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Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
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November 19, 2009

MADIGAN SUES CHICAGO CONTRACTOR FOR FAILURE TO FULFILL HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTS

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court alleging that a Chicago home repair contractor solicited contracts without a license and collected up to $26,000 in fees for work that he failed to perform or completed in a substandard manner.

Madigan's suit alleges that Robert Leving, who operates a home repair business under the names Right Choice Construction and Elite Construction, entered into contracts for home remodeling services and accepted consumers' down payments but then either failed to complete the work or performed the work in a substandard manner. The Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Bureau has received six complaints about Leving's work from consumers in the Chicago area.

"Every year, home repair fraud complaints consistently rank among the top complaints that consumers report to my office, typically due to incomplete work or shoddy construction," Madigan said. "Prosecuting these cases continues to be a high priority for my office, as is raising consumer awareness. I can't stress enough that consumers need to ask the right questions and check references before hiring a contractor to perform work on their homes. I also encourage consumers to use my office and the Better Business Bureau as resources when doing their research in advance of entering into a home repair contract."

Madigan's lawsuit alleges that Leving violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act by performing work in a shoddy, unprofessional manner; failing to complete the repair work; and refusing to provide refunds to consumers. The complaint also alleges that Leving failed to provide homeowners with written contracts and the "Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights" pamphlet, as required under Illinois law.

In the suit, Madigan asks the court to prohibit Leving from engaging in the home repair trade in Illinois. Madigan's suit also seeks restitution for consumers, a civil penalty of $50,000, additional penalties of $50,000 for each violation found to have been committed with the intent to defraud, as well as $10,000 per violation found to have been committed against a senior 65 years or older. The lawsuit also asks the court to require Leving to pay the costs of the investigation and prosecution of the case.

Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Franklin is handling the case for Madigan's Consumer Fraud Bureau.

Consumers who believe they have been the victim of a home repair scam or any other consumer fraud can download a complaint form at www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov/consumers or call the Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Hotline at one of the following numbers:

Chicago 1-800-386-5438
Springfield 1-800-243-0618
Carbondale 1-800-243-0607
Spanish-language Hotline: 1-866-310-8398

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