Sorrell settles claim with realtor over false filing

Keith Loria Jul. 21, 2009, 3:49pm

MONTPELIER, Vt. (Legal Newsline) - Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell announced Tuesday that a St. Johnsbury realtor has agreed to a $10,000 settlement in civil penalties for a filing of a false lead paint compliance affidavit.

The settlement was reached with realtor Susan Aiken, who had filed the compliance affidavit with the Vermont Department of Health in Aug. 2008 to facilitate the sale of a rental property.

"When someone files an affidavit or compliance statement with the State of Vermont, the State needs to be able to rely on its accuracy," Democratic attorney general said.

"The lead law entrusts persons who are certified to perform lead paint maintenance with the responsibility to self-certify that the work was done safely and properly. When that trust is knowingly violated, significant consequences can be expected to follow."

Under Vermont law, essential maintenance practices must be performed in all pre-1978 rental housing and a compliance statement or affidavit certifying completion of EMPs needs to be submitted to the Department of Health, to the property owner's insurance carrier and to all tenants of the property each year.

Aiken, who was certified to perform EMP work at the time of the false filing, represented in the affidavit that she had performed EMP work at the property and that the property was in compliance with Vermont's lead law, Sorrell said.

An investigation by the Department of Health determined that Aiken had not visited the property or performed EMPs as she had claimed.

As part of the settlement, Aiken will also surrender her certification to perform EMP work in Vermont and is barred from performing EMP work for at least the next six months and will be required to successfully complete an EMP training class before performing any future EMP work.

More News