Hudson Valley Home Contractor Barred From Business
Attorney General Spitzer today announced a court-ordered settlement that bars a Hudson Valley home improvement contractor from doing business in New York State.
Walsh Contracting of Dutchess County, and its owner Steven Daniel Aarons, consented to the court order which also forces him to pay at least $46,000 in refunds to three customers and $7,000 in civil penalties and costs.
"Enforcement actions such as this one sends a strong message to the home improvement industry that we will not tolerate contractors who don't keep promises to their customers."
The case against Walsh Contracting began when a Wappingers Falls couple complained to the Attorney General's office in May 2000 that they had paid Aarons approximately $37,000 over the course of seven months to construct a porch and remodel a bathroom. Although he repeatedly pressured the couple for additional funds for the project, he did very little work and then left the project entirely, leaving their home in a worse condition.
Spitzer's office notified the Dutchess County District Attorney William V. Grady's office, which filed felony Grand Larceny charges against Aarons.
Another complaint was filed with Spitzer's office in the Fall of 2000 by an elderly Wappingers Falls woman who had paid Walsh Contracting $10,000 for work on her basement stairs, and various work on windows and doors throughout the house. Although Aarons did some preliminary work, he never actually constructed anything, and instead used the funds to finance the purchase of a motorcycle just two days later.
Based on the settlement with Spitzer's office and in consenting to compensate his victims for their losses, District Attorney Grady's office agreed to an adjournment of the criminal charges in contemplation of dismissal.
The court order that was signed by Justice Ralph A. Beisner of Dutchess County State Supreme Court also permits additional consumers who were defrauded by Aarons to become eligible for refunds by completing and submitting a complaint form by October 23, 2001. Individuals interested in doing so are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755 or visit his web site at www.ag.ny.gov.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Garin of the Poughkeepsie Regional Office under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General In Charge Mary Kavaney.