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November 20, 2018

ATTORNEY GENERAL MADIGAN ANNOUNCES HOME REPAIR LAWSUITS

Chicago — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced lawsuits against three central Illinois home repair companies that defrauded customers out of thousands of dollars for work that was substandard or never performed.

In three lawsuits filed in central Illinois, Madigan alleged the companies solicited homeowners for repair work and lawn services and required large, upfront payments – sometimes thousands of dollars – to begin the work. The lawsuits allege that the contractors failed to do much work – if any at all – beyond cashing homeowners’ deposits. With the money in hand, the companies stopped responding to homeowners and refused to provide refunds.

“Homeowners hired these companies and paid thousands of dollars for needed improvements and services but received no services or incomplete work that will cost homeowners more money to have repaired,” Madigan said. “These lawsuits seek to provide restitution to impacted homeowners and put an end to these fraudulent practices.”

Madigan filed lawsuits against the following:

  • Dream Turf Lawn Care and owner Ben Romanotto, a Springfield-based lawn service. Madigan’s complaint alleged customers made down payments ranging from more than $440 to more than $4,000 for lawn care and pest treatment services. In several instances, Romanotto failed to provide any services, instead offering excuses to delay work before ending communication with homeowners.

  • Younger Construction and owner Cole Waugh, a Benld-based home repair, remodeling and construction business. Madigan’s lawsuit alleged homeowners made down payments ranging from more than $4,000 to more than $20,000 for projects including concrete work, roofing, landscaping, and constructing decks and fencing. Madigan alleged that after collecting payments, Waugh began but never completed the projects. According to the lawsuit, the quality of work Waugh did was poor or not to code. In one instance, a homeowner had to take out a $30,000 loan just for repairs.

  • Clean Cut Painting & Handyman Services, ColbyCo LLC and owner Colby Geiser, a Decatur-based home repair, remodeling, painting and landscaping company. Madigan alleged homeowners paid $2,500 to $8,750 for projects including porch construction, power washing and exterior repairs, electrical work, and bathroom renovations. Madigan alleged that after collecting several thousands of dollars from homeowners, Geiser would delay start dates and fail to complete projects. In one instance, Geiser removed a homeowner’s storm shutters to paint but never returned them. In at least three instances, Decatur’s city inspectors issued stop work orders due to poor work quality or because Geiser failed to obtain the required permits.

In all three lawsuits Madigan is seeking to permanently ban the companies from advertising or providing home repair or lawn services in Illinois, cancel any pending contracts with homeowners, and obtain restitution for affected residents. The lawsuits also seek to impose civil penalties.

Consumers who need to file complaints can do so on Madigan’s website or by calling her Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-243-0618.

Assistant Attorneys General Philip Heimlich and Justin Tabatabai are handling the lawsuits for Madigan’s Consumer Protection Division.

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