NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and the Division of Consumer Affairs filed a lawsuit on Monday against two individuals and their home improvement companies for allegedly defrauding consumers.
John Kot and Gabriel R. DaSilva, Jr., allegedly owned or co-owned multiple similarly named northern New Jersey-based home improvement companies named in the lawsuit. The defendants allegedly violated the state Advertising Regulations Act, the Home Improvement Regulations Act, the Contractor Registration Regulations Act, the Contractors' Registration Act and the Consumer Fraud Act.
The defendants allegedly performed home improvement work in a manner that resulted in unsafe and/or dangerous conditions for consumers that in some cases resulted in potential safety and fire hazards. Chiesa's office received close to 70 consumer complaints about the companies.
Kot and DaSilva allegedly used multiple business names, entities, addresses and phone numbers interchangeably to perpetuate deceptive business practices, including Diamond Roofing, A Above Brick City, A Above American, A-1 Affordable Construction, A-1 American Siding, A-1 American Gutters, A-1 American Roofing, A-1 American Contracting, A-1 American Chimney Service, A-1 American Masonry Services, A-1 American Masonry, Brick City Chimney & Roofing Services, Brick City, Chimney Squad, Roofing Squad, Roofing Police, Brick City Chimney Service and Cleaning Inc., Brick City Chimney Service LLC, A 1 American Chimney Limited Liability Company and A-1 American Construction Inc. Many of the company names were unregistered and used common addresses in Garwood, Maywood, Hackensack and Fair Lawn.
"We allege that these defendants defrauded consumers of their hard-earned money," Chiesa said. "We're working to obtain restitution for these consumers and to prohibit Kot, DaSilva and their companies from engaging in any future violations of the Consumer Fraud Act and related laws, so that no one else is harmed."
The Contractor Registration Regulations and the Contractors' Registration Act require that home improvement contractors register with the DCA and obtain a registration number. Contractors must provide a legitimate business address, proof of liability insurance and other information about the business. The registration number must be displayed on all advertisements, contracts and commercial vehicles. Specific consumer-protection language must also be incorporated into all contracts.
The defendants allegedly sold, advertised, offered for sale and/or performed home improvements without being registered with the DCA, refused to return consumer deposits for work that was never performed, refused to make necessary repairs to remedy substandard work despite guarantees, promises, warranties and/or representations that they would come back to fix the problems, commenced work without compulsory state and/or local permits to perform the home improvements, failed to honor warranties or guarantees provided in their home improvement contracts, advertised home improvement work through website statements and names wrongfully implying a government agency affiliation, police-affiliated business and/or quasi-police agency, and misrepresented their business locations. In addition, Kot allegedly used an assumed name as an alias while conducting business.