MADIGAN SUES COOK COUNTY CONSTRUCTION COMPANY THAT SCAMMED RESIDENTS TO LIVE EXTRAVAGANT LIFESTYLE
Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit against a Cook County construction company, its president and its chief operating officer for scamming at least two dozen area residents out of more than $320,000 for home repair work that was either never performed or was substandard.
Madigan filed the lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court against Katlia Construction Inc., its president Vince LaRocca and chief operating officer Mark Paulson alleging violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud and Home Repair Acts by failing to begin or complete work after being paid by customers.
“Home repair fraud remains one of the top complaints reported to my office,” Madigan said. “I encourage people looking for a contractor or repair service to call my office and the Better Business Bureau to ask about a company’s record before hiring them.”
Madigan’s lawsuit alleged Katlia Construction required payments from customers promising that home repair work would begin or be completed within specific timeframes. Instead of completing the work, LaRocca and Paulson spent customers’ money for extravagant personal use, including trips to Europe and Las Vegas, limousine rides, and expensive clothing and jewelry. Madigan alleged LaRocca and Paulson explained to customers that the delays in completing work were due to pending approvals of building permits they had never applied for. In addition, the lawsuit alleged LaRocca and Paulson failed to return customers’ down payments and often failed to advise customers of their right to cancel services within a three-day window or other rights outlined in the “Home Repair Consumer Rights” brochure, which they are required by law to provide but did not.
In filing the lawsuit, Madigan reminded homeowners that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to provide customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000. A contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor. The law also requires contractors to carry at least the minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury, and improper home repair. Contractors also must provide consumers with an informational pamphlet entitled “Home Repair and Construction: Know Your Rights.”
Assistant Attorneys General Janice Parker and Jennifer Crespo are handling the case for Madigan’s Consumer Protection Bureau.