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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
November 3, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Consumer Affairs
- Kimberly Ricketts, Director

 

Jeff Lamm, Kara Wood
973-504-6327

 

Attorney General Harvey Files Suit Against Seven Home Improvement Contractors


NEWARK - State Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and the Division of Consumer Affairs today filed lawsuits against seven home improvement contractors who allegedly committed multiple violations of the State’s Consumer Fraud Act and Home Improvement Practices Regulations.

The homeowners who filed complaints with Consumer Affairs allege, among others things, that the contractors either failed to start work after receiving deposits, made substandard repairs, performed electrical or plumbing work without being licensed to do so, commenced work without obtaining the required permits, performed unauthorized work, or failed to complete repairs resulting in additional damage to consumers’ homes.

"Bottom-line, these contractors did not care about the homeowners. They literally left holes over the heads of residents in some cases when roofing projects were not completed," Acting Governor Richard J. Codey said. "That is unprofessional and unacceptable."

"A person’s home, besides typically being their largest single asset, is a place of comfort and security for the homeowner and his or her family," Attorney General Harvey said. "We allege that these contractors did not do what they agreed to do and, in some cases, took hard-earned money from innocent homeowners. By their actions or inaction, these contractors devalued homes, causing homeowners grief, anxiety and even physical hardships."

In one case, after the consumer paid the contractor over $200,000 for repairs, the contractor walked off the job leaving live electrical wires hanging and no heat or plumbing in the home. A certificate of occupancy could not be issued due to the extensive damage caused by the contractor.

"Last year, home improvement complaints were our No. 1 complaint category," Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts noted. "People want the work done right, done on time and done on budget. These are reasonable expectations, ones that Consumer Affairs will enforce to the fullest extent of the law."

The contractors also allegedly tried to coerce homeowners into paying for unfinished or unsatisfactory work through the use of collection agencies and threats to place liens against their homes.

The seven contracting companies, the principals who are named in the lawsuits and the town where each business is based are as follows:

  • Action Remodeling LLC, William H. Spears III, Kinnelon
  • All-Tech Construction, (doing business as Americoast Construction, Americoast Contractors and Ameri Co. Mason Contractors), Frank Barone, Brick
  • Cabinets Plus of South Orange Inc. (doing business as The Cabinet Corner and Cabinets Plus), Joseph P. Landolfi, South Orange
  • Code Plus General Contracting (doing business as A+ Contractors and A+ Plus General Contracting), Timothy Denehan, Hackettstown
  • Garden State Gutter Cleaning, Michael Pittaro, Bloomfield
  • Jersey Roofers & Jersey City Roofer-Builders Inc. (doing business as Asbury Roofers, Jersey City Roofers, Jersey City Roofer and Builders, Jersey City Roofers and Builders, Jersey Roofers, Jersey Roofers and Builders, New Jersey Roofers, Statewide Roofers and Builders, Statewide Roofing, Waltz’s Demolition, Waltz’s Demolition & Home Improvements, Waltz’s Home Improvements and Waltz’s Roofing & Home Improvements), Stephen Waltz, Hamilton Twp. (Mercer County)
  • North Jersey Home Pros Inc., Jeffery Formica, Montclair

The State’s lawsuits, filed in Superior Court venues, allege that these contractors:

  • Engaged in Unconscionable Commercial Practices;
  • Made false promises, misrepresentations and knowing omissions of material fact; and
  • Violated the State’s Home Improvement Practices Regulations

To date, Consumer Affairs has received 73 consumer complaints about these seven contractors. The amount of restitution owed to homeowners is still being calculated and is currently estimated at approximately $273,000.

The contractors face civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the initial violation of the Consumer Fraud Act and up to $20,000 for each subsequent violation. The lawsuits also seek restitution for consumers, reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and investigative costs and future adherence to the Consumer Fraud Act and Home Improvement Practices Regulations.

Deputy Attorneys General Gina M. Betts, Jeremy S. Crawford, Jonathan D. Rudolph and Amye R. Steinberg are representing the State.

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