A.G. Schneiderman Announces Consent Order And Judgment Against Tri-State Paving For Deceptive Contracting Practices
released on October 25, 2017
found in newsletter: October 2017
WATERTOWN – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a Consent Order and Judgment resolving the State’s pending lawsuit against Tri-State Paving and its principals, Richard Attenborough, III and Stevee Paige Castle-Lagerquist for alleged deceptive practices and violations of multiple state laws in the operation of their home improvement contractor business. The Consent Order, signed by Supreme Court Justice James P. McClusky, requires the company to pay a $10,000 penalty to the state, as well as full restitution to all known homeowners victimized by the business totaling $33,400 in refunds. Additionally, the Consent Order permanently bars the business and its principals from engaging in the deceptive sales tactics identified in the lawsuit, and from performing any home improvement contractor work for three years. However, if the business does not make timely refunds to the homeowners identified in the Consent Order, they will be barred from performing home improvement contractor work for at least six years.
“Being ripped off by a home improvement contractor can be financially devastating for New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “We’re requiring this business to return homeowners’ hard-earned money and pay a penalty to the state – while helping ensure they can’t defraud others. My office will continue to root out fraud and hold home improvement contractors accountable.”
The Attorney General filed suit and obtained a temporary restraining order against Tri-State Paving in May 2017, alleging that the business defrauded homeowners with a deceptive paving scheme and failed to comply with New York’s home improvement contractor law. The investigation conducted by the Office of the Attorney General revealed that the business routinely solicited work from homeowners by claiming to have “leftover” paving material from a nearby job and would suggest they could give the homeowner a good price on their paving work. Tri-State Paving then regularly performed unauthorized work and demanded extremely high payments, often thousands of dollars. The lawsuit also alleged that Tri-State Paving wholly failed to utilize home improvement contracts that are required by state law. The Attorney General’s investigation further uncovered that Tri-State Paving had performed work throughout the state, including the North Country and Binghamton regions, and that Attenborough had multiple encounters with law enforcement agencies in different jurisdictions regarding the same illegal conduct over a period of many years.
In New York, home improvement contractors—such as paving companies—are required to use contracts for any job that costs the homeowner more than $500. The contract must be signed by both parties and contain: proposed start and completion dates; a description of the work to be completed; materials to be provided; total cost of the contract; and include a notice to the consumer of their unconditional three-day right to cancel the contract without penalty, among other items.
When planning to use a home improvement contractor, consumers should consider the following tips:
Never agree to have work done on the spot, especially when potential contractors are marketing door-to-door.
Determine exactly what you want done, then look for a qualified contractor.
Shop around; get at least three estimates from reputable contractors that include specific information about the materials and services to be provided.
Ask for references; check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers, and neighbors.
Always contact any references provided to you.
Insist on a written contract that includes the price and description of the work needed.
Don’t pay unreasonable sums in advance; negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job.
Never pay the full price up front.
Remember that you have three days to cancel after signing a home improvement contract, but all cancellations must be in writing.
Additional information on how to avoid fraudulent home improvement contractors can be found on the Attorney General’s Website.
The Attorney General thanks the New York State Police for their assistance on this case.
This investigation was conducted by Investigators Chad Shelmidine and Kathleen Coppersmith. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Alicia M. Lendon, under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General In Charge Deanna R. Nelson, both of the Watertown Regional Office. The Division of Regional Affairs is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Marty Mack.
Original Press Release