someone follows up on this.

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