Orange County Home Improvement Contractor Sued

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office has filed a lawsuit against a Middletown home improvement contractor who reneged on an agreement to pay refunds to consumers.

David Wright, the operator of Stonecraft Masonry & Stucco Contractors, Inc., was sued for deceptive business practices and for violating State laws that require contractors to protect down payments by placing them in escrow accounts and to include important consumer protection provisions in contracts. Wright was also accused of failing to pay Small Claims Court judgments obtained by several customers.

"My office will take aggressive action to protect consumers against fraudulent and unscrupulous home improvement contractors," Spitzer said.

Last September, in lieu of a lawsuit, Wright entered into an agreement with Spitzer's office promising to pay nearly $22,500 in civil penalties and restitution to seven consumers. Wright committed to reform his business practices and make monthly payments on the amount owed. However, neither of these promises were kept.

Since Wright entered into the agreement with Spitzer's office, he has made no payments and five additional consumers have come forward with claims of fraudulent practices against his company. In total, these consumers claim to have lost nearly $40,000.

Due to Wright's failure to comply with the September agreement, Spitzer's office has filed a lawsuit seeking a court order permanently barring him from the home improvement industry unless he posts a $100,000 bond. The lawsuit also seeks a judgment for full monetary restitution to aggrieved consumers and penalties for his violations of law.

Spitzer's office also requested and was granted a restraining order barring Wright from the home improvement business unless he fully complies with applicable State law, such as keeping any money paid in advance by a customer in an escrow account.

Since 1999, Spitzer's office has commenced enforcement actions against more than 110 owners or operators of approximately 170 home improvement companies.

Individuals with complaints against David Wright and Stonecraft Masonry & Stucco Contractors, Inc. are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at 800-771-7755.

For tips on hiring a home improvement contractors, consumers can visit the Attorney General's web site at Click Here.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Garin under the supervision Mary Kavaney, Assistant Attorney General In Charge of the Poughkeepsie Regional Office.