NEWARK – The Office of the Attorney General and State Division of Consumer Affairs have filed suit against Bergen-County based home improvement contractor A Safeway Construction, Inc., and two related companies, A Safeway Improvements, Inc. and A Safeway Construction, LLC, (who advertise themselves in New Jersey as “Safeway”) for allegedly committing multiple violations of the Consumer Fraud Act and related statutes and regulations, as part of its ongoing lawsuit against AAA Reliable, Inc. and others.
The State filed the initial complaint in July 2012 against AAA Reliable, Inc. and Old Reliable Construction, LLC, two other Bergen County home improvement contractors, and Sulejman Lita, the companies’ owner. Last August, the Division of Consumer Affairs obtained temporary restraints from the Court, including barring AAA Reliable and Old Reliable Construction from advertising, selling and/or performing home improvements. These restraints continue to date. On December 21, 2012, the Court granted the State’s request to amend its action to add the A Safeway companies and Liman Lita, who is believed to be a relative of Sulejman Lita, as defendants for allegedly committing violations similar to those alleged to have been committed by AAA Reliable. The State now contends that the A Safeway companies have been used interchangeably in the advertisement, sale and performance of home improvements and are related to AAA Reliable and its principals.
In its amended lawsuit, the State alleges that the A Safeway companies, like AAA Reliable, either did not perform contracted-for chimney work or did substandard chimney work that created potentially hazardous conditions that did not previously exist. The lawsuit also alleges that the A Safeway companies performed substandard roofing repairs and gutter cleaning and then refused to correct these problems. Like AAA reliable, Safeway advertised extensively through mailings and circulars in New Jersey.
“As a result of our ongoing investigation, new companies have been added to our lawsuit. We are working to hold these defendants accountable for their continuing deceptive business practices and to obtain restitution for the affected consumers,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said.
The State also now contends that Liman Lita controlled the day-to-day operations of AAA Reliable, and was Old Reliable Construction’s managing member. Sulejman Lita is the owner of AAA Reliable and a director of A Safeway Improvements.
“Home improvement and repair scams were a priority for us before Hurricane Sandy slammed New Jersey, and the Division remains vigilant in protecting consumers in need of home repairs,” said Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs. “These defendants will find that any attempt to circumvent the law and/or any Court ruling is a losing game.”
The State contends the defendants violated the Consumer Fraud Act, Contractors’ Registration Act, Contractor Registration Regulations, Home Improvement Regulations and Advertising Regulations.
Deputy Attorney General/Section Chief Lorraine K. Rak and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Kant, of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law, are representing the State in the action. The Office of Consumer Protection within the Division of Consumer Affairs conducted the investigation, with assistance from the Bergen County Consumer Affairs Office.
Additional consumers who believe they may have been defrauded by the defendants should file complaints with the Division of Consumer Affairs. A complaint form is available online at www.njconsumeraffairs.gov and complaints may be registered by calling the Division at 800-242-5846 (toll-free within N.J.) or at 973-504-6200.
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