Companies settle with N.J. AG over alleged chimney damage
NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced an agreement on Tuesday with two Bergen County-based home improvement companies that allegedly destroyed or damaged chimneys.
Under the terms of the agreement, obtained along with Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs Eric T. Kanefsky, Old Reliable Construction LLC and AAA Reliable Inc. must temporarily cease selling, advertising and/or performing home improvement. The companies also agreed to freeze their assets and shut down the AAA Reliable Website at AAAReliable.com.
Chiesa's office filed a lawsuit on Friday against the two companies and Sulejman Lita, their principal.
The defendants allegedly failed to perform contracted-for work or did substandard chimney work presenting potentially hazardous conditions that previously didn't exist inside some homes. The defendants allegedly destroyed or damaged the chimneys to coerce consumers into signing expensive contracts for rebuilding. Additionally, the defendants allegedly conducted business under the unregistered name Reliable Inc., performed substandard gutter cleaning and roofing repairs, and refused to correct the problems.
Lita, who is also known as Sul Lita, allegedly directed and controlled the operation and management of both companies. The companies maintained business addresses in Totowa, North Haledon, Franklin Lakes and Fair Lawn.
"The alleged actions of these defendants are simply egregious," Chiesa said. "Upon the pretense of performing inexpensive chimney and gutter cleaning, the defendants allegedly caused deliberate damage and destruction in order to enrich themselves by defrauding consumers of their hard-earned money."
More than 50 consumers have filed complaints against the defendants, which have been forwarded to the Bergen County Office of Consumer Affairs, the Better Business Bureau and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. Many complaints have been filed by senior citizens.